3

article image

What is that thing on the Taylor Street bridge over Hwy 87?

Why do I care?

I know the answer to that one, but that doesn't mean it's a good answer. Everyday I drive to work under that thing, and when I drive to work under that thing, I always think of the opening credits to The Sopranos. The part where Tony drives by the "Drive Safely" sign. The view in the picture isn't even the view on my commute, but I had a friend in the car for this one, and I'm not at the point with these articles where I'm going to make a special trip with a friend to take a picture of an overpass.

I am, apparently, at the point where I'll fight with Photoshop Elements for a half hour to squeeze the image rakishly such that it looks like I put it on the page wrong, however. I just thought that the narrow and tall funhouse effect would be cool, and I think it is. The effect is only marred by the fact that it's as readily explained by a mistake as anything else.

The green arch thing over Taylor Street at Hwy 87 doesn't appear to help things structurally at all. It's holding those traffic signals, but it wants a banner, like "San Jose, the Ambivalent City" or something. "Industrial" being taken, even if it wasn't out of fashion these days.

The only problem, as usual, is context. Coming from the south, you're already done traversing the San Jose Skyline, which the elevated Hwy 87 actually puts on display nicely. What are you looking at, through the bars? Juvenile Hall, remodled a few years back to be some kind of supermax-style college dorm, complete with birdcage exercise areas. Behind that is the Hall of Justice, and the highrise next to both is the San Jose Main Jail.

These are of course, all very necessary, but hardly bannerworthy. Things are more promising heading north under the Overbuilt So As To Be Functionally Indistinct Traffic Light Holder. Beyond the foreground occupied by the Hart's warehouse, that brick building dwarfed by the new parking garage next to it, is the San Jose skyline, it's best foot forward. Hope there's some kind of banner marketing someday, or some other way to understand that thing.

Ok, so the story on that page with the photo of the Hart's wearhouse is as chilling as it is true, but what does the creator of that site have against the Sharks?

In the end, that thing is pure metonym for San Jose The Big Relevant City. It's too boring to be ugly, but too unique to be completely ignored. There's probably several stories behind it, but the people who know them go more or less unoticed, and in the end few care. Insert the "that's why I wanted to do this" statement here.

I'm putting up the index to past articles this weekend, promise. As always, if I've trampled on the truth here anywhere, don't let me go unpunished. Send some email as instructed below. See you this weekend.