King of Atlanta

Atlanta has been a place of many surprises. Not least for its impressive skyline, colloquial streets, abundance of trees. And Pookaverse is quite taken with it.

From a hotel, as it turns out, that seems to be perfectly located for a visit to Atlanta. Situated in Midtown Atlanta, the Artmore Hotel is just across from the MARTA Art Centre stop.

John Pemberton, confederate veteran pharmacist and inventor of the ubiquitous brew raises a glass to Coca-Cola World Headquarters…outside Coca-Cola World, Atlanta, GA…Did we say that we Pookaverse prefer Pepsi?

And a route that can take you all the way to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, if you want, in less than 20 minutes.

Another sunny and warm morning with temperatures in the low 20’s and humidity – less.  Pookaverse travelled to the Centennial Olympic Park  – a commemorative part of the Atlanta Olympic Games site for the 1996 (XXVI) Olympic Games.

A worms-eye view of the Centennial Olympic Park  with the cylindrical Westin Peach Tree Plaza Hotel in the background, Downtown Atlanta, GA

It is a park where many of Atlanta’s key tourist attractions converge. Including the World of Coca-Cola Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and the CNN studios and tour. As well as being a pleasing space to wander in it is also the second place after Okla City that a Terrorist Bomb was detonated just over 15 months after the Oklahoma Bombing.

A hawks-eye view of the Centennial Olympic Park from the 72nd Floor of  the Westin Plaza Peach Tree Hotel, Downtown Atlanta, GA

This time while the 1996 Games were taking place. Killing two people and injuring over 100.

For the purposes of violent protest against abortion clinics (is that anti-pro-life?) and the prevailing trend towards Gay and Lesbian bars in downtown Atlanta – Eric Robert Rudolph was eventually captured in 2003, tried in 2005 and now is serving three consecutive life terms in ADX Florence Supermax federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

He stated at trial that “…the purpose of the attack on July 27th was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government in the eyes of the world for its abominable sanctioning of abortion on demand. The plan was to force the cancellation of the Games, or at least create a state of insecurity to empty the streets around the venues and thereby eat into the vast amounts of money invested.”

Like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the expression of his convictions was expressed in violence, terror and murder. It is interesting when people of conviction are confronted with obstacles. The path they choose to take to ‘make the world listen’ – pay attention to their cause. Their beliefs. Their ideas.

The view uptown towards the Bank of America plaza (Atlanta’s tallest) along the stately Peachtree Avenue. Atlanta’s ‘mother road’

After sitting in the sunshine outside the world of Coca-Cola, the Pookaverse hooms – with the aid of a voucher found by Alison – then walked back into Downtown to the Westin Plaza Peach Tree Hotel. Constructed in 1976, this interesting and quite dated feature of the cityscape offers visitors (with one of those vouchers valid for two people) to ascend 723.0 ft (72 stories) free-of-charge for a spectacular view of Atlanta, it’s 262 neigbourhoods and the millions of trees that green its vast surburban spaces.

The CNN building with the Georgia Dome (home of the Atlanta Falcons) with its troublesome covering crouched behind it.

With a view as far as Stone Mountain where Gutzon Borglum began work on the largest bas-relief in the world before his calling/flight with the design to South Dakota to begin work on his Magnum Opus. To views of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport nearly 10 miles away.

You have to compensate for the fact that this is not a managed experience such as the Willis Tower in Chicago or the Space Needle in Seattle.

The elegant 191 Peachtree Tower peers into the observation deck of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in an attitude that suggests curiosity?

Therefore information about the second largest hotel tower in the Western Hemisphere is sparse. As is details of the extensive window replacement following the 2008 tornado. But standing on curvy inlaid pulpits one-story above the clearly visible revolving restaurant floor (360 degrees every 60 minutes) is a rewarding experience. With a pleasing absence of fellow tourists. One of Atlanta’s best kept secrets by far. Pookaverse could have stayed for an appetiser but noticed a Starbucks coffee on the 5th Floor.

Pookaverse didn’t mention the glass elevators, 80 second ascent up 72 storeys…else you might not try it.

Part of what holds it all up…the lovely lobby space under the upturned ‘barstool’ of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel

We drank our plastic 12oz takeouts in Bacchanal comfort amongst the concrete underskirts of an inverted  Saturn V moon rocket (Which was less than half the height of this tower). Spaghetti walkways and conversations held high above our heads. Pookaverse hooms talked about the future. While the Houhynmms, more wisely, worked there way through two dozen blueberry scones.

It’s not wise to talk about the future where blueberry scone are concerned.

Back onto the transit system. Back to Five Points station. The North-South-East-West heart of the hub. The out East to the King Memorial station and a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site – a short 15 minute walk North.

Parallel to the ‘spires’ of Downtown – clearly visible at close range. The site, excellently managed by the supermen and women of the National Park Service contains many features – real and authentic.

