Thursday, March 1, 2012
Photos: Birthday cake on the abandoned Margaret Hunt Hill bridge
Before all the hustle-bustle, a Deep Ellum resident had a quiet birthday party on the bridge.
On Sunday, February 12, it was a cold 34 degrees in Dallas. But Gus Rios wanted to have his birthday cake outside. And he wanted to eat it on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, just weeks before it would open to the public and later to vehicles.
“Life’s too short to pass up a photo op on an empty bridge,” said Rios, whose 37th birthday was February 8. He couldn't wait until next year's birthday: The bridge wouldn't be empty anymore.
The temperature took a dive as Rios and his girlfriend Melanie Tompkins pulled up to the bridge on the west side and unloaded a table, an aqua table cloth, and chairs. His camera was set up, remote-control in hand, and the coffee-chocolate cake was positioned just right. Rios tried not to shiver.
“My girlfriend looked at me and gently told me to smile to make sure none of the images looked like we were freezing our butts off,” Rios recounted. “I know it's silly, but her comfort warmed the otherwise bitter-cold shoot.” The photos Rios and Tompkins took are memories that Rios hopes to show his kids one day.
The Deep Ellum resident has become a hard study of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. He felt the way many Dallas residents did about the bridge at first: That it was a “bridge to nowhere” and that the $182 million spent on it should have been put towards some other project. Rios said he wants Dallas to be an iconic city, but he felt like the city never stood for something. After poring over information about Santiago Calatrava's life and architectural design, Rios says the bridge is Dallas' opportunity.
“It's an iconic bridge from an iconic architect that's going to help put Dallas on the map,” he said.
He soon became familiar with the bridge, driving by regularly and snapping photos of it at all hours of the day, some of which were posted to a Pegasus News story in January.
“Driving by, it's majestic, it's towering, it's powerful, and it symbolizes strength,” he said. “And yet it's elegant.”
Since Rios turned 30, he vowed to do something unique each year to celebrate his birthday – something that couldn't be done the year prior. Rios said he knew months ago what his 37th birthday celebration would be.
“This year there was no doubt I’d do something on the bridge,” he said.
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