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It's heeeeeeere!

Construction workers and window washers were putting the finishing touches on the Renzo Piano-revamped High Museum last week in anticipation of modernism's takeover of Midtown.

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But further down Peachtree Street, classicism made a valiant last ditch effort to storm the city. Slowly, very slowly.

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Amid the bustling midday traffic on Oct. 27, a team of four ebony horses inched down Peachtree, toting a portion of the "Millennium Gate."

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The Arc de Triomphe-style Gate is local classicism booster Rodney M. Cook Jr.'s $18 million, privately financed monument that, when completed in 2007, will offer a grandiose gateway to the fictional "town" of Atlantic Station, heralding the most beloved of privately financed projects: IKEA, Dillard's, AMC.

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Fans of kitsch will undoubtedly find much to appreciate in the Gate's eventual six-story structure that will attempt, via its classical architecture, to link ancient democratic civilizations with the present, and will include gallery space devoted to telling the story of Atlanta's first families and "the world-class companies founded by them" to all who care to listen.

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Leading the Gate's charge up Peachtree was a man in a kilt whose presence suggested a funeral procession for a fallen Scotsman.

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Its cargo? Two 8-foot female sculptures that will ornament the pylons flanking the Gate. "Peace" and "Justice," boasted the bright blue-green corroded patina of antique statuary and were flanked by nudie cutie cherubs with penises the size of cashews.

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By the time the procession reached its final resting place in the bosom of Atlantic Station, there were 14 people aboard the overburdened caisson — which had traveled all the way from Savannah — including a small gaggle of grinning men and women clinging to the back of the carriage like classicism's camp followers.

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The angelic voices of the Atlanta Boys Choir sang a round of hallelujahs. An African-American high school marching band high-stepped ahead of the horse-drawn smiling and waving Gov. Sonny Perdue.

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Hispanic laborers taking a break from their Atlantic Station construction jobs sat in the shade of two portable toilets, watching the pomp and circumstance of the navy blazer set. Orange cranes crisscrossed the intense blue sky and hard hats hammered away at the apartments encircling the future site of the Gate.

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One day those apartments will shelter young urbanites who will be able to walk onto their tiny balconies, gaze out at a manmade pond and the proud Millennium Gate and ponder the unique tribute to mankind's megalomania that is Atlanta.



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