1. Dreamgirls, 6190 Cleveland Avenue. Not totally obvious from just this picture, taken while sitting at a red traffic light, this is probably the most neon covered building in the city. Not only is the building covered with neon stripping (no pun intended), but the huge digital message board advertising drink specials and the time/date is a neon mastepiece. The building and business made news not because it was a gentleman's club, but because locals did not like the neon! It is loud, but they did pay for the permits and there was a local zoning hearing which nobody attended except the owners of the club. So why complain now? Reminds me of the people who choose to live near an airport then complain about noise. NIMBY's..blah! Having worked in this area now for several years, I can tell you there are not a lot of people living within eyeshot of this building..it is all hotels, restaurants, and offices in this area. So why complain? Because..they can..people love to complain. They did tone down and redirect the parking lot lights which I guess were shining to brightly onto Cleveland Avenue and causing problems with traffic. I was last in this building about ten years ago, when it was a restaurant called "Cheddars". I paid over five dollars for a cookie there. Now one can pay five dollars to look at a breast. It has been a strip club for the last seven years or so, but the previous owners did not use neon like this. If I ever go inside, I will try to take a picture of the...neon.
2. Humidor Plus. An old fashioned tobacco and cigar store. The store has been there for decades, but not sure about the signs. It used to rotate with a huge neon 'LOTTO' sign underneath, but they changed that a few years ago. One can still play LOTTO here. 3. The entrance to The Humidor Plus. You can still play the lotto here, win some cash, and buy some expensive cigars. And have leftovers for a twelve pack!
4. Fish and Chicken restaurant, Columbus Square. Columbus square is a setup of strip malls to create one large strip mall at the corner of rt. 161 and Cleveland Avenue. The largest businesses here are the Columbus Square Bowling Palace (see photo below) and a Kroger, which was once a Cub Food. Fish and chicken restaurants have been popping up like popcorn shrimp around Columbus the last few years. 5. OK, it does have a name, "Whale Fish". That neon whale is very uber cool! They do NOT serve whale though, to the best of my knowledge.
6. The Columbus Square Bowling Palace, Columbus Square. Another combo of two of my loves, neon and bowling. I have been bowling literally since I was about two years old, though I started bowling with candlepins in Massachusetts. Small, light balls and skinny pins. When moving to Ohio I was saddened to learn that Columbus did not have candlepin as I had bowled all my life, but as a kid always wanted to bowl 'big ball' bowling. So a few weeks after moving here in the early 1990s, I tried my hand at tenpin. And that first roll of a big ball came here at the Palace. My first game was nothing to write home about (I think I had a 63) but fell in love with tenpins and decided I could be 'bibowling', and I eventually also have bowled duckpins since too. This is a very nice bowling alley. It does not have the charm that the smaller family owned centers have, which are sadly disappearing in no small part due to megacenters like the palace, but it is a very nice place to bowl. It is the largest center in Columbus with 64 lanes (the second largest is my home center where I bowl in leagues now, Main Lanes, with 56 lanes..also one of the oldest) and was built I guess around 1983. It is the only center that is open 24 hours around here, and the only place I can say I bowled in the middle of the night. The PBA had some tournaments here on national TV in the late 80s I am told, but they pulled out. The PBA does come here again now, but at Sequoia Pro Bowl a few miles from the palace (see one of my first photo shoots from November for a photo of the neon sign) and will be on national TV later this month and early March. By the way, that sign is a motion/animation sign. When I have more time, I will shoot a vid of the ball hitting the pins! Also while I think it is worth it, if on a date or during a special, this is also a very expensive bowling center, at least for open bowling. Cool game room and bar too. 7. The Blue Sky Island Bar, inside the Bowling palace. I took this from outside. Remember, I was goofing off at work..8. Waterbeds N Stuff, Columbus Square. Another one of the local chain's stores. I wanted to take another picture, but an attractive couple was outside and probably thought I wanted to take their picture.