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Pier notebook: Alma in Portuguese means ‘Ghost’

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Pier Selection Committee’s apparent favoring of the design known as Alma. The featured tower that would replace the iconic inverted pyramid is among one of the public’s least favorite designs, according to three separate public surveys.

So, those folks are going to really have fun with this one.

Alma, in Portuguese, means ghost. And it would appear the design team behind the project knew that.

In its original design document presented to the city during the Request for Qualification period, the fourth page describes Alma.

“Alma … soul … spirit,” the headline reads. “The soul of the city.”

Yes, Alma means soul and spirit, but it also means ghost.

“The ghost of the city” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I’m not trying to take away from the intended meaning. St. Petersburg residents indicated they wanted an icon for the city in their new Pier; something that represented St. Pete. They wanted, hats off to Alfonso architects here, a soul of their city.

But come on, unintended consequences are an actual thing and ghost is, in fact, an alternative meaning for Alma. So, in the spirit (also a translation of alma) of Pier bickering, let’s have a little fun with Alma as ghost as opposed to soul, spirit, essence or heart.

“Welcome to ghost town!”

That doesn’t work. Isn’t a ghost town what the city is trying to get away from?

“Come see the ghost!”

Nope. Too scary.

“Build the ghost!”

Would that require homicide?

“Kill the ghost!”

Sorry guys, Buffy only slays vampires.

“Come see the ghost!”

Welcome to St. Pete, ghost hunters.

This may seem petty, but someone had to point it out and, isn’t it fun?

The take away here may very well be that if you are going to get creative with a translated word, you should probably double check to make sure any alternative translations won’t railroad your original intention.

Way to think outside the box, though, guys.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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