Friday, September 25, 2009

New Audubon Metro Park


The new Audubon Metro Park has opened just south of downtown between the river and German Village. Thanks to the generosity of Grange Insurance, whose headquarters are a few block away, the Whittier Peninsula is being transformed into a Metro Park connected to downtown by the bikepath and by car along E. Whittier Avenue just off of South High Street. (above freeway bridge runs above the park's bike path into downtown.)
This is a real wildlife park in the center of a city. The park land used to be known as the Whittier Peninsula. This was the land between the canal and the Scioto River that was given over to warehouses, a police impound lot, and wildlife for decades.
The Scioto River is very wide as it rounds the Metro Park and is a favorite of many birds from Cranes to Seagulls. A boat ramp is also part of the park.
Grange Insurance helped to fund a beautiful green building in the middle of the park, that is one of the few things in the park that is finished. The design is post-modern and provides a wide variety of surfaces and room experiences through-out.
The above art piece was once graffiti on the old Lazarus warehouse that once occupied part of the park. They don't know who the artist is. (Anybody know the artist?) Anyways, it now beautify the fireplace in the Audubon building.
Follow the old bike path into downtown and you end at the new Main Street bridge.
Along the way, you see many amazing views of downtown structures from a lesser known vantage point. Many fishermen ply the river from the park.
The above picture looks like Miami, but it is the new Miranova condo tower, the tallest residential building in Ohio, against its office building.
From the main Audubon building you can look out over a developing playground with its water tower and rock climbing arch. You can see views of the skyline and a duck and goose pond.
New look-out piers along the river trail look up the central building.
The building is worth exploring just for the many looks it has from side to side.
This room that sticks-out is designed to help with cooling and heating the building. The Audubon Metro Park has a long way to go until completion. Expect to visit every year.

Oh yes, the Audubon Society happens to be based in the Short North.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Vespas!!!!" Scoot-a-Que 12

One of the unexpected surprises of High Street are the unusual events that people bring. Last weekend was the 12th annual Scoot-A-Que by Columbus Cutters Scooter Club . Kickstart Coffeeshpop and scooter dealership in the Short North was the bar-b-que site of the multi- event Rally for Vespa and other scooter owners. There are old and new, traditional and customized, with side cars and those with lots of attitude.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Shots of Downtown

The new Main Street Bridge will soon frame the future default shot of the skyline.
The City Center Mall, when it is removed, will uncover one of the more dynamic skyline scenes.
Demolition of City Center should come just before the 20th anniversary of its opening.
The Main Street Bridge arch is one cool hunk of metal and cable.Oh no! The old LaVeque Tower just spilled a beer.
The new courthouse is under construction. Hope there is a clock tower.
From the new Audobon Metro Park a new stone arch of primitive shape provides a new future vantage point of the skyline.
The old downtown skyscrapers form a condensed block. The hotel tower on left may become the tallest LEEDS retrofit building in the country.
Cobblestones are returning to downtown. And you can drive on them. This is Town Street next to the old Lazarus Department Store (now a LEEDS "green building"). New condos and apartments are being built on these former parking lots to look like old buildings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Art Squatters downtown on N. High St.

Some of the Art Squatters along N. High St. downtown.

Via Colori 2009

The 2009 Via Colori Chalk Art festival was incorporated very well in the empty sections of the Gay St. part of the This is Independence Day Festival. Curtis Goldstein (above) was the obvious featured artist. He is not only a local artists who is getting attention for his murals in Columbus, but he was on the CBS Morning Show in July demonstrating chalk art. His Columbus Snow Globe is done in perspective from one vantage point and looks stretched from other angles.
There weren't as many artists as past shows, and many artists gave out on finishing their work in the hot sunshine. Still, there were many displays to enjoy.

The above piece was the most art museum-like. Most of the chalk artists stuck to a more cartoon or less realistic style. Below, you can see the yellow tables at the Dine Original food court.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Independence Day Art Fest:: Bigger/ not as Cool

The 2009 This is Independents' Day Art Festival was bigger and better attended than the first one last year, but not as cool. The two new Scion automobiles parked right in the middle was a dead give away. In 2008, the festival was confined to one block of Gay St. and Pearl Alley down to the next alley. This year all of Pearl Alley to Broad St. and the all of Lynn alley was packed with booths and each ended in a musical act stage. There was a large restaurant section for local original eateries. And of course, the Via Colori chalk art festival coincided with this new downtown fair after being in the Short North for several years.
The Ohio Roller Girls were keeping the place fun through-out the hot daylight hours with a "dunk the rollergirl" game. Later they competed in a shuffleboard, firld hockey game or sort with T-squares (below).

Urban Scrawl created a large colorful mural along the Rhodes Tower. The mural changed and got more complex through-out the festival.
The street fair was the most crowded section of the festival. There was much unique to look at with a nod to what downtown residents need. It was also national dress like a pirate day (see girl in red dewrag above) so many people were sporting eye patches and plastic swords.
The cavernous Lynn Alley brought a new wing to the street fair along with local eateries. I got a Peruvian-style sandwich with a cheese/sweet potato spread. Many interesting food vendors as well as a Yardless Sale section for local residents who live in downtown condos.
The above colorful doll house was rotating around.
The Idea Factory (above) had a demonstration booth of some of the things they do in the rentable workshop they run. Some welding, ironworking, glass blowing, etc. One could use their multi- colored duct tape to create something at the festival.
Two outdoor stages seemed to anchor the festival's edges. The one above was on Gay Street at Third. Yet, the one on Pearl Alley at Broad Street attracted a large crowd as well. In addition, there were bands and performances at Skylab, Due Amici, and even the new shoe shine store Shine me Up at 37 E. Gay St.
Skylab (above) had a continuous roster of musical acts jamming. This is, if you walked up the stairs to the fifth floor. They had less art on display than last year.
One floor below Skylab is The Shelf, which had Aaron Hibbs trying to beat the Guinness Book of World Record for Hula Hooping. He had to beat 90 hours. He was on webcam and on TV monitor in the gallery. He had water, fruit, a chunk of grass sod, and a tube running out of his pants leg. Go to
Many people partied with Aaron during the festival (if not the entire 4-5 days) and got into the swing of things themselves.

On act I missed was the Act-o-Matic vending machine that allowed you, for 25 cents, to get someone to act any of 8 scenes. There were also a couple of local movie producers trying to promote their locally made independent movie.
As I mentioned, things weren't as cool as last year. Missing were the local creamery and other foods. Not that many artists displayed their creations outside of via Colori and a few booths. The Vault had a private party booked and wasn't part of the festival. Due Amici was having a dance DJ party, but not local modern dance like last year. Also, the beer was limited to PBR and one microbrew. The beer booths sereved more interesting brew last year. Still no real seating to watch the bands. The festival has more birth pains to go through, but look for this to become a big downtown event in years to come.