Monday, November 1, 2010

Alcatraz Reflections: Size and Space

It was an unusually warm day on Alcatraz Island on Sunday. The sky was blue and clear, and there was little wind. It was a very pleasant, balmy weather; I almost felt like I was on vacation. It almost seemed impossible that such a beautiful island could have once housed the country’s most dangerous criminals. I was also surprised by how small the building seemed. I imagined the structure to be much larger for some reason. I was also surprised by how the isolation chambers were right next to the D-block cells. I thought they would be in the basement, in the complete darkness. Overall, I had a hard time imagining people actually living in the old prison. The commercialization of the island has made the park feel more like a tourist attraction, something that is invented rather than preserved. I think the island would have felt very different if I had gone at night or when it’s cloudy and rainy.


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