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Riverwalk vs River Front Essay Sample

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Riverwalk vs River Front Essay Sample

Everything new eventually becomes less new, and then — although no-one can say precisely when — old.  Sometimes when there has been rapid advancement in one area of a city, the contrast between the old and new can be startling. Such is the case with the old river-walk and new riverfront areas of the Las Olas area in Fort Lauderdale. Starting from the year “1917, when Las Olas was a dirt road that took residents and visitors to the famous resort – Fort Lauderdale beach ” and right on through to the present times, “Las Olas has always been Fort Lauderdale’s most charming thoroughfare. Las Olas is at the forefront of everything from fashion boutiques and art galleries, to memorable restaurants, sidewalk cafes and clubs.” (Las Olas)

   To a visitor who has been in the area in the past decade, it would be hard to imagine a time when the area was navigated by a simple dirt road. Towering condominiums, fine hotels, resorts, up-scale restaurants and modern mayhem exist side by side with the tranquility of the river-walk park where a “meandering promenade showcases the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Discovery and Science, the eclectic historic Second Street, Florida Grand Opera, the Old Fort Lauderdale Museum of History, Las Olas Riverfront, the Museum of Art, the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and Stranahan House;” in stark contrast or perhaps perfect accompaniment to the more modern skyscape and pulse of the newly renovated areas of Las Olas.

             The Park “connects to Las Olas Boulevard at the historic Stranahan House. […] A key element of the Riverwalk is the presence of 24,000 engraved Signature Bricks that line the walkway with personalize messages.” (Las Olas) Though there is ample history here and a feeling of rustic peace and simplicity with the New River and the scenes of nature, the area is burgeoning with newness. As it is true that the name Las Olas means : “”The Waves” in Spanish” (Las Olas. Ws) it feels as though waves of time have descended over the ares, each leaving a residue of its impact but with the newest and most powerful waves, those of economically driven progress hold center-stage. There has been “a radical change in the appearance of Las Olas over the past 10 years as a series of impressive office buildings and condominiums have been constructed and will continue to be constructed.” (Las Olas.Ws)

            The two area though different seem to operate harmoniously to me. It is possible for the old and new to exist together productively and there is a wider variety of stimulus and a wider array of interests and types of architecture and color according to the side of the tracks, east or west, that one is on. If you are in the mood for modern fast-paced “new” then you will find this widely available where if you are looking for quiet peace tranquility and cultural history, this will be found on the old river-walk  For example, “The Riverside Hotel on Las Olas is the oldest hotel in Fort Lauderdale, founded by brothers Preston and John Wells in 1936” whereas some of the new condominiums and hotels are less than five years old and some newer than this.           (Las Olas)
By visiting both the old and new sections of Las Olas, I found myself considering my own transitions from new to old as I face the changes in my life and the changes in the world around me. I think it is important to draw meaning out of the past and also out of the future and I think that sometimes cities and architecture and the methods of social evolution (and decay) do more to represent the kind of atmospheric changes in society as  a whole than any amount of analysis. It is interesting to consider what the area of Los Olas might look like many years from now when what are now the “new” buildings and areas and then the “old” areas.

                                                           References

Anonymous, Las Olas Boulevard , 2007. Accessed 9-18-07 http://www.lasolasboulevard.com/new/sightseeing.htm

Anonymous.  (Las Olas.Ws), 2007. http://www.lasolas.ws/

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