MITRE’s main quarters here until recently were in a building that faced the Alte Oper, the old opera house. Originally built in 1800 and bombed out during the war, the Alte Oper still had weeds growing within its shell until the late 1970s when it was reconstructed to its former splendor. The surrounding Opernplatz is host to numerous events during all but the bitterest winter months. Wine and food festivals abound from spring through fall; one Saturday we happened upon an outdoor concert with a full orchestra—of trombones; a marathon swoops by in early October and we even viewed a fashion show featuring a ¼- mile runway later that month.
In good weather, of which, we’ve been told, we’ve had more than the normal amount, the neighboring restaurants’ tables momentarily encroach on the square, and occasionally a temporary structure is erected, perhaps to tout the upcoming theater season. Some time last fall a more substantial building arose, although its plywood boxiness did remind me of a shack slapped up to sell condo time-shares. It turned out to be a "Commerzbank" building and five months later it’s still there—there’s a reason this town's nickname is Bankfurt!