Tuesday, May 01, 2012
They blew up the old Amway Arena the end of March. On the way home I stopped by to see what was left, if anything. As I walked around with my E-P2 and a selection of lenses I was filled with a certain nostalgia. Here was the place I'd taken my very young girls a number of times to see the Ringling Brothers circus, complete with elephants, trapeze artists and clowns. I'd watched both girls graduate from high school at this place. I'd been here more than a few over the 20-plus years it'd stood here, back when it was TD Waterhouse and the just-Orlando Arena (I never cared all that much for O-rena). Although, oddly enough, I never saw one basketball game at this place; I'm not a Magic fan.
I can't say I blame them for demolishing the place. The place had one main concourse, and when the arena filled up with its 17,000 paying customers the concourse could get pretty crowded with people moving into and out of the seating area. I never will forgive them for putting narrower seats in the old arena so they could go from seating 15,000 to 17,000, and thus make that much more money. The old arena was superseded by the newer Amway Center near the junction of the 408 and I-4.
Looking in on the place I was reminded of all those old WWII black and white war photographs of war torn, bombed out London, Berlin, and Leningrad, with artillery and tanks scattered about. The next-to-last photograph in particular, with the torn up pavers in the foreground and the stripped corner in the background was especially evocative.
I have mixed emotions about what comes next. A group called Creative Village aims to transform this property (and some area around it as well) into a "mixed-use, transit oriented, urban infill neighborhood in the heart of downtown Orlando." They claim to be building upon the "digital media" industry in the area (Disney, Universal, EA Tiburon, Full Sail, The DAVE School, etc). These for-profit companies (including the schools) have a somewhat dark side that's prone to take advantage of the individual artist in order to boost corporate profits. I learned the hard way what Universal was about when I worked as a contractor at Universal Studios when it was built in 1989 and 1990. We shall see what unfolds here...
Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 45mm and Panasonic Lumix 20mm and 14mm lenses. Post processed in LR4 and Silver Efex Pro 2.