Its funky shape stole hearts and wore down doubters. Its concrete pilings lasted nearly nine decades before salt water intrusion undermined them. Utility was never its strong suit, but the Pier on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront more than made amends with pelicans, ice cream cones, fishing lines, bicyclists, skaters, rooftop bands, a tall ship, dolphin tours, Segway tours, aquarium creatures, 1905 salads, salsa lessons, aerial shots, postcard silhouettes, night-time city views, prom dates, wedding celebrations, field trips, sunrises, lightning storms and the warm comfort of sweat on a cool November jog.
The end for the inverted pyramid has not come easy. Civic discord stretched on for years, until common sense and anticipation finally overtook distrust and nostalgia and the city embraced a new vision for an exciting new pier.
Now bulldozers are dismantling the inverted pyramid piece by piece. By February, only photographs, video and memories will remain. Mayor Rick Kriseman hosts the official demolition ceremony today, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Dolphin parking lot, with activities, gifts and speeches. People can share their thoughts in writing and on video, for later display in city buildings. St. Petersburg is moving forward, as well it should. Piers are never going to be permanent. Come 2018, the new pier will enliven the waterfront and offer exciting new opportunities to enjoy it.
As for today, though, the mayor's shindig creates a fine moment for reflection and one more fond gaze toward a landmark that defined St. Petersburg for decades.