Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Building "The Banks."

- A group gathers for a construction tour of The Banks.

I took up an invitation from the folks at Carter-Dawson to see the current progress on The Banks, the development currently rising between the two stadiums on Cincinnati's riverfront. Upon completion, the complex will have nearly 300 apartments in phase 1 and feature a wide variety of retail and dining options. There's even room for an office tower to be built as well as a hotel. The development will be surrounded by Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium, downtown and the new Central Riverfront Park.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Mighty Motor City - Part 3: The National Theatre

- The interior remains of The National Theatre in Detroit.

In the 1960's, being able to communicate with others via a hand held device was the fantasy of Star Trek episodes. These days, not only can you call someone from the phone in your pocket, but you can browse the internet and watch movies too. You're connected with a vast network of people and entertainment options all at your fingertips. If you can't stand the small screen of a smart phone, you can shell out your hard earned money to see a blockbuster at your local movie theatre. However, in the days before 3D glasses, HD video and surround sound - the live theatre was king. And while it's not dead, it was once the preeminent form of entertainment in Western culture. Its popularity was reflected in the vast amount of venues built to house it, many of which featured beautiful architecture. In Detroit, the ruins of one forgotten theatre echo that past.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Mighty Motor City - Part 2: St. Agnes/Marty's of Uganda

It was the second stop of the day on our latest trip to Detroit, MI. After checking out Ferris Elementary School, we made our way to St. Agnes at the request of Gozer. For her, this would be her first time seeing it, but it was a place our guide, Al Duce, and myself had seen before. Little did I know how much could change at an abandoned church in just a year and a half.

Above was the view of St. Agnes from its choir loft in August of 2009. Below is how she looked from the same view this past February:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Night That Covington Stood Still

COVINGTON - "He came down to the scene like a captain coming to his ship," or something like that, is what I overheard one of the news reporters behind me saying while I stood with the crowd. She was colorfully describing how local restaurateur Jeff Ruby came down to see his "Waterfront" restaurant on Friday night about 100 ft. upstream from where it normally is. The floating "Boat-Raunt," as I dubbed it, had been pushed away from its usual spot by the currents of the river, which had grown strong due to flooding this past week, something I had witnessed earlier in the day.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Mighty Motor City - Part 1: Ferris Elementary

"Hide your 'whiteness,'" was a piece of advice uttered to me just before we crept through an open field that was once filled with kids enjoying their recess from school. "What? Really?" I replied to our guide. This wasn't the time for debating Detroit race relations, the fact was that we were some out-of-towners in a high crime neighborhood where you apparently don't see too many white people. "You just want to attract as little attention to yourself as possible," I was told. Our group walked along what was once a sidewalk, now overgrown with weeds and grass, to the first stop of the day: George W. Ferris Elementary School - or at least the remains of it.