07 July 2007

Petersburg White Nights

Here's a few more pictures from my recent trip to St. Petersburg. These were taken between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am. For someone who grew up in a place where 9:00 is the latest the sun ever sets in the summer, seeing it still light out at midnight is a bizarre experience.

The event I photographed was a concert and outdoor party thrown for the city's high school graduates, who had graduated that day. As you can see from the photos, there were hordes of kids everywhere. Nevsky Prospect was closed from Gostiniy Dvor all the way down to the river, and people were constantly streaming towards the Winter Palace.

I finally bailed at 1:00, partly because I was tired and partcly because it looked like things could easily get out of hand. People were starting to get drunk, rowdy, and pushy, and there were a few moments where someone smaller than I would have had a hard time holding their own against the pulsing crowd.

As I walked back up Nevsky Prospect, the masses continued to flow toward the concert. The street was full of broken glass - as people finished their beers, they would set the bottle on the side of the road. Sooner or later someone would trip over it or deliberately kick it and it would shatter on the pavement. Some of the ornamental iron bollards along Nevsky were ripped out of their foundations, often prying up the pavement stones with them.

To the credit of the St. Petersburg municipal services, by 9:00 the next morning the entire length of the street was spotless - all the glass had been removed and all the bollards and chains had been restored to their original positions (though some were tilting a bit precariously).

In any case, that's enough from me. Here are the pictures:

Guest appearance by St. Petersburg governor (and potential Putin dark-horse successor?) Valentina Matvienko:

This is my favorite photo: two lines (there's another one on the right that's not pictured) of OMON officers guarding..... an extension cord.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is really awesome!