Colorful downtown office buildings and skyscrapers.

Capital City

A large, domed limestone courthouse building.
Polk County Courthouse

We were in Des Moines a couple of weeks ago and had some time to wander around downtown. Sometimes I think Des Moines is what the writers of The Simpsons had in mind when they created Capital City. After five years in Iowa City I feel like hick looking up at the tall Whatever-It’s-Called Building. The streets were weirdly deserted for lunchtime on a Monday. Perhaps many had left early for Thanksgiving, but the streets were really empty. Then I remembered the downtown Skywalk, the system of enclosed overhead walkways that connect buildings in some of the bigger cold-weather cities. We went up and, sure enough, there were the city’s pedestrians.

Deserted city streets around a downtown corporate campus are crossed with covered skywalks.
The deserted streets and skywalks of the Nationwide campus.

Our infrequent trips to Des Moines are always good for a pound of sliced bologna, plus olive paste, homemade pasta, and Italian sausages from Graziano’s. For some reason, deli-sliced Boar’s Head bologna is absent from Iowa City (as are proper delis for that matter).

Giant figure of a crouching man composed of painted steel letters.
I am Nomade. I am perfect.

We also walked down to the newly installed Pappajohn Sculpture Park which has about twenty large outdoor sculptures. Some were good, some were not, some looked like bowel movements. Our favorite was Nomade by Jaume Plensa, a huge crouching figure composed of metal letters which you can walk into.

Colorful downtown office buildings and skyscrapers.
See? Des Moines is all right.

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Adam

Adam's artificial habitat is my official website and blog. I write as often as I can, so it is the best way to keep up to date on my goings-on.

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