Piers were originally created for shipping cargo over the waterways. Enormous ships came in and were loaded with enormous containers. There was nothing elegant about this work, even if it was respectable and necessary. They were not for upscale restaurants or beer opener magnet stores.
Yet, now they are for selling trinkets and watching magic shows. They are for huge amounts of food consumption. They are for walking along and pretending that you aren’t a tourist.
How did this happen? How is it possible that people took a look at a dirty pier and saw a merry go round? And it isn’t just one person or one company that saw it. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and millions of people saw it too. They see it every day and they create an experience that we can’t help but want to be a part of.
It makes me wonder about other things that need to be radically repurposed. The buildings may be being used, but they aren’t being used by everyone. The experiences may be authentic but they aren’t attractions.
Here is where we should start looking for the next places that tourists should want to spend their hard earned dollars and the majority of their time:
1. Schools as living exhibits, children’s museums, and art galleries.
2. Business parks as outlet malls, single’s bars, and day long apprenticeship experiences.
3. Churches as movie theaters and enormous gathering spots for any club, event or group without limitation.
Those are the new purposes. Those are the ones that make sense to me now that I have seen these piers.