Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Neighborhood Walk - Downtown Erie (Throwing up the W!)

The Neighborhood Walk is a chance to recognize the place you live, work, or call home -- and to introduce it to the world.

On November 11, 2008 (11/11/2008), bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, photobloggers and others are invited to take a walk around their neighborhood, make media about it -- a blog post, photo gallery, video, or whatever you prefer -- and post it on the web.

Take a walk around your block and photograph what you see. Sit outside and write about the people who pass and the world around you. Turn on your video camera and give a guided tour of your neighborhood.

I originally set out to shoot my photo walk last Friday when it was 75 degrees in Erie. True to form I overslept. Monday when I when out to take some shots it was 30 degrees and 6 inches of snow had fallen overnight.

I decided to keep my chilly walk to my immediate neighborhood which is on Erie's Lower West Side, about four blocks from what I consider centre city (Perry Square). The walk was pretty educational for me. I've lived here almost five years, but to be honest I really know nothing about my surroundings. I grew up on Erie's East Side and I know that area like the back of my hand. You want to know about Lakeview Tavern, Trawka's Market, or Pio's? I'll talk your ear off. That will always be my home but it's time to discover where I live.

This is the view from the corner of 7th & Walnut Street. It's the law firm of Melaragno & Placidi, but until I need to divorce my non-existent wife, this is just a really nice looking building to me.

Next to them is the ad agency Fishtank Creative. I've dealt with them professionally before and they seem like a top notch organization. Maybe I should run my resume over. How great would it be to have an 80 yard commute?

Around the corner is the Firefighter Historial Museum. From GoErie: "The museum is housed in the old #4 Erie Firehouse built in 1903. Its two floors contain more than 1,300 items of fire department memorabilia. Displays include antique fire apparatus, badges, ribbons, fire alarm systems, helmets, uniforms, masks and antique fire extinguishers, plus an 1823 hand tub, an 1830 hand-pulled pumper, an 1890 horse-drawn fire engine, a 1920 LaFrance pumper, a 1927 LaFrance fire truck and other apparatus. Turn in a fire alarm, hear the bells ring and see the alarm come in." I haven't been there since I was a wee lad. I'm thinking this is a potential niece & nephew field trip in the near future.

On the corner of 6th & Walnut is the Erie Community Foundation. They spent the entire summer remodeling this building and it looks great. "ECF traces its history back to 1935 when Elisha H. Mack, co-founder of the Boston Store, created a charitable endowment fund. After the tax reform act of 1969, Mr. Mack's fund was transformed into a public charity, The Erie Community Foundation, a process finalized in 1971."

Across the street is another law firm. This stretch of West 6th street is home to a lot of law offices I'm assuming because of its proximity to the Federal and County Courthouses.

West 6th street is known as Millionaire's Row for it's collection of 19th Century Victorian mansions. A lot of the former mansions that are not law offices have become apartments and student housing for Gannon University students.

The Watson-Curtze Mansion (build in the 1890's) is now home to the Erie County Historical Society and Erie Planetarium. These cats lived large 115 years ago: "The mansion has 24 rooms, 17 closets, 5 bathrooms and 12 fireplaces. Most of the rooms are very different in design and style. Upon close inspection many unusual building materials and features can be found. There are mosaics, friezes (hand-painted oil paintings on canvas that are attached to the upper portion of a wall) and stained glass windows.

I have no idea what this place is but in my mind it's a really intense chop shop/diamond heist hideout. In reality they probably just make a lot of macaroni necklaces and watch embarrassing amounts of A&E.

Leprechaun Beer. An old college favorite. Watch out for the guard dog. That guy does not mess around. This is probably where my Molson fixation began.

The area does not lack bars...or cake design places. Can't say I've been in either establishment, but that empty store front between them used to be a comic book store back in the day (around New Mutants Issue #56 I'd wager).

Papa Joe's Pepperoni Cafe is a place I'd make my second home if they stayed open later than 9pm. The original focus was more coffeehouse, but it seems they have moved more into the pizza realm (which isn't a bad thing...I'm told they feature the old Pizza Etc. recipe which rocks the house). Still you can grab a cup there and occasionally they have live music.

The Shaggy Dog. Home of my first American bar beer when I was 19. The majority of my best college bar stories come from here. I don't venture in much anymore, but it's a must-stop when college friends come back into town.

One of the more creative tags around the block. They at least learned the art of the drop shadow.

Martucci's used to be a great mid-city Italian restaurant that closed a few years ago. There was still a demand for their product (mainly their sauce) so they opened up this little carryout operation.

Everyone raves about Pie in the Sky and even though I could hit it with a baseball from my lawn (don't fret...I won't actually do it) I've never been inside. After doing a little research I found out they serve breakfast and feature crepes. I'll be making the trip across the street sooner than later.

Across from PITS is the former Longfellow School. Couldn't find any information on this place other than it closed as a school in 1975. It's now home to...something?

Ye Olde Shur-Fine. The most common landmark when giving directions to my apartment. Very old school inside, but perfect for milk and bread runs in your pj's. I curse them for their early morning delivery trucks that basically park under my bedroom window but I thank them for their (sometimes) crime-deterring parking lot lights.

The First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant aka the free parking lot for former WERG DJ's.

I never noticed this gem before. It's the Boothy Inn Bed & Breakfast. I'll have to vacation in my own neighborhood some time.

Besides the temps I had a great time doing this. When the weather breaks I want to go back to the Lower East Side and do the same thing. If anyone has a hankering for pierogies and beer, feel free to join me.


Cindy said...

Terrific tour -- and I love that the event gave you reason to explore your space. Looks like a terrific place to live.

Justin Kownacki said...

It looks like a college student (or lawyer) would be right at home in your neck of the woods. It also looks f*cking cold, so you have my condolences. (Notice that yours is the only Neighborhood Walk recorded thus far which features snow?) Next time I'm crashing on your couch, we'll have to check out the crepes at Pie in the Sky, because it's hard for me to turn down fruit filling.

andrea said...

Dig the giant acorn, but not all that snow. Still looks like a great place-- I've only drove through Erie.

jonny goldstein said...


spoon said...

I miss the Shaggy Dog. surprised i never got in a fight with you there over taking my pitcher of beer.

Ryan said...

I still remember puking in the heater grate at the Shaggy Dog from too many prairie fire shots.