Norfolk, Virginia (day 2)

Street Art

Today was a long but very satisfying day.

I’d read that Norfolk has an arts district, “NEON,” and that it had a lot of murals and street art. That I could not miss. It surpassed my expectations—it covers a large area, with artwork by lots of different people and in many different styles.  I’d walk and think I’d reached the end, only to discover another large area.

From there it was off to the harbor for a boat tour of the Naval base.  I knew the naval base was large, but again I had no idea how large. The tour took two hours, during which time we passed by dozens of warships, each larger than the one before. We also saw and learned about the container capabilities of the port, which are as amazing as I’d guessed when driving in.

There was also quite a history lesson—I learned that the Monitor and Merrimack, the famous iron-sided ships from the Civil War, were both built in the north.  When the south seemed likely to retake Norfolk Harbor, the north burned the Merrimack. It was refurbished by the south.  The battle was a draw, but forever ended wooden battle ships.  Then he told us the battleship New York was partially built from steel salvaged from the World Trade Center (9/11).

The tour guide told us of the capabilities of each ship (frightening) and the cost (outrageous). One of the newest ships, The George H. Bush, cost $12.6 BILLION.  I kept thinking how much good that amount of money could do if used for non-military purposes.  I guess I’m a bleeding-heart liberal after all.

Then off to the Chrysler Museum to see their glass collection.  It’s not the Corning Museum of Glass, but it’s impressive.  The remainder of the museum’s collection has a bit of this and a bit of that, wonderful pieces but not enough to get a sense of a time or place or style.  As someone who’s used to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it felt like a patchwork quilt.  Though considering it is the collection of a single individual, it’s amazing.

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