And the award goes to
This time, we decided to hand over the reins of picking winners for our very own city awards to sutradhaars - Sir PM and Lady Flora. We'd like to remind our readers that the two respectable judges have tried their best to stay free of any outside
"So, lady Flora, what's this hype and pressure about New Year resolutions? I just don't get it. And, to add to it @bombayana has asked us to compile this list of the year that was. How much should we look back, sideways, ahead…too much stress," cribbed Sir PM on their walk down DN Road before the last day of the year.
"Oh, Pheroze, you mustn't allow this to get the better of you. It's such a prestigious honour. Imagine, we get to pick our favourite moments, sights, sounds and even throw a brickbat or two," she winked at her friend. After a long pause, he said, "I see your point, Lady Flora. No more complaining – that's my resolution for 2019. Let's get to work and share our notes with mid-day's readers."
Heritage blockbuster of the year: UNESCO WHS tag
June 30, 2018 will go down as a landmark day for Mumbai's heritage movement. The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble spanning 19th and 20th centuries were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was the third honour conferred on a city landmark – CSMT and Elephanta being the other two. It was a victory for the many citizen groups who worked tirelessly to create a hefty, research backed dossier that won the nod from the panel. So, the next time you're strolling through Oval Maidan or hear a chime from Rajabai Tower, remember it's on the world heritage map.
Most awaited comeback of the year: Flora Fountain
Finally, after much anticipation, the beautiful statue at the nodal point of the original city will open to the public after years of dedicated repair and restoration. The stunning work of art and design, depicting the Roman goddess of Abundance, will sport aesthetic street furniture and lighting, and she will continue to cast her calming gaze over her city.
Disclaimer: We hope readers don't mind some self-promotion for the above mention. It was based on public demand.
Global showcase award: Three awards at UNESCO'S 2017 Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation
There was much for India's (and Mumbai's) heritage movement as three of the 16 awards emerged from the country at this year's UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, The LAMO Centre in Ladakh, Leh won the prestigious Award of Distinction while city landmarks - Rajabai Clock Tower and University of Mumbai Library Building and the Ruttonsee Muljee Jetha Fountain – won in the Honourable Mention category. Mumbai had a role to play in all wins - Brinda Somaya and Vikas Dilawari's projects were city-based, of course, while Dr Monisha Ahmed, the co-founder of the LAMO Centre, is also from here. Bravo!
Landmark of the year award: St Thomas Cathedral
The tercentenary celebrations of this landmark put the spotlight on the historic Anglican church, one of India's oldest, as it came to life with choral concerts, heritage walks, restoration of its interiors, and the marquee event – a month-long exhibition of its rare archival material and relics, currently underway at CSMVS. A gift to the city, it's a must-see chronicle of the city's origins.
New cultural hotspot award: Ballard Estate
The otherwise quiet Ballard Estate came to life earlier this month as NGO Art in the Park organised an eco-friendly Kala Utsav with art workshops for children, all free of cost. The initiative supported by the Indian Heritage Foundation, Mumbai Port Trust, and the Bombay Chamber of Commerce saw footfall of 3,500. Here's to more such initiatives.
Party pooper of the year (second year running): Metro work
Let's face it. Mumbai's heritage – from DN Road historic landmarks to its Parsi fire temples, precious mangroves have all been at the receiving end of this. The furious pace at which the city has been at the mercy of this infrastructural development, is a worrying sign. It's been touted as an upgrade and improvement of the city's commuting and transport woes; but the fallout is increasingly looking larger than the real deal, which we hope will fructify into something good and beneficial. The costs until now, sadly, are too high.
mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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