Sunday, September 22, 2013

A new blog....

I started a new blog today called The Tourist At Home. 

I haven't yet decided if I will cross post everything to this blog, but here is the first post in its entirety:

Today's destination:
Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Mile is an urban oasis comprised of more than 145 acres of lush parkland. Stretching along the riverfront from the vibrant Arena District to the natural beauty of the Whittier Peninsula, the Scioto Mile reconnects downtown to the Scioto River through an integrated system of parks, boulevards, bikeways and pedestrian paths.
Fostering some of our City’s most celebrated features—a stunning 15,000 square-foot interactive fountain, the country’s largest free outdoor climbing wall, and the world’s most authentic replica of the Santa Maria—the Scioto Mile has something for everyone.
As is my wont, I got an early start. I like to walk early in the morning when I am nearly the only person up and about. The Scioto Mile seemed as good a place as any for the first post in this new blog, and it didn't disappoint. It reminded me to some degree of the walk I took up the Embarcadero in San Francisco earlier this summer and my morning beach walks in South Carolina in that the only other people walking are thowse walking dogs or indigent panhandlers. Everyone else is either jogging or riding a bike. Note that it is the latter higher-energy persons that are in the majority.

Being a Sunday morning, parking was both easy and free.  Because of the convenient location near the highway, it was easiest to start at the south end and walk to the north.

Downtown is an eclectic mix of the old and new, the rich and poor, and odd little pockets of in-between. I found an interesting pair of cars parked behind one of the lower-cost rentals.  It's rare enough to see a DeLorean these days - seeing them in a group is truly a unique find.
The DeLorean DMC-12 (commonly referred to simply as The DeLorean as it was the only model ever produced by the company) is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean's DeLorean Motor Company for the American market in 1981–82. Featuring gull-wing doors with a fiberglass "underbody", to which non-structural brushed stainless steel panels are affixed, the car became iconic for the appearance of a modified version as a time machine in the Back to the Future film trilogy. 
The first prototype appeared in October 1976, and production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of south west Belfast, Northern Ireland(with the first DMC-12 rolling off the production line on January 21). During its production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. Approximately 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in late 1982. 
The DMC-12 was the only model produced by the company which would go into liquidation as the US car market went through its largest slump since the 1930s. In 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed to still exist.

(Yes, I am aware of the typo in the Copyright - I'll fix it next time)

As a contrast, this prime example of inner-city vehicle was parked in the same lot.

Just shy of inclusion in the official Scioto Mile is the Cultural Arts Center. I didn't have any idea what constituted "Cultural Arts," so I looked it up.
The Cultural Arts Center is one of central Ohio's premier public Visual Arts facilities. Geared toward the novice to advanced adult (18 years and older) art enthusiast, CAC's Studios and Programs encourage you to express your ideas, enhance your creativity and explore your artistic potential. Come participate in the Cultural Arts Center's many exciting program opportunities.

I didn't find that to be particularly informative, so I dug a little deeper.
The Cultural Arts Center is housed in a renovated building that connects us to the earliest plans and places in our community's history. In 1812, the high east bank of the Scioto River was designated as the capitol of the new State of Ohio. In 1814, Columbus' first penitentiary was built on this plot of land only to be razed in the 1850's when The Ohio State Penitentiary was built at the corners of Spring and Neil Streets. 
In 1861, this building, one of the first Ohio State Arsenals, designed specifically for the storage of arms, was completed at a cost of $14,000. It continued to operate as the Ohio State Arsenal until the mid-1970s. 
In 1973, Melvin B. Dodge, then Director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, toured the Arsenal and saw its unique possibilities. At the time, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department's very popular Adult Art Center was housed in a restored firehouse on Oak Street. The community glowed with praise for the artists and professional atmosphere that had emerged serendipitously in the proximity of our local art college. The firehouse was operating above capacity, serving hundreds of adults in various art classes each year. Dodge decided to move the Art Center from the over-crowded firehouse into the capacious Arsenal. 
By 1975, at Governor James A. Rhodes’ order, the National Guard and the State of Ohio had negotiated a 99-year lease arrangement with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.
The City of Columbus raised $250,000 to secure the development of the Center, and then Mayor Tom Moody signed the 99-year lease agreement for the sum of $1.00 per year. In 1976, Schooley-Cornelius Associates were chosen as architects from a field of eleven area architectural proposals. On December 24, 1976, the United States Department of Commerce for Economic Development Administration awarded a grant of $1,371,733.00 for Phase II of the renovation, and contract for the work was awarded to the Altman-Coady Company.
I was still curious about the corner piece of the wall. I was able to find out about that, too.
This ornate eagle and shield on the outside northeast corner of our brick courtyard, once decorated the US Battleship Ohio. The ship was decommissioned in 1900 and the eagle was mounted on the Arsenal wall in 1923. As part of the renovation project, five women's service organizations made it possible for James Mason, Bronze Casting Instructor, to restore it to the beauty you see today.
I was unable to determine which "US Battleship Ohio" it was that had been adorned with the shield. From what I could find on Wiki, there was no such ship decommissioned in 1900.

