I spent 5 years living in the Midwest and I’ve been to St. Louis many times. The Arch was one of those landmarks that sounded silly until you saw it with your own eyes. When you heard people said “the tallest man-made monument in the US”, you heard it but you couldn’t fully imagine it. When you stood underneath the Arch, in the beautiful park, on a sunny Spring day, you just felt grand.
I had to admit, I have never been inside the arch. And to be honest, I didn’t know you can be inside the arch until the 3rd time I visited St. Louis. I heard there was a museum exhibit inside which you could take a tram all the way up to the top. Sometimes, you could also get a package deal that included a cruise on the riverfront. Personally, I couldn’t find the connection between activities in that package.
I lived in New York City and had never been inside the Statue of Liberty. I have been to St. Louis many times and had never been inside the Arch. I believed architectural monumental should be taken in as a whole. How could you see the magnificent curve of the Arch if you were standing inside looking out through a window? It would just be nothing, but a simple very high window.
Years ago, I was doing a road trip with a friend to St. Louis. He worked in St. Louis before and he knew places. He took me to this park on the west side of the city. I couldn’t remember the name or the location of that park anymore. But from the top level of the park auditorium, here was the Arch in full view and glory. Nobody was ever there. You got to enjoy the Arch and the river all on your own. On a Spring day, with the wind blowing through your hair and the sun shining down glimmering the river, the view was nothing short of astonishing.