Day three of external demolition of the inverted pyramid is winding down and already the front of the building looks like it was hit with a bomb. Crews stopped work on excavating the southern half of the front of the building Wednesday and began ripping through the side to the north of the elevator shaft.
Internal guts of the 1973 structure are on display to those taking a trip to peak through fences at demolition progress or on a 24/7 live feed of the Pier hosted by the travel insurance company Squaremouth.
But a couple miles west of the Pier a new image of the Pier has emerged. As part of a massive wall mural program this month called Shine, artist Michael Vasquez painted a giant mural of the city’s now falling iconic Pier depicting a father-son duo fishing off Spa Beach overlooking the inverted pyramid.
Vasquez is a St. Pete native who now works out of Miami with a focus on urban, street culture and identity. A current exhibit at the Smithsonian national Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., is displaying his work.
The Pier mural was Vasquez’s first large-scale mural. There are some flaws with the mural. While the image appears to show the fisherman facing the Pier from the Northside where Spa Beach is located, there is no beach, just a sidewalk. The front of the Pier also appears to be facing north while the actual structure’s entrance faced west toward the city, not the bay.
Regardless, the timing of Vasquez’s mural could not have been more opportune. The mural was born as the actual Pier was being systematically dismantled by heavy machinery to make way for Pier Park.
Demolition of the inverted pyramid is expected to take about six weeks. While that’s well over a month away, progress on the city-facing façade suggests the Pier as residents know it may cease to be all that recognizable much sooner.
Demolition of the entire Pier head and approach is expected to be complete by February. Pier Park construction is planned for 2017 with completion in 2018.