The music pavillion is outdoors, with a criss-cross metal skeleton surrounding it off of which dangle many speakers, so that you feel, you hear, the same acoustics as an indoor concert hall, but you are outdoors.
And you can see the tall buildings around you, they are minor players. Directly behind the band shell stands the Aon Building, a modest single cousin to New York’s former World Trade Center.
And we sat back and listened, in the middle of a park in the middle of a city in the middle of America, to opera, which sounded as it would in a concert hall, but under a serene blue sky.
You could tell what the desired effect had been – at the dawn of the new millenium, we could sit outdoors and have that experience and feel really damn optimistic about the future in to which we were flowing.
But it wasn’t finished on time. Four years late. Time enough for the tech bubble to burst, for an illegitimate son to take our nation’s throne, for our nation to face the inexplicable hatred and fanaticism that struck us in the face on 9/11, and two half-assed attempts at war and nation building upon two strange foreign cultures.
Four years is enough time to get used to those troubles, and be reminded of the dream we had had at the millenium. The price tag for this serenity? A steep half a billion dollars. I believe that is about our daily burn rate in Iraq. For one hundred billion dollars we can make a half-assed, ignoble attempt to impose democracy on a foreign country that doesn’t seem to want it so awfully bad, or for one hundred billion we can build 200 millenium parks.
Which would bring greater hope to humanity?