John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Locals who watched the Tuesday morning demolition of a oil-burning plant mourned the loss of its fetching, candy-cane-striped smokestacks.
Though it's hard to see among the rapid-fire bang-bang-booms, there are 90 separate explosions going on in this Tuesday morning demolition of a Fort Lauderdale power plant.
The all-out explosive assault on the Port Everglades Florida Power & Light station removes a 1960s-era oil-burning plant to make way for a planned 2016 gas facility that will puff out 90 percent less air pollution. While that's good news for anything with lungs, some locals expressed a wistful regret in seeing the building brought low, what with the way its 350-foot candy-cane stacks livened up the coastal skyline.
Here are a couple reactions from people who gathered at 6:15 a.m. to watch the demolition, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel:
“I watched the stacks give up the ghost this morning, with tears in my eyes,” said Caroline King Groshart, who has lived in nearby Harbor Beach since 1953. “I was 13 when I watched the stacks being built; it was awesome! It won't seems the same driving over the 17th Street Causeway or walking the beach to the jetties or flying into and out of the airport – and not seeing the stacks. Pity they couldn't have just been left there as a landmark.”
Tim Ryan, a county commissioner, also was overwhelmed with nostalgia:
“This morning, we said goodbye to some old friends,” he said. “Those red-and-white-striped smokestacks were really a defining feature of the skyline of Fort Lauderdale. For boaters coming in off the Gulf Stream, those smokestacks were really a beacon for finding your way home.”
These feelings are understandable when you compare the visual impact of both structures. Here's the FPL facility that went bye-bye today:
And this is the planned generation station, a squat, grayish entity kind of reminiscent of that joyless terrafroming colony in Aliens:
Not quite as pretty, although much better for the environment. Fare-thee-well, old-timey oil plant, you went down in a blaze of glory (and concrete dust and vaporized mosquitoes):