Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Eiffel Tower's Anniversary

Gustave Eiffel's Tower opened 125 years ago today at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. It was envisioned as a temporary structure that would remain for only twenty years. It is our great fortune that this masterpiece of engineering and design still stands. There are about 7 million paying visitors each year, which is more than at any other site in the world.

In Saul Steinberg's 1961 New Yorker cover, a pair of American tourists, cameras around their necks, descend as if fired from cannons upon a great confection of European destinations prominently including the Eiffel Tower.
Saul Steinberg, The New Yorker, June 10, 1961

In a cartoon published almost thirty years after the Steinberg cover, James Stevenson too has assembled an array of prominent tourist destinations. Like Steinberg, he includes the Eiffel Tower and London's Big Ben, because not to include them would be unthinkable.
James Stevenson, "Gee, honey, this place has got everything."
The New Yorker, January 15, 1990, page 36

J. B. Handelsman has shrunk the tower quite a bit to a more human scale. He suggests the Eiffel Tower has an iconic status akin to New York's Empire State Building. Maybe it does, but the Eiffel Tower gets twice as many paying visitors each year.
J. B. Handelsman, Le Roi Kong, April 27, 1998, The New Yorker, page 123

Note:  You're in luck! The Eiffel Tower appears on this blog in one previous post.


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