Living Wright: Cool Tulsa landmark Center of the Universe has magical mystery
BY JASON ASHLEY WRIGHT World Scene Writer
Thursday, March 21, 2013
3/21/13 at 5:18 AM
Go to Jason Ashley Wright's BlogOriginal Print Headline: Magical mystery
When I was a little kid, my brother, cousins and I would play "assassin" at Mamaw Walters' house.
Basically, it was hide-and-seek tag, with a bolster pillow used as the weapon once the assassin found you. Anyway, one of the hiding places the older kids always used was a tunnel, which I was afraid to explore. Turns out, the tunnel was merely an opening between two closets in one of the back rooms.
Before I figured out what it was, though, the tunnel seemed magical and mysterious and quite likely to inspire awe - much like I hoped the Center of the Universe would be when a date took me there 13 years ago.
As it's been more than a decade since that visit, I figured it was something fun to add to my list of 50 things I haven't seen or done before or in a while around town.
After Sunday brunch at The Tavern with Bro. GoGo, I dragged him along with me to the pedestrian bridge between Archer and First streets on the north side of the BOK Tower.
"What was the purpose of this?" Bro. GoGo asked me of the 70-something-foot-tall "Artificial Cloud" sculpture that anchors the bridge. "It always reminds me of the old Phillips 66 sign."
I've always thought the same thing, frankly. But on closer inspection, I had forgotten about the hieroglyphic-like men and planes ascending up the sculpture below the metal cloud.
But that's not the star attraction. I came here to stand in the famous concrete circle that boasts an audio anomaly because, well, it's freaky.
Quite a few people agree, judging by the visitors we spied during our visit. First, there was the photographer and the cute couple whose portraits he shot as they leapt in the air above the circle. While they finished, we watched and felt a train pass underneath, including a lumber car, the contents of which you could smell from our perch. If you're a train freak, this would be a cool spot to watch them pass.
After the couple left, I stood in the circle, saying inane things like, "It's OK," which was scrawled on the ground below. Thinking it was this particular mystic attraction's version of "open sesame," I was disappointed nothing happened.
A look toward my feet, however, proved interesting - specifically, the names Walter and Misty written on either side of a heart, along with the date Nov. 15, 2012. A brick or two over, they signed their names separately - on March 15. With no newly drawn hearts, I wondered if they were still together and decided just to be friends.
I also wondered how often someone comes along to scrub off the names and dates people leave behind, considering how recent all of these seemed drawn.
Alas, as I've oft been accused, I was hogging the center of the universe. I made way as a trio of girls came up to stand in the circle, one holding a chihuahua.
It's not as sentimentally mystical as that tunnel at Mamaw's, but Tulsa's Center of the Universe has enough cool factor to warrant its local landmark status - and, it seems, provide a photo-worthy backdrop for young love.
The Center of the Universe boasts an acoustic anomaly that's, well, freaky. Tulsa World file