Friday, November 28, 2008

North High/Clintonville Revisit

Keeping with the recent 'missing link' theme, I drove through Clintonville on N. High Street to see what I may have missed when I covered the area earlier this year. All pis taken the night of Friday, 11/21.

A FEW MORE MISSING LINKS FROM OTHER AREAS: The "sun" and "open" signs are in the Maple Canyon/Rt.161 area on the north end. The "cards" is from the Beer/Wine store on S. 3rd Street in German Village. Taken 11/21 and the "cards" photo taken 11/24 :

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


While most modern outlets do not, some McDonald's embrace their neon past. The 17th avenue location has speedy. The Morse Rd. location has their frontage signage all in neon. And this location on S. High Street near I-270 on the far south side has a little interior neon:

Also, I wanted to see if the Jesus Saves sign at Faith Mission on E. Long St. is lit at night. Surprise! I had been by that building before many times and never seen it lit, except in old pictures.

All pics taken Mon. 11/17. Yes, it was cold and it did snow last night. Good day for foggy neon images!

Monday, November 17, 2008

More missing links

Some 'missing' signage, in various areas of the city.

Missing links taken 11/14:

Taken 11/15:

All these are in the downtown area. I love the Faith Mission sign! Hope it is lit at night some time, but have never seen it lit before!

At least one side works now. None worked last time I covered the area.
Has this sign gone dark? It is the "restaurant" featured in my last missing link post. Please say they still light this?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fairgrounds /East of Campus area

I thought I would start year two off with a small short post covering the large but neon-starved area near I-71 and E.17th Avenue. Sadly, I did not make it to the Ohio State Fair this past August, because that would have been a perfect opportunity for a whole genre of neon I have not even come close to covering: amusement neon. Carnival season is pretty much over here in Ohio with November brining typical late fall weather: dark, cool, and rainy. So I will have to probably wait til next spring to cover that. So the fairgrounds sit empty. But there is a little neon in the area, and I shot up N. 4th Street (another one of my old stomping grounds) to about Hudson then back down Summit. Not much neon at all, surprisingly, being so close to the neon of the campus and Clintonville areas. I also wanted to catch Speedy. Speedy was a feature of most McDonald's restaurants back in their early days. He was their mascot so to speak, before Ronald was even a sketch on a piece of paper. Speedy is seldom seem now, though he made a small comeback a decade ago when they started building those "retro" style restaurants. But he is still a relic of the past. This location, right off the I-71 exit to E.17th Avenue, is fairly new, and not retro at all for the time, with the typical red roof seen with McDonald's in that decade. This has to be one of the busiest locations in the area, off a major interstate, close to the central city, and across from the fairgrounds, which has a lot more than just the annual state fair. In any case, I snapped these stills of Speedy. Next time I am in the area, I will have my digital tape with me. I swear, I have seen at least four or five good animated installations but did not have any tape with me. That Buca sign in the Arena District? Bet your butt I will be back there! These pics were taken the cool, rainy, evening of 11/12.

While I was here I got a sandwich and shake and the lovely and beautiful Shaunica asked me to come back soon. Which I will!

Entrance to the Ohio State Fairgrounds and Expo Center, across from the McD's.

Glen Echo Service. I actually covered this area back in September when I did the Indianola/Clintonville tour. Their main sign, which is on the front exterior of the building, was in a state of disrepair, glowing very dimly. Two months later, the same :( I really hope they are able to fix their sign and restore it's glory. It is a beautiful sign. This picture was of the windowfront signs which hang just inside their front windows.

Jack's, just south of Hudson St. on Summit. It's Miller Time! I am trying to think..this is either the second or third business named after a Jack that I have covered.

A few folks have asked me about the 'end' of the blog. If I have covered every geographic neighborhood, isn't that the end of it? Nope, not by a longshot! Establishment specific sets, special retakes, projects, playing with the camera, new installations, additions, deletions, memorials to those who have gone dark, and will sadly, go dark. Road trips. I haven't covered all the suburbs and have yet to get to the exurbs. Delaware and Newark have neon, I am certain. So this blog should last a good long while.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We are 1 today! The Arena District, finally!

It was one year ago today, I had a silly idea. See neon signs. Take pictures of them. Post to a blog. Boy that sounds silly huh? Growing up in larger eastern cities, I acquired some, let's just say, unusual interests as a kid. Unlike most kids my age, I loved living in the city. I loved the traffic, the street scenery, the people all around, going here and there, speaking various tongues on the T trains. Sure I liked playing baseball outside or riding my bike. But living so close to it, I considered the ocean and beach my 'outside'. I never felt the need for a large backyard as a child. As a teen when I moved away from the ocean, I still was fascinated with the city and urban life, including it's lights. As a kid I remember wanting to be older so I could go inside the cool (to me) bars, restaurants, shops, etc which were aglow with blue, red, and orange neon signs. Today, I still love city life, and I live right in the heart of the city, very close to some of those 'cool' establishments which hang their neon signs. As a sign of being a real adult, not the one of my childish fantasies, I had to sell a few neon signs I had collected to pay the bills. I hope to restart my collection one day. For now, my camera, my feet, and my car help me share my quirky interest with the world (of which I have many, but let's just keep this to neon for now!!!)

