Up and Over St Louis

St. Louis. It’s a bit daunting to think of deciding what to cover of St. Louis in just two days. One could spend months exploring this great city. I’m a guest at the Hilton Inn at the Ballpark and my room on the 17th floor has a wall of windows with a great view of the new Citygarden which opened just over a year ago and the Civil Courts Building, a gorgeous 1927 art deco structure.

If you have been with me for any length of time, you know I seldom plan or decide to do anything. I just walk out the door and see what Serendipity has in store.

I walked the two blocks to the arch and since it was a Monday afternoon, I was able to get some shots of it sans people. It’s nice to focus on just that sleek, graceful arch.

At the waterfront below the arch, a sightseeing helicopter was landing. “Hmmm”, I thought, “do you suppose?” Then the thought, “This is St. Louis. I’m sure they are bombarded with photographers asking for comp rides all the time. Not likely.” I walked about six more steps and Serendipity bonked me on the head – “You don’t know if you don’t ask, Gayle!”  So, I turned right around and went in, gave them a postcard and told them of my project. The answer was yes! I just needed to wait for either a couple or an individual that wanted to ride and I could take the extra seat.

Ten minutes later they walked up the ramp and I was good to go! There is one seat in front with the pilot and two in back. When the couple was asked where they would like to sit, they looked at me and my camera and said, “It looks like she should be up front.” Amazing!

The whole front of the helicopter is one clear bubble and it was clean! 

 I was told we were traveling as fast as 120 mph, soaring over downtown, the waterfront, the Anheuser Busch Brewery, Busch Stadium and the river just in front of the arch – beautiful! Thank you Gateway Air Tours and a BIG thank you to the kind couple I rode with!

Before leaving the hotel, I had left a message for the management, asking about the possibility of getting up on the roof at dusk. While I was at the waterfront, I received a call saying yes – they would arrange for a security guard to escort me to the roof whenever I was ready!  I was thrilled! 

After signing the appropriate release forms, Daniel from Security and I went to the rooftop, 26 stories above the city. The view in every direction was stunning!  First the late afternoon light glinting off the buildings, then the sunset, then the magic of a few billion city lights turning everything to gold. 

I shot in every direction in every light and loved every second of it.  Then, just as we were ready to pack it in, lights came on illuminating the arch against the darkness. Again, I could only whisper, “Thank You” and keep shooting.

I fell into bed, tired and happy with the golden glow of the city filling the room.  Life is good!  


About Gayle Harper

Travel Photographer and Writer
This entry was posted in MO - St. Louis and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Up and Over St Louis

  1. Gloria Johnson says:

    Gorgeous photos and cool stories. I’ve enjoyed following your journey. I just heard of a group – website unseenghostbrigade.org – that is traveling down the Mississippi on a barge. They are “touring an ecologically-based, river history/ghost-story performance.” The website indicates they were in St. Louis on the 13th. However, the flyer I received says they will perform on the 15th. Maybe you can hook up with them along the way.

  2. Frances Spedding says:

    Gorgeous. Especially the view through the Arch toward the city. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Marilyn Chana says:

    Gayle – these pictures of St. Louis are awesome!!! Serendipity is certainly on your side. You amaze me!

  4. Gorgeous pics, Gayle! We enjoyed having dinner with you and look forward to showing you more of St. Louis in the future.

  5. stltourguide says:

    I really enjoyed your blog post & sky views of St. Louis, Gayle! Beautiful photography! Lovely serendipitous approach to travel! I write a blog of my own “From the Lou” at wordpress. I hope you check it out if you have a minute: http://stltourguide.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/haunting-st-louis-i/ Safe journey on!

  6. Robin says:

    Two years before I moved to St. Louis, I did exactly what you did!!! I’m so glad, too, because I got some great shots, though yours are far more spectacular, and I didn’t even think to do the hotel rooftop views at dusk. I am very blessed right now, because I live downtown, and see the Arch every single day unobstructed. Thanks for sharing your photos and the details of your trip.

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