Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Indy Gondolas

photos by Mike AyuloThese photos were taken about a week ago in Indianapolis.
The lines of a gondola are so easy to identify.
Indianapolis has had her own gondola servizio for a few years now.

It appears that gondola storage in Indy is similar to what we've seen in other locations (like Boston), where the boats are moored away from the shore - probably both for visibility and to make it difficult for hooligans to try heisting the gondola.

Several years ago, the city of Indianapolis brought this area through a revitalization process like that of Providence, RI and Denver's Cherry Creek.
I received calls from six separate parties, hoping to win the rights to run gondolas there. I talked to a number of people and gave some advice, but was never hired by any of them.
More and more, I see cities in the US and abroad, who are looking to add life to urban areas, turning their attention to gondolas or tour-boat operations.
As I understand it, things in Indy got pretty dramatic towards the end of that process.
Sometimes that happens.
I'm glad I didn't get caught up in it.

Looking down the waterway, I can see why some folks might want to fight for it.

When Mike shot these photos, there was only one gondola in the water. The operation there has had two gondolas in the past. I don't know where the other one is at this writing.
They have a handy way of advertising the business while the boat is dormant.
Taking a look at the cover reminds me of our post a while back about covers.
Don't worry my friends, I haven't forgotten, and am currently composing a follow-up post.

I'm wondering if by now, some of you have noticed subtle differences in the gondola you're looking at. She's not Venice-built, but in many ways, awfully close.
The two gondolas in Indianapolis were built here in the US - one in Seattle, the other in San Diego, by an owner/operator named Doug Bothwell. He built and ran the first one in Seattle, then relocated to San Diego, where he built the second one.
The boats ran out of the Lowes dock in Coronado, then in Mission Bay, before they were sold to the folks in Indiana.

If you have any photos of these boats, feel free to send them to me and I'll post them up.

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