One of the major set-pieces in Doha 12 is a three-way gun battle involving Our Heroes at Philadelphia’s massive 30th Street Station, the terminus for the city’s subway, commuter rail and Amtrak.
It was completed in 1933 and is a fine example of early-to-mid Art Deco, with its classicist forms familiar from many New Deal-era government buildings. It rose at the same time as several other grand railway stations that took advantage of the electrification of regional rail and the rise of diesel locomotives, which allowed platforms to be placed underground or inside without fear of suffocating passengers.
Why have a firefight here? For one, there’s nothing like a big stage (100’ ceiling!) for a big scene. Here’s how Jake sees the place as he enters from Track Nine:
The stairway spilled them into a massive Art Deco hall of honey-colored marble the size of a football field, busy with a couple hundred commuters. A coffered ceiling hung a hundred feet overhead, while tall, narrow multi-paned windows stretched from the doorway tops to the geometric frieze. The instant they left the stairwell, he and Miriam broke from the pack and headed for the middle of the dove-gray, marble-tiled floor.
Miriam pivoted to scan their surroundings. Jake edged next to her. “Got him? Bomber jacket?”
“Yes. I’m looking for his friends.”
All the moving bodies created too much visual clutter. Jake couldn’t see any obvious candidates. “Let’s move. If they’re here, they’ll follow us.”
“Right.” Miriam nodded down the concourse. “That way.” She quick-stepped east. Jake traced the line of lit Christmas wreaths on the walls to the hall’s opposite end. A perfect 30-foot conical Christmas tree towered perhaps fifty yards away beyond the Amtrak information counter, lights and ornaments packed so tight hardly any greenery was visible. The 29th Street doors lay a very long 25 yards past that.
“We should’ve driven,” Jake grumbled.
It makes sense from a story perspective; if you ride SEPTA or NJ Transit into Philadelphia (as Jake and Miriam do), you’re going to end up at 30th Street Station. It has a lot of furniture, barriers, stairwells and side corridors for the players to run around in, and a large number of rush-hour commuters to get in the way. I also happen to have a fondness for Art Deco. So sue me.