A National Park Ranger guides visitors to the entrance of Dr Martin Luther King.,Jr’s birthplace

The house where Dr King was born on Auburn Ave with the shotgun row of house that he would overlook as a child. The Ebeneezer Baptist Church where Dr King was Pastor and from which he led the African-American Civil Rights Movement and ministered his philosophy of non-violent protest. A Visitor Centre with an outstanding exhibition of the civil rights movement, the key events and Martin Luther King Jr’s attempts to maintain non-violent civil disobedience in the face of escalating demands for violence from some quarters within the movement.

An eternal flame next to his final resting place the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Tomb where his body was interred on April 7, 1968. Set amidst a pool of reflection and within the grounds of King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

There were many things to consider. Many things to take in. The levels of violence both psychological and physical required to maintain segregation. Constant Provocation. Humiliation. Death threats. Fear. Casual cruelty and murder dished out on a whim. Pookaverse noted the picture of a lynching in Alabama taken as a trophy in 1956. The children gleeful as their smiling parents looked on at their night’s work.

It carefully places King within the context of  a larger movement that he inspired rather than deifying him. Which makes his stature seem taller. His influence more potent. His presence more real.

And listening to the recordings of his voice while Pookaverse hooms sat in Ebeneezer Baptist Church. Listening to one of his sermons. He is a fantastic orator. Not just his m0st famous speech.  He spoke publicly many times. But for his sermons given in a spiritual cause. The deliberation, care and accentuation in his voice is moving. His biblical referrals to Jesus as a ‘rabble-rouser’ poignant.

You know.

It is interesting when people of conviction are confronted with obstacles. The path they choose to take to ‘make the world listen’ – pay attention to their cause. Their beliefs. Their ideas.

“…We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force…”


5 Responses to “King of Atlanta”

  1. Thompson Says:

    Atlanta looks great, much more interesting than I had imagined. Hope you are both well. Are you looking forward to the elections today (or is it tomorrow for you?)

  2. jose Says:

    Atlanta looks great, many interesting places to visit, the stillness of
    Martin Luther Kings resting place is ideal. Feel a lot closer to you both today, election day, lots of live broadcasts from all over America, reckon after all that travelling you’re entitled to a vote! keep safe, reckon it was quite a wrench to part with your trusty vehiclei

  3. Anne Says:

    Still loving the great mixture of fantastic natural scenery (pretty mind blowing images there – lots of “wow” time!!) and the amazing man made stuff – be it architecture or dams or works of art / memorials. You seem to be falling in love with the country???? I will still force you to read the book with the chapter on the Hoover Dam in it (I don’t feel you took every opportunity offered to you to prepare yourself for your trip!!!!) Thank you for paying particular attention to Halloween – I like to think that it reflects the creative side of the American psyche (other than zombie movies etc) – heart warming to see how slightly bannanas they can be (in a context where the world doesn’t have to worry as to the outcome of their actions!!)

    Glad to hear that you have had a bit of rain (those pictures are still presenting amazing blue skies!!). It is the usual, autumnal cold, grey, cloudy, drizzle here – oooop north they have had a bit of snow and everything. Haven’t quite stuck the heating on yet – but it won’t be long – only the knowledge that my mother can remember the war is holding my hand back from the switch as I type!!!

    Got up late for squash training this Sunday, so poottled on down to apologise for not getting there and to see who was going on to the chocolate shop – only to find that no one else had gone, and Trish had turned up on time just for me!!!!!! How guilty did I feel?!! Chairman’s cup starting this week – so I’m in for that. First time that I will have played squash this month. Haven’t seen anyone for ages. Hilary is off visiting her son in Dubai (I think).

    SCD is still going well – some great dancing in there and they have nearly got rid of all the rubbish ones (showing quite a lot of chest from the male competitors this time around – a little bit risque for prime time BBC TV schedules!!)

    Cake decorating went down a storm at Hallloween – did a 3 tier monstrousity with tombstones and bats and things – apparently the “best one ever!!!” Now thinking about the Christmas ones!! Speaking of which – was it only this time last year when we starting sorting out your cakes Alison? What will you be getting this year? (Hopefully something with lots of cream and chocolate on it?)

    Anyway – better get back to work. Hope that you are both well. Still looking impressive. How much more of America do we have to do before moving on to new pastures? Take care.

  4. Rach Says:

    Altlanta looks beautiful – did you see the massive CDC building?

    England is rejoicing as Obama is still in the seat – he seems to be really popular here!- theres talk of him being the only president who may create a Palestinian state to ease the constant tension israel feels and sort the whole mess out.

    Anyway – back down to my level
    Where’s the fooking Zombie pictures???????

    • pookaverse Says:

      Yes. Look back to earlier posts. There were directed specifically at you. The ‘CDC building’ is pictured.

      The blog entry “Wednesday” is entirely devoted to The Walking Dead Locations and TO YOU numbnuts. 🙂

      Are you able to watch the 3rd Series in the UK?

      Watched the 4th Episode on Sunday. Oh boy. Two lead characters killed off in one episode – and it ain’t pretty. A total surprise. Best is yet to come. You are going to love it.

      The relief is here too – in this room – not outside in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Too many. Romney for President sign’s out there 🙂
      God Bless Obama!


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