Hey, I could have ridden instead of walking....

.... if I could have decoded the convoluted rules.

This is Bicentennial Park. The big building in the background is One Miranova Place, which is a building full of high-priced condominiums.

How expensive?  Well....

Suite 2230

Price: $799,000.00
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3.5


One of your very last opportunities to build your 'dream home in the sky'! This 22nd floor corner Penthouse has 3,045 sf of potential. The magnificent wrap around floor-to-ceiling glass provides spectacular panoramic views of the river & skyline! The 54' balcony has 4 sliding glass doors & a Bomonite floor. Sold as shell space, the suite has been studded out per Acock & Associates plan and has rough electrical & mechanical in place. Per the current layout, it would have 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths & very open kitchen & living areas. Your vision may be different and this is your chance to personalize the space. Includes a private, 2-car enclosed garage with an electric door opener.

The south end of The Scioto Mile is marked by a wide open area with a huge fountain (which was thankfully inert in the chill of a Fall morning) and a small stage for outdoor performances.

Had the fountains been active, it would have looked something like this:

Again, I am glad that they weren't.

Looking to the West, there is a very expensive new bridge over the Scioto River to carry Main St. from one side to the other.

The "At Home Tourist" knows that some of his tax money went towards the four-year construction of said bridge, so he was by-golly gonna walk out on it.

And he's glad he did, because it really does provide a nice point for waterfront pix of downtown.

It's an odd duck, this bridge. Just the one arch. Not sure I've ever seen that before.

Which is because.... I haven't. 'Tis but the one in the entirety of the vast US of A.  Well, as of 2010, anyway. Perhaps it started a fad.

Catering to tourists such as myself, the city thoughtfully provided these nifty binoculars.

They work!

If I'm being a little snarky about the bridge, well, forgive me. It really is pretty impressive.  Very clean looking design, really.

I wonder how many people outside of Central Ohio know that Columbus has a waterfront.

This, I suppose, is the official starting point of the mile.

Or maybe this. Or, maybe they're just reminders. In any event, there were quite a few of them.

Each of the little columnar kiosks had either a fixed or swinging bench.

Across the rode from the path is the Civic Center and The Supreme Court of Ohio.  I'm not sure what message is intended by the gavel. I suppose it isn't the contemporaneous connotation of "Shut up or I will clear his courtroom," so common in Hollywood movies. I imagine they had something more like this in mind:
A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sounding block to enhance its sounding qualities. It is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer.

Back across the street (and being completely honest here, I only crossed over to the Supreme Court side to avoid a panhandler), the river walk is punctuated with more fountains.

At the end of the mile (by which I mean "as far as a I cared to walk") I found the Columbus City Hall building. Or, more accurately, the City Auditor's building.

Right along side is a replica of the Santa Maria.
Christopher Columbus' fleet consisted of three vessels obtained in a tiny Spanish coastal port. These ships were the most complicated and significant technological creation of their day. The Santa Maria and the ships that evolved from her design, opened up the world to the Europeans.
The Pinta and Nina were caravels: boats that were longer for a given width to give them a streamlined configuration. The Pinta was three-masted with square-rigged sails; the Nina, though the smallest, had four masts and was lateen-rigged (triangular sails) which Columbus had converted to square-rigged during a stop in the Canary Islands. 
The flagship Santa Maria was a "nao" or cargo ship. It was significantly wider and clumsier than the caravels. Columbus even mentioned later in the voyage that the Santa Maria was not very well suited for exploration. 
The Santa Maria never left the "new world". She ran aground and became hopelessly stuck on Christmas Day 1492 on the island of Isla Espanola (modern-day Haiti). Columbus had the Santa Maria disassembled and used the timbers to build a fortress in what Columbus called La Navidad, the first Spanish settlement. Because of the loss of the Santa Maria, Columbus was forced to leave 39 men and supplies at La Navidad to await for his return. 
The Columbus Santa Maria is the world's most authentic, museum-quality representation of Christopher Columbus' flagship. She was built in 1991 by Scarano Boatbuilding Inc. of Albany, New York for eventual opening to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the trans-atlantic voyage in 1992.
Had I been an actual tourist, I might have parted with the $4.50 required to take a tour. As it happens, the ship was closed until noon so I didn't really have the option.

Not too far from the Santa Maria was a guy looking to catch some brunch-worthy fish.

This is W. Town St., facing east. There aren't too many brick streets left around here.

This is one of those freaky 3D sidewalk paintings.  It's just outside the Milestone 229 restaurant located in the Bicentennial Park. If I was a real tourist, we would be eating at this place today, primarily because of this item on the menu:

Three Little Pigs
pulled pork, double-smoked thick 
hickory bacon and caramelized pork belly 
on a brioche roll with slaw, pickles 
and BBQ sauce 10.95

I think the sidewalk painting looks better if you have someone stand on the bridge.

Same painting, different angle.

This is the outside view of the Milestone 229:

That's it for this entry in The Tourist At Home. Check back for more!

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