One of the greatest parts of doing this walking is being able to walk and participate in one of Lansing’s many magnificent activities. Tonight was Silver Bells in the City. Every year this event has gained more and more momentum, much like the city of Lansing its self. There was an estimated 100,000 people in attendance this year. What a joy to park about half a mile from down town and walk my way into fun and excitement. As we progressed each block more people filled the sidewalks, more groups were standing and talking and more excitement filled the air. It was absolutely amazing being in a crowd of people all out for a cool night watching the splendor of lights, bands, and sponsors travel the city blocks for our entertainment.
Soon after the parade passed us by we began the small trek to the corner where we had a wonderful view of the capitol, the tree and the soon to come fireworks! Positioned amongst a few other photographers, I stood in the middle of Michigan Ave facing the show. The positioning was perfect for photos which hasn’t always been my luck at previous ventures.
After the fireworks we walked up to the tree for a closer look. We were joined by other small groups each taking turns taking photos of each other. Some were making their way over to the live concert that was starting up, echoes of his jubilant voice began bouncing off nearby buildings. This was a crowd of happy people. That seems so rare now a days. Many times a group of people are protesting or picketing. But this was a crowd laughing and enjoying the place they were at, the people they were with and the sites they were seeing. People were polite. Groups were making their way around to the many, many other businesses full to capacity. Some were making their way back to their cars. Everyone was walking. Walking Lansing. 100,000 people walking on Lansing’s downtown streets. It was fabulous!
Today I had the pleasure of walking some routes and taking some pictures with a friend. I am usually alone on my walks so it was a nice change. Since we are both photographers we decided to add a photo shoot in as well. We walked over to the old train station on Washington Ave. We were both surprised to see we had full accessibility to the grounds despite the many fences in place. If one of us wasn’t snuggling a 4 week old baby we probably would have crawled through the open window too. And we wouldn’t have been the only ones. It was evident that many had already explored and partied inside the dilapidated structure. Inside and out however represented an era of growth, vibrancy, architecture genius and wealth. Visions of white linen covered tables topped with candles and flowers danced in our heads. The cacophony of dance music and passing trains mingling into the night. Wait staff ushering food to the party goers. Outside strings of lights would envelope more tables, more guests, possibly a bride and groom catching a cool breath of fresh air in their urban surroundings. With ample room for parking, dancing and eating this glorious building easily would have been one of the most sought after reception halls.
Board of Water and Light has recently purchased this building with the promise of use. I’m shocked it has taken this long.
Here’s her blog about our saunter! Check it out!
There is something very interesting with walking around. It puts you in a very intimate position with your surroundings. You get the opportunity to look those you walk past in the eye. I can say hi to them or smile; speak a nicety. I see people’s homes. What they are growing in their yards. I see how they decorate their houses for the holidays. I see the trash. I see the broken windows. I get to be up close and personal with things and people I wouldn’t even notice if I were driving, or even biking.
With the new adventure of walking, I also have some objectives. As a photographer part of this project is to seek out striking images; urban architecture, interesting patterns, creative sign-age, interesting people, breath-taking scenery. So I find that I am not just walking. I’m also looking. I’m seeing. Really seeing. For one of the first times in a long time I am taking in my surroundings and exploring it. I want to find the treasures so I can share them with you. Lansing is filled with so many hidden gems. It’s not all broken windows and cracked sidewalks. It’s small businesses, art, gardening, homes, creations. Every home, sitting on its 1/4 acre lot is a blank slate for someone to make their own. Every operating business is a poster hoping to draw you in as a customer. And between the two is a path, a sidewalk that leads you from one to the other.