Friday, December 21, 2012

The 15th Tallest Building in Dallas

To say Reunion Tower resembles a giant golf ball on a 500-foot-tall tee, or a monstrous dandelion with a triple shaft stem, hardly accords it the dignity of a structure that keeps company with the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower. It, too, has an observation deck, but more importantly it is member to the fraternity of buildings that light up in code!

It used to just glow, a floating ball in the night, but a year ago the bulbs were switched out for an LED system so that now the 259 points of light, one each at every intersection of aluminum struts forming the geodesic sphere, change colors and patterns. Unlike New York, where the weekly Time Out includes a section decoding the Empire State Building's temporary hues, in Dallas I have no cypher. The blue of World Autism day does not register for me, just as I could never identify the colors for Puerto Rican Independence Day all on my own. Fortunately, Reunion Tower tends to take it easy on me. I know a jack-o-lantern when I see one. I feel comfortable assuming a giant pink "MK" is for the Dallas-based Mary Kay, and currently I can pick out the swirl of rotating candy canes and Christmas trees with no trouble at all. I liked it when it was just a dandelion, a curiosity of 1970s architecture imagining a future that never came. But it's that much better now that it's got something to say. Who needs an inexplicable ornament suspended in the sky, when you can receive messages from a queer planet in low orbit?

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