That big black smokestack

In 1887, someone sent a letter in to the newspaper Le Temps calling plans for the Eiffel Tower, meant to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution, "a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack," or words - in French - to that effect. Hard to believe Gustave Eiffel's now-iconic structure was so controversial. Do not expect to encounter a controversial tower at this year's flower show. It is not an exact replica. Obviously. The real deal is 1,063 feet; this one will be 33 feet. At the moment, the flower show tower is in 13 "tractor trailer-size" pieces in a shop in Sharon Hill. They're made of steel and plywood and will be covered in hundreds of "peanut lights," tiny, 6-watt light bulbs that will be sychronized to Parisian techno-music. There will be no flowers on the tower, however, a departure from traditional flower show central-feature style. And the tower will not hit you in the face as you walk in. It'll be placed 90 feet back from the entrance, sitting in the middle of a so-called "French curve garden" with planters and ponds, a flower cart on one side (fashioned from two old Schwinn bikes) and a flower shop (modelled on one of those fabulous Parisian Metro stops) on the other. There'll be mimes and jugglers. I'm there.  

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