Riga's Jugendstil GrandeurNo. 5 Alberta iela
I admit to having a soft spot for decayed urban glory... judging from my father's photos around New York in the 1950's, I would say it's genetic. He passed away in 1962, when I was only 7; I mention that not to evoke sympathy, but to make the point that we really are the stuff our parents our made of!
Only the passing of decades can impart such richness of texture, but when it does, it does so even to the most mundane surface. In our mind's eye, we turn the clock back to re-imagine pristine glory and then travel through time back to the present—spanning our lifetime, the lifetimes of our parents, grandparents... I look at Alberta iela today, keeping in mind touring Riga with my mother as she showed me where she used to live and described Riga in the 1920's and 1930's, and I am bound and woven into her past, my past. In architectural life spans, these buildings would have all been but mere infants when she first strolled by.
As I write this, my mom is in Riga, getting ready to celebrate her 91st birthday on December 20th, passing her time learning Finnish. Current events in our families' and relatives' lives have given rise to reflection... time stands still for no one, and the clock is ticking for the preservation of Alberta iela and its rebirth in a new Latvia in a new century—completing and continuing the link between the past, present, and future. —Peters