CAR-FREE Care-free- Pt IV Downtown CLE

Submitted by lmcshane on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 17:13.

I was going to ride my bike and take my camera – but the rain looked imminent so I skipped both.  Instead, I was dropped off downtown amidst the hustle-and-bustle of the lunch time crowd at Tower City.  My destination was RTA to pick up my 5 ride tickets.

I haven’t been to Tower City in ages.  It was FUN – and there were a lot of families milling about today in anticipation of the orchestra and fireworks display scheduled for tonight (7/1). Pleasantly surprised by the energy, I changed up my whole day and decided then and there to do some sight-seeing downtown. 

I contemplated clothing, but didn’t buy – I walked to Cleveland Public Library and although it was overcast and threatening rain – Adam Harvey was there typing out Poetry4Free alongside the great Reading Nest by Mark Reigelman

(video from an earlier- and sunnier day)

I picked up some great belated birthday gifts for my mom at the Cleveland Public Library gift shop.

Do GO and see this and visit the library.  It is one of the top tourist draws for visitors to downtown.

Walking through the lovely Eastman Reading Garden, I saw a mom take a photo of her daughter in front of the Lincoln Stature on Mall A – this is well-maintained by the Jacobs Group.  Mall B and Mall C are totally transformed by the Medical Mart and Convention Center build out.  If you haven’t seen it, GO!

It’s a bit sterile for my taste and being a landscape architecture grumbler – I noticed a drainage problem by the “Medical Mart” portion of the site and some weeds already in the high maintenance beds – but it is, nonetheless, impressive.  I ran into George Cantor, a neighborhood planner with the City of Cleveland and he said that the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are to jointly manage the park space on Mall B and C.  I spoke with a union cement worker (#404) and he said that the landscaping was also union – Down to Earth-

On my way back to Tower City – I encountered a very fit and attractive African-American woman looking at a map.  I asked her if she was lost and she indicated that she was looking for the best route to downtown from Bedford via bike.  Turns out she rode from Bedford down Broadway.  I suggested the towpath next time –coming up along W. 3rd through the flats.  She picked up her map at the Bike Rack downtown, where she also had parked her bike for the day for $5.00, so I headed there for my own map.  What a great set-up!  Albert is the concierge at the Bike Rack and he showed me the accommodations.  It is a service of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and includes showers and lockers for regular riders – who can also get bike tune ups. 

I grabbed a bunch of bike related material to read and headed to Ohio City via the Redline. As I got off the Redline – I recognized a family-sized group of folks that included the lovely daughters of David Vasarhelyi- with the Trust for Public Land and also founder of the West Creek Preservation Committee (I served on board for many years and wrote grants with Bob Greytak, Terry Stahurski, Frank Dessoffy and others).  I reminded Leah that her dad can help the Metroparks develop the Denison-West 65th bike route to the Lakefront.

I ran more errands – and treated myself to lunch at the new Town Hall restaurant along West 25th – where I was thrilled to be able to people watch as people passed by – and enjoy the great magazine selection (Dwell, Organic Garden, Bicycling) available to restaurant guests on the café side of Town Hall.  The décor includes many upcycled elements including unique tables, chairs, magazine racks and lighting by local artisans, including Mike Kaplan of the Glass House and a company called Tomorrow’s Antiques.  I was thrilled to see Al Wasserman and his beautiful wife  walking outside– they know the Town Hall restaurant and the owners and stopped in for a minute on their way home. 

I was able to see my bus coming from the restaurant and, without a wait, boarded the #35 home to my grossly, underappreciated neighborhood – Brooklyn Centre.   Car-free and care-free. The rain drops fell as I walked up my front porch to my porch swing – and found my cat Lulu ready to enjoy the downpour from her dry perch.

Next time – I will bring my camera.

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