Sunday, March 06, 2005


I wonder if either Agassi or Federer lunged after the ball:

That's an actual tennis game, being played on a refitted helipad atop a rather high-rise hotel in Dubai. Wild. I looked at this and had two thoughts, pretty much at the same time:

1. I wonder if the platform tilts and if sharp spikes pop out, at the behest of a remote control in the hands of Prince Vultan. (Ten geek points if you get the reference here.)

2. That would be a great way of settling all of John McEnroe's heated arguments with line judges about whether the ball was in or out. "The ball is currently plummeting past the twentieth story, Mr. McEnroe. I think it's safe to say that it was out."

(via David Sucher)

EDIT and UPDATE: Well, that's what I get for lazily hotlinking a photo on someone else's server; it's not showing as of this writing, so I'm actually putting a copy of the photo on my own server. You know, "doing the right thing". I hate it when I have to do that!

But it's all right, actually, because I found something even better: a photo gallery devoted to this very "tennis in the sky" thing. Here's one that I found particularly striking:

I love that Mosque in the background; it gives this picture a kind of "blending secular and sacred" thing that I enjoy when it's done well, and it still conveys the idea of tremendous height.

And if you're wondering just how much height is really involved, there's this:

According to the news item linked above, the helipad is over 700 feet up, or 320 meters. (It's that little green circular thing sticking off into space, way up on the side.) If you want to see how a 320m building compares to a building in your neck of the woods, check (warning -- this site's user interface is, shall we say, less than intuitive). If their figures are accurate, that building would dwarf the entire Buffalo skyline if suddenly plopped down here, since our tallest building -- 40-story One HSBC Center -- is only 161m tall. Wow.

(Personal note: I long for the day when there's another tall building in Buffalo to draw attention away from One HSBC Center, which has to be the most "vanilla" skyscraper I have ever seen. I don't think a more boring building could have been constructed by anyone.)

No comments: