in the underbelly

September 22, 2012

276898_394438233955709_1146893989_n MidWay is the official temporary name for the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, spanning the east and west banks of the Cuyahoga River, but after reading a list of naming suggestions, I think “the underbelly” most perfectly describes this cavernous, linear space. Something about the term “underbelly” paired with my vision of being trapped inside Moby Dick connotes the forbidden yet accessible feeling of this unusual space.

The Kent State University ‘Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative’ won a grant to study the varied potential of the lower level. Previously, they’ve studied and proposed improvements to other under-utilized zones in the cities including streets and parking decks.

246725_944252603099_2106791125_n Yesterday was one in a series of events that offered the public an opportunity to engage with the lower bridge, which is typically closed. In Cleveland’s heyday, the lower level housed train tracks and a subway that offered direct access to restaurants and shops on the west and east banks. In the future, people have imagined everything from bike lanes to lounges to a bowling alley (or twelve, the bridge is SO long!).

The event, so aptly titled “7/11” ran from 7am to 11pm and was designed to illustrate the functionality of the bridge67173_944253940419_998216007_n any time of the day. Based on Facebook status updates, it looks as though the bridge experienced high traffic volumes during the morning commute and presumably some lunch time and happy hour traffic as people used the space as a physical link from work to play. However, when Stephen and I arrived just before 9pm, two hours before closing time, we arrived not to a booming oasis but to a very dark, unmarked ghost town.

I posted my constructive criticism about the lack of programming, people, and most importantly, lighting, on the CUDC’s event page, and hopefully future events will take into account the difficultly of sustaining interest in a space over a 16 hour period with roughly 400 RSVPS.

198776_944252438429_264833405_n There is great potential to create an attachment to the river, the lake, the surrounding developments. Simply installing speakers and playing music as people walk, run or bike across the stretch of colonnades could be transformative. Permanent establishments as well as pop-up shops, parklets and food trucks could redefine the bridge as a place to find something specific or unknown.

I look forward to future events that work towards planning and programming the bridge and of course, to some solutions that address obvious safety and way finding concerns.

Stay tuned for more reports from the underbelly 🙂

For more on the event, https://www.facebook.com/events/394438233955709/

Advertisements

I’m FALLing for CLE

September 19, 2012

Well, obviously!

B8DA6A61-A5FA-4CC0-B11B-F76C7E3579F3 While strolling around Shaker Lakes, searching for mighty white oak trees bearing edible acorns (more on this bizarre Sunday activity later) Stephen and I had an epiphany: the season is called ‘Fall’ because all the leaves / berries are falling from the trees!!! I can picture the Pioneers saying “Ya know Maw, I reckon the great Fall is acoming”. And then all the acorns just went thud.FFB4426C-C64E-4015-AA58-371CF41EFEDC

***In the interest of full disclosure, in my head all Pioneers have southern accents.  I’m certain all the voices in my head are historically accurate. ***

Anyway, it’s officially Autumn in Cleveland and September is the most perfect month. Luckily, all the great event planners of Cleveland recognize this loveliness. Unluckily, the big push to soak in all that the city has to offer before mandatory winter hibernation occurs leaves me feeling sleep deprived and study deprived. Of course, there is still time to blog. I have priorities, after all.

***If you’re looking for activities for this upcoming Fall weekend, scroll down! For a recap of this Cleveland weekend, stay put!***

IMG-20120915-01396 In addition to the very many fantastic art gallery openings (refer to a future post!) this weekend played host to the epic Ingenuity Festival, this year held at the Port of Cleveland. On Saturday evening we toured the giant warehouses and surrounding platforms overlooking Lake Erie.

IMG-20120915-01391 The space was cavernous and housed more spectacles than my eyes could behold. Some of the art was inventive, some just bizarre and some, plain ordinary. I think my impressions of the event were largely based on my initial shock and quickly onset disgust after viewing a stall for bathfitter. I understand the necessity of sponsorship, but really, bathfitter? I felt like I was on a soap opera – because I think that’s when those commercials air, during the day, when the soaps play (Maybe Calvin from the Brown’s game was right after all!).

IMG-20120915-01387 ***My sense of being underwhelmed could also stem from the fact that I hold events held in warehouses to high standards: I’ve been to majorly rad parties and likewise events in warehouses and bunkers and it might be hard for anything on this side of the Atlantic to ever be as cool as it is in Eastern Europe.***

IMG-20120915-01397 I was also very hungry – because apparently on the weekdays three square meals is perfectly adequate but come the weekends my stomach wants to be fed every two hours. Stupid body. So, when everybody was about ready to abandon the fest and flame throwers, we headed to W. 25th to meet up with friends celebrating a birthday at the new Nano Brew and also to grab grub.

IMG-20120915-01401 This of course, led us to Bogtrotters, which has got to be the strangest sandwich shop in the city (and a not very kind name for an Irishman). I’d heard  rumors swirling about this place, specifically concerning the bi-polar lady who works the counter and sometimes jumps over it to throw people out. Needless to say, I was expecting something spectacular during my first visit.

IMG-20120915-01410And I got it.

Our food, HUGE sandwiches, were free because the register wasn’t working. And the lady was even sweet about it. She was less nice to the group of drunkards who were kicked out after us. I deduced that she probably has a good eye for people’s level of sobriety and in my case, after a very long week of work and extracurricular projects and workshops all day Saturday, I looked dead tired and so she probably pitied me, the sober, tired, hungry girl!

Prior to this epic night, the weekend began IMG-20120914-01382with a trip to Whole Foods for their Foodie Friday, where 5 alcohol samples are paired with food samples for four dollars! Since I was returning to the studio to finish compiling a portfolio for a Saturday morning review as part of an architecture convention in town, I subbed out some of my wine options for extra trail mix. OMG, it was a brilliant move.

IMG-20120914-01384

****While I imagine our readers pour over these posts and wish they could time travel to live our fabulous lives, sometimes you don’t have to have a time machine to be cool like us! Go to Whole Foods on September 29th and see my friend Ariel Clayton perform while you guzzle and nosh!***

And of course, no weekend is complete without brunch! We attempted Luna but there were more people packed into the little Cedar Fairmount cafe than pastries available, and so we ventured to Larchmere, a darling street technically in Cleveland, just south of Fairhill and north of Shaker Square. Amidst Loganberry books and Big Al’s Dinner is a new establishment, Bon Vivant. In the former Bean and Vine location, the contemporary French restaurant feels rich and cozy inside while the garden in back is an oasis that must be experienced.

IMG-20120916-01414 While we had a bit of sticker shock when we saw the $15 prix fixe menu, brunch options are plentiful and the price includes a mimosa or a highly recommended bloody mary – the new chef’s own concoction. My eggs benedict was perfection and Stephen’s tofu scramble was our waitress’ favorite.

I highly recommend the spot not only for the food or ambience, but also for the wonderful service. After refilling my coffee, our waitress came back with a new cup and said “I think this tastes better!” and after waiting not very long after ordering, we were presented complimentarIMG-20120916-01416y mini-muffins as an unnecessary apology.

The best part was when our waitress told me I looked like Britney Spears “in her prime”. She referenced the ‘Lucky’ video, so Stephen pulled up some pics on his phone and when I posed like a doe-eyed sixteen year old starring longingly into the camera he said he saw the resemblance.

***Later, Nidhi said I was prettier and more talented. I’m certain she meant more talented at singing, because I really am. Not.***’

THE FUN STARTS HERE!: THIS WEEKEND!!!

FRIDAY: Join the Brooklyn CDC and area architecture firms in the first official Parking Day. From 11am-1pm in the Prospect Triangle, we’ll be laying down astroturf to create mini-parklets out of asphalt parking spots. studioTECHNE will be screening PeeWee Herman’s Big Adventure with bikes on loan from Joy Machine Bike Shop in Ohio City.

Later, meet halfway at the new Midway, the temporary name for the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, open to the public just for the day to explore the potential of this great cavernous space. 7-11 event time is just that, from 7am to 11pm!

SATURDAY:  Celebrate the 8th International Public Markets Conference in Cleveland – which coincides with the 100th anniversary of the West Side Market – without needing a ticket at the Centennial Market, across the street from the WestSide Market from 10:00 – 5:00. With almost 40 handmade vendors and lots of other neighborhood fun happening all weekend long, it’s the perfect outing for everyone!

Later, check out the Latin dance party at SB Eight One in Westlake. Son Gitano, Stephen’s band is a headliner, along with DJ Nacho Mirando.

What: Live Salsa Band Party
Where: SB Eighty One, 24481 Detroit Rd, Westlake, OH 44145
When: 8pm for salsa and bachata lesson, 9pm starts the party
How: Dress up or casual nice and take I-90 to the Clague Rd exit
Why: No work the next day so let’s party!

SUNDAY: Sleep / Study / BLOG 🙂

IMG-20120915-01413 Above: WestSide Market in cardboard, at the 2012 Cleveland Ingenuity Fest.

Social Balloon

July 24, 2012

3-mr-7web Lately, I have felt like my CleSocial life is ballooning to enormous dimensions.

Weekly, I forge new friendships and existing relationships in the 216 strengthen. I relate this phenomena to the Midwestern friendliness I feel all around me, but its honestly not a position I thought I’d find myself in only 1.5 years after uprooting from the East Coast and moving to this city where I didn’t know a soul!

3-cf-6-web I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful, giving, hilarious, intelligent and creative people. So much so, I WANT TO STICK THEM ALL IN A GIANT BALLOON, a balloon that folds up and neatly tucks away into the back of an old milk truck, where I could take my friends with me, wherever life leads me next!

Lucky for me – unlucky for friends who may be claustrophobic -  such a balloon IS COMING TO CLEVELAND THIS WEEK!

from CUDC’s Facebook page where you can RSVP to the event:

You’re invited to have lunch in the SPACEBUSTER!
The SPACEBUSTER, a delivery truck carrying a 40′ long inflatable room, will be stopping in Cleveland this week en route to Flint, Michighan from Brooklyn, New York.

SPACEBUSTER will park in a vacant lot adjacent to the Agora Theater on Euclid Avenue and deploy a pop-up social space in the burgeoning Midtown District. The SPACEBUSTER will open to the public from 11am – 2pm on Thursday, July 26th.

Grab lunch from Umami Moto Food Truck or The Hipp restaurant next door and bring it inside the SPACEBUSTER, learn more about plans for the Euclid Corridor and share your thoughts for the area. Representatives from MidTown Cleveland will be on hand to gather your feedback.

The SPACEBUSTER’s current road trip is part of the Flint Public Art Project (http://www.flintpublicartproject.com/) organized by Producer & Artistic Director Stephen Zacks in partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts and funded by the NEA’s Art Place grant. Invited by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2009, the SPACEBUSTER was initially developed and designed to explore the qualities and possibilities of public space in New York City. SPACEBUSTER interacts with the architectural and the social space and its conditions. It opens urban space for temporary collective uses.

More info and images of the SPACEBUSTER: http://www.raumlabor.net/?p=1799

SEE YOU THERE FRIENDS 🙂

3-mr-1web

http://alithearchitect.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/spacebusting/