July 26, 2017

Tucson. May, 2005

My beloved friend Simon is an artist in Tucson. Among his many public-art contributions, his magical Diamondback Bridge downtown stands out. Crossing six lanes of traffic on Broadway, the pedestrian “snake bridge” is a wonderful addition to the landscape and personality of this hip town. Each time I visit the bridge, there are always parents and children, equally delighted by the whimsicality of it all. It lights up gently at night. Its yellow eyes glow. The sidewalk within the patterned bridge is incised and tinted in a diamondback design; when it emerges from the fanged mouth it suggests a forked tongue. Why, there’s even a raised tail at the rear and a motion-activated sound device to produce a rattle. Simon planned this project for some five years, working with city panels, funding sources, neighborhood groups and engineers, simplifying his original plans, retaining its spirit of fun and identity. I’ve been visiting this bridge since it debuted in 2002 and I have yet to find a way to snap a photo that captures it fully. Maybe that’s the way magic should be. Thank you, Simon.

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