Thursday, November 15, 2007


Some years ago, Annapolis Architect John Alt developed a visionary plan for a "people mover" style transit system for Annapolis that he called "a horizontal elevator". Visit: http://www.villagetechnology.com .

CP was pleased to attend the ceremony in Washington where Alt was honored along with many other designers for different urban transit innovations. Recently Alt penned a hypothetical letter written in 2013 by a couple named Romeo Montague and Juliet (uh--Capulet??) from Venezia (aka Venice as in gondolas, Rialto, Lido etc...) who visited Annapolis. It is not known how sea level rise affected either city. CP does not know if they got a parking ticket during their visit. Below, Alt's letter:

"June 3, 2013 Ciao Annapolis! Have just returned to our beloved Venezia-but must congratulate you for nearly stealing our hearts away. What a charming, innovative and intelligent city you have become since our last visit in 2008! On that trip things were grim indeed. (Juliet swore never to return!) We drove our rental car from BWI and spent nearly 45 minutes getting around West Gate Circle so we could check into our hotel. Juliet wanted to go immediately to City Dock, but the hotel shuttle got stuck in traffic on West Street. The driver finally took a "short-cut" through a residential neighborhood and managed to drop us off a couple of blocks from the Market House-which we were disappointed to discover was mostly empty! Juliet was shocked to see the waterfront was a parking lot! And we ended up walking all the way back rather than wait for the trapped hotel shuttle. Poor Juliet. She had to lie down the rest of the afternoon! What a difference five years has made! On this trip, not only did we zip into our Hotel, we were delighted to discover in the lobby one of your innovative XPLORE PASS kiosks! We bought two passes, played with the interactive city map, and planned an itinerary for the day. Most thrilling, however, was discovering the XPLORE PASS had rendered the dreaded hotel shuttle obsolete! Instead, the concierge directed us outside to SMRrTRAM Stop No.1. Here it comes! said Juliet almost immediately. And there it was, the bright red tram-car coming silently toward us, following its special narrow lane along the edge of the sidewalk. Each Tram Stop, we discovered, had its own XPLORE PASS kiosk and interactive map. We got off at Stop No. 3 and found that Lemongrass was offering a free appetizer special (we decided to come back for lunch.) At Stop No. 6, we learned that Intimate Apparel was offering a 10% discount (Juliet bought three silk negligees!) Back outside, we waited only a couple minutes for two more SMRrTRAMs to arrive-one coming from each direction. We stepped on the one continuing on down to City Dock. What a surprise! The parking lot Juliet dreaded seeing again was completely gone! In its place we discovered one of the most charming-and enchantingly green- mini-parks we've had the pleasure of strolling in. Not only that, but presiding over the park was the old Market House, now filled with local vendors offering everything from fresh fish, crabs and oysters, local cheeses, organic produce and flowers to gourmet takeout and hand-made soaps, lotions and chocolates! We browsed nearly an hour. A local woman (with celery and baguettes sticking out of her canvas shopping bag) was ahead of us at checkout. Before paying, she inserted what looked like a pre-printed shopping list into a machine reader. What's that? Juliet asked. My weekly order for dry goods, the lady replied. All those cans and paper-goods and toothpaste get delivered to my door from a warehouse out on West Street! Oh my! said Juliet. Oh my, indeed! I said. We need that in Venice! Outside were vendors too, selling crafts and handmade specialty foods from little stalls with bright awnings. Where have all the cars got parked? Juliet asked a young cheese-maker. They mostly park off Taylor Avenue, he replied. It's actually easier for folks to get down here now than when they could park right there across the street. Have you got an XPLORE PASS? Why, yes, says Juliet. Free sampler, then, said the vendor-and he dropped a little bag of cheese cubes into her shopping bag. (We later went back and ordered a round to be shipped home!) It only took five minutes to get back to Lemongrass for lunch and our complimentary appetizers (with one quick get-off at Stop No. 5 where Juliet had spied a watercolor in an art store window.) We returned after lunch and bought it. Now it's hanging in our little breakfast nook overlooking the Calle Cazza: A watercolor rendering of the red SMRrTRAMs loading and unloading shoppers on Main Street Annapolis, USA! Wasn't that a lovely trip? Juliet says gazing at the watercolor. Yes, indeed! Ciao Annapolis! Well be back soon.
Romeo Montague"


askin said...

Wait until you discover THE SECOND VENICE by Askin Ozcan, an incredibly humorous fantasy Venice.
ISBN 1598000888 Outskirts Press
Available at major internet bookshops.
reviews at:

PAUL FOER said...

Thanks..to that I would add Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" which is about Venice--or maybe not? Or maybe about every city?

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