To celebrate the fact that I have been doing this for one whole year, I thought I would take the time to cover one of the areas I had been wanting to get to probably more than any since I started this blog. I have already covered the downtown area for the most part. German Village and Brewery District..done, except for establishment specific entries when I go inside those places. Campus and Clintonville, pretty much covered (though I still need to cover the Gateway/south campus). So what are the two areas of Columbus richest in neon? The Short North and the Arena District of course. They are pretty much next-door neighbors, with the arena technically located in the northwest corner of downtown Columbus. The Short North is located just north of downtown, mostly along N. High St and is the intermediary between downtown and the OSU campus area. Nationwide Blvd. pretty much is the dividing line between what is considered 'downtown' or central business area, and it also is the main drag of the arena district once west of N. High, to about Neil Avenue. I decided to focus on the Arena District, since there was no hockey game and being a Tuesday, not as many people out and about here. Tucked between Park Street and High Street is the North Market , which could be considered part of either area. Enjoy! All pics taken the evening of Tuesday, 11/11.

This large neon sign, with digital message board, tells you where you are!

This clock is part of the large sign and message board across from the actual arena.

This cool neon is located inside a building across from the arena. I did not want to appear suspicious, so it was hard to get a good view of this neon pointing the way to the elevators.

Various businesses across from the arena along Nationwide Blvd. Hope these restaurants do well after a game!

Wanna see a movie? What was commonplace decades ago is a rarity today: the downtown movie theater. This opened a few years ago, and along with the arena, a music pavilion, the restaurants and bars, and ballpark being constructed across Neil Avenue, this is a complete entertainment district. One really feels like you are in a big city here after a game, or a Saturday night out.

Most sports franchises have their practice facilities off premises, for various reasons. The Blue Jackets have theirs in the same building as the arena. It is called the Ice Haus and has had a few different sponsors since the teams inception in 2000, but has been sponsored by the Columbus Dispatch for the last few years.

The Frog Bear and Wild Boar bar is a very popular hangout after a Jackets game. Often after a home game, the radio announcers go down here and field questions from the patrons or via phone and e-mail, and is usually broadcast immediately after the game as part of the post-game show. I grew up a Boston Bruins fan, and while nothing beats the old Gahden (which has since been torn down and replaced by a new arena), Nationwide is a great place to watch a game. The Jackets have been doing pretty well since starting their rookie goalie Mason. Maybe this will finally be the year they make the playoffs? Let's hope! I love OSU and the Buckeyes, but a city this size SHOULD be able to support a major league sports franchise. Lets hope the Crew and Jackets stay here for a long time to come!

Though a chain, I love this Italian restaurant! I have eaten at Bucca di Beppo a few times. It is served family style, which in Italian means "eat a lot"! Actually what it means is that instead of each individual person selecting an entrée from the menu, the 'family' picks usually one or two courses to be shared by all, as if it were made at home. Kinda pricey, but very good food, and lots of leftovers! Also, Beppo is down with the gas! All restaurants feature wicked cool, old world style neon signage, including this animated masterpiece which could be right out of Times Square! If you look back to my Worthington post from last March, you see they won the rights to install neon on their High Street/I-270 location, in a city which frowns upon neon. Yay Beppo, grazie!

Buca is roughly translated as 'basement' or 'cellar'. This location's dining area is actually below street level, so you walk downstairs to get in! Wicked cool! The newer suburban ones are not like this.

Another restaurant which shares the wide expanse of now densely populated land on which the arena sits. I would call this Nationwide Plaza, if not for the fact that the actual Nationwide Plaza is along High St., where the insurance giant's cluster of skyscrapers is located, a few blocks from the arena.

In the 'back' of the district, along Neil Avenue, immediately next to the new ballpark (which will truly expand the district as far as business density and acreage) is the Lifestyles Community Pavilion. With the demise of Polaris Amphitheater, many acts play here, with the biggest and highest price ones playing at Nationwide itself, or Value City Arena on campus. I guess there is a White Castle inside, which advertises being open 24 hours, but appeared very closed this particular evening.

Behind the arena, in the northern edge of the district where the Arena District starts to blend in with the Short North and Victorian Village, is Vine Street. These bars are located in a cool area near Vine and Park Streets.

Sugar and Spice (and everything nice!)

This small strip along Park St. between Vine and Goodale Ave seems pretty hip, way too hip for someone like me to be strolling along, maybe? That or they wanna be that way. I still enjoy their neon, even if I don't wanna spend $15 on an appletini, or whatever they drink.

The North Market. One of my favorite places to shop, eat, or just hang out. And photograph their large animated neon sign! Watch for a future post sometime from inside the building. Better Earth is located inside the North Market. This sign is on a window facing Park Street. The large sign by the main entrance faces Wall Street.

This bar is on High Street, though the foggy signs are on the side of the building facing Wall St., across from the North Market.

Well, thousands of snapped photos, almost six hundred posted photo files, videos, and slide shows, and such, and one year later, Columbus Neon is doing well. Hope year two is just as good. Look for better photos and more videos as we start our second year!