Stratford – a place in flux

This afternoon, just on the spur of the moment – Lyn beng otherwise occupied – I decided to go up to Stratford, to take a look at how the Olympic Park was evolving. I had been planning a trip up there for a while: it isn’t far, just two stops on the tube, and you know how interested I am in what happened there last year. In my head that place is the site of something remarkable.

Off I went, then, just after lunch. I’ve been there before, of course, but I was interested to see how the place had changed in the six months since the paralympic closing ceremony. Truth be told, I’m not sure what I expected to see: I knew that the place would be largely a building site, and it would probably be better to wait until the park reopens fully, but hey, I’m a curious little cripple. Besides, certain birthdays are approaching I need to start thinking about, and a tour of the Westfield shopping centre could help with that.

Now that I’ve returned, though, I don’t find there is much to report. Sure enough, the place is a building site: you can’t get into the park, so I just whizzed round the shopping centre for a bit. Even in there, though, half the shops were shut, it being Sunday, so just returned home after a while. Mind you, I did see a couple of shops I’d like to return to when they are open: I’ll probably wait a few months for that though.

I got the sense that that area is now in a state of flux or transition. Stratford’s time in the spotlight, for which it was (re)designed, is over: cruising around it’s streets this afternoon, I got the impression I so often get in London, of the old butting up to the new. There, victorian and Edwardian terraces, remnants of an old east London, Butt up to modern buildings built especially for last year. Now, though, it’s even more curious as the event those new buildings were built for is now passed, so they too have become part of history: they are passed their heyday just as the terraces are. I suppose in a way they are a synecdoche for London itself, full of history, constantly pressing forward into the future. And is stratford is part of this city which could stand for the whole, so London could stand for the world itself.

Wow! Amazing how prosaic I get after a Sunday afternoon drive.

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