Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thurman Cafe and Nationwide Arena

I've been to both these places numerous times. Yesterday I hit both in a night. Started off as a trip just to get a cupcake at Bakery Gingham turned out to be a complete night out. I wasn't in the mood for a giant burger so I had the fish dinner with my Blue Moon. Yummy. Then my friend who works at Nationwide was working the Jackets game so he let me know seats were still available. Never had a bad time at a Jackets game. Only been to one losing game ever, and the two that I've been to so far this year, both thrilling wins. Last night got me a bit nervous but Mason held it together at the end to help The CBJ get a 4-3 win over St. Louis. They have struggled somewhat against lesser opponents but are having their way with the Detroits and San Joses of the league. In sixth place in the west now, they may finally be ready to make a playoff run, especially if they keep playing the way they have. So I supported the local Columbus economy by: my Mint cupcake from Bakery and beer at Thurman Cafe..took COTA up High Street to the game, and supported our CBJ. Of course, the NHL is headquartered in Toronto, but I still consider Nationwide to be local. Go Ceebus! I took these with a camera phone I just got a couple weeks ago, so they are of so-so quality. Nothing like my JVC. Anyway,all pics taken the evening of Wed. 2/18.

Not easy to take pics in here, since it is elbow to elbow crowded. We got there early, just before 5 pm, and only had to wait about 10 minutes. I have waited as much as two and a half hours on a Wednesday night before. The key is to get there early, before 5! This place has a lot of cool, divey decor like old newspaper front pages, traffic signs and signals, old license plates, tips (literally..probably a couple thousand bucks in singles taped all over the walls, ceiling, bar, tables, etc), and of course, neon signs. Many of the signs are run of the mill beer signs, which is why I don't have a ton of pics from inside, but it is definitely an atmosphere that is right up my very strange alley. Check them out:Thurman Café If you are in the mood for sweets before your giant burger, check outBakery Gingham.

Now pics of neon inside Nationwide Arena. Of course the district was covered on a tour back in November:

Monday, February 16, 2009

US 62/OH3 South/Grove City

Am I the only one here ready for spring to arrive? Didn't think so! While February, now amazingly half over, has not been nearly as harsh as January was, I think we can all use a good dose of warmth and sunshine! I was hoping to have a pretty active first half of the shortest month but a pretty miserable chest cold/bronchitis derailed those plans, so any time I was not taking care of the little one or working was basically resting. I still am recovering but feeling much better than I did about this time last week.

A month or so ago I had to run an errand in a part of town I am probably least familiar with, the southwest side. I have lived in Columbus well over a decade and can probably count on my hands how often I have traveled this stretch of road, on Harrisburg Pike, which runs concurrent with US Route 62 and Ohio State Route 3. Those same roads zigzag through various streets in Columbus itself and then wind up again on the northeast side near the I-270 Outerbelt. I have mentioned before how Columbus is somewhat different from larger cities, in that one can find urban, suburban, and almost rural areas within blocks of each other. This side of town is the epitome of this phenomenon, and since this area has been the slowest to develop in Franklin County, it is still quite pronounced. Some areas that were like this when I moved here have changed as those areas grew and developed into a more typical metropolitan pattern, with a more gradual shift from urban to suburban to exurban or rural. But this side of town retains that feeling of rural/urban blendedness. In just a couple short miles along Harrisburg Pike, one starts in a gritty urban neighborhood. The scene shifts very quickly to an almost rural setting with some barns and farmhouses still standing (the Columbus skyline still visible in the background). Then just another mile or so south, by the I-270 interchange, we are in typical midwestern suburbia, complete with a multi-lane strip of retail.

Being an older almost rural area, I was not sure what to expect in terms of neon signs. This was a well traveled road in the days before the interstate system was built and was the main drag into Columbus from southwestern Ohio. I only went as far south as Grove City, so it is possible on another day I will go farther south to see if any remnants of the old road and roadside businesses remain. In any case, one will find gems when least expected. I only covered Harrisburg Pike/Broadway stretch from Mound Street south through the southern edge of Grove City. The rest of Grove City (Stringtown Road, etc) and other parts of this road will possibly be covered on future tours. All pics were taken the evening of Sun. 2/15.

Nothing too remarkable about these signs, adorning a laundromat at Central Point shopping center, next to one of the many abandoned Big Bear stores. But the relative rarity of a neon "CLOSED" sign made it worth catching.

A pawn shop at a somewhat major intersection. I love pawn neon, and often provides some of the most intricate and cool modern neon. No, it's not quite a classic gem, but I have rarely seen pawn shop neon that was not pleasing to my eye.

What a gem! Probably dating back to when the road was used more for long distance travel from southern Ohio and other points south. The sign is as cool as the hotel signs found on W. Broad and E. Main, but sadly this sign needs a visit to the neon doctor. It is double sided and sadly, both sides were in the same state. Here is a pic I took by day when I happened to be in the area sometime last month, and filed it away in my head for future nighttime neoning:

This is a "pool store" near I-270 in Grove City. While the business specializes in pools as in swimming pools, they also sell pool tables. Interesting double use of a single word.

Talita's, a Mexican restaurant in a strip center in GC. Not sure if they are related to the Talita's that used to be on N. High in Clintonville that closed a while back. I love the older Miller Lite sign.

Simple neon along Broadway in Grove City.

Not so simple neon along Broadway in Grove City! I didn't expect to find this orgasm of neon, but then again, I am only rarely in Grove City. Jolly Pirate was once a fairly large chain of coffee and donut shops in the Columbus area, but now down to only two that I know of. One in Whitehall (with no neon as long as I have known the area) and this one in Grove City. Most are still standing as independents or as completely new businesses. Can't blame Dunkin Donuts on this one since until now Columbus only ever had a few DD locations. Blame Tim Horton's!

Deader than a doornail. I actually took this by day last month and hoped to return at night to see it lit. Sadly, the sign is deader than a doornail, as is the actual tire business fifty feet below. The sign doesn't look in too bad shape so it could possibly see rehab.