Wednesday, May 20, 2015



Photographs made on a recent trip to Indianapolis, IN.

- The Indiana State Capitol Building.

I never thought of Indianapolis as a "flyover city," a derogatory term that even my native Cincinnati seems to suffer from. For me, it has literally been a "cruise by" city. You could see it in the distance on the way to and from Chicago. I had been there a few times: a Pacers game when I was ten, to photograph the abandoned Bush Stadium and then later the abandoned water park known as Thunder Island. Once while taking the Amtrak Cardinal train between Cincinnati and Chicago, we had an early morning layover in Cincinnati but really only had time to take in the dingy station's vending machines.

It wasn't until this past April that I had a chance to really take some time and explore Indianapolis, to walk it's streets and see it up close. My girlfriend and I decided to visit for my birthday. A new place to visit: not far away, not exotic, but still new to us.

The Hoosier State's only "major" city, it seats the state's government and the decisions made within. Our trip came during the initial fallout from Indiana's passing of "SB 101," otherwise known as the "Religious Freedom" and "Anti-Gay Bill." As the world outside Indiana reacted, mostly with criticism, it seems the people in Indianapolis weren't too happy either. Signs like the one seen in the photograph below were everywhere:


I'd assume Governor Mike Pence wasn't have the best time in Indianapolis that weekend, we on the other hand were.

- Downtown skyline as viewed from the Indiana Central Canal.

In the last decade, American city's have undergone an identity revival of sorts. Places like St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cleveland seem to have residents proudly claiming to hail from there in the way a New Yorker, Chicagoan or Los Angeleno would boast. Meanwhile, cities like Cincinnati and Portland are reviving their identity's as their urban cores revitalize. Indianapolis is humble. It's not harboring a bad reputation, just a quiet one. When it's not hosting a Super Bowl, automobile race or controversial political move, not much news seems to come out of the Circle City. It's an urban gem in a state known for cornfields.

One of the city's best assets seems to be the Indiana Central Canal. Flowing right through downtown, the canal was the first place we went after leaving the hotel. On a beautiful spring Saturday it was packed with people on both the walkways and the water.




We then made our way up into downtown. The blocks containing businesses echoed my experiences in Milwaukee: quiet on non business days.


The wide four lane roads echoed Detroit while the parking lots and parking garages echoed so many other Midwestern urban cores.



As the sky greyed over, we came across the center of the city's human activity: Monument Circle. People crowded restaurants, retail shops and bike paths all around.

- A wedding party is part of the crowd at Monument Circle.

The obelisk at the center of the brick paved streets is the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

- Soldiers and Sailors Monument undergoing refurbishment.


To our surprise we found that the monument harbors a gift shop, observation deck and even a small elevator.


An elevator that is worth every extra dollar to avoid taking the stairs up.


From inside the monument you get an appreciation for how impressive Indianapolis' skyline and surroundings really are.

- Laura in the Soldiers and Sailors Monument observation deck.





We walked a few more blocks around the city before heading back to the hotel.

- A fading ghost sign for "First Indiana" covering another ghost sign for "First Federal Savings."

That evening, we headed to dinner in the city's Broad Ripple neighborhood. Broad Ripple seems to be Cincinnati's OTR, Hyde Park, Mt. Adams and Northside neighborhoods all rolled into one. We only found a parking spot because we had a reservation at a great Mediterranean restaurant on the canal. By the time we finished dinner, the streets were packed with people enjoying the nightlife.

The next day we swung by a local coffee shop and attempted to catch a ride on "The People Mover," an elevated monorail system that connects several of the city's hospitals. Apparently, it's not open on Sunday:

- Indianapolis People Mover Station.

We finished the day by stopping at the Indianapolis Museum of Art before having lunch at the Slippery Noodle Inn in the shadow of Lucas Oil Stadium. Then we made the two hour trip back to Cincinnati.

Indianapolis isn't Chicago, New York, Detroit or even Cincinnati (EDIT: I've been getting a lot of feedback about this sentence. It's not meant to be a knock on Indianapolis or to say other cities are better. More so, I meant it as Indianapolis is unique, not trying to imitate other places, it's doing its own thing. Apologies if it came off as an insult to Indianapolis) . But that's not at all a bad thing. Indianapolis is worth discovering.

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