Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Tree at Tower City

Christmas Tree at Tower City

I finally got a chance to break out of the office and head to Tower City. It is the first time I have been up there since the holiday season began.

The tree looks great and all the kids hanging around really got me into a holiday mood. It is only a few days until Christmas and I have 3 gifts left on the list. Not bad for being on the road for the majority of December.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fountain in Front of Union Station (DC)

Fountain in Front of Union Station in Washington, DCYet another in my series of photos from DC. Since I took the metro to the train station most of the time, I never really noticed the exterior of the building or the fact that there is a pretty incredible fountain in front of it.

In my defense, there is a lot of traffic and the fountain is on a relatively inaccessible island. I had to dodge a few cars to get over there.

Luckily, I had a few beers and was braver than usual (or maybe just more stupid).

Union Station in Washington DC

Interior Rotunda at Union Station in Washington DC

During my adventure to Washington, DC, I was able to walk over to the Art of Can exhibit in the rotunda of Union Station in Washington DC. I have taken the train from there to NYC a ton of times, but generally, I was in a rush and really didn't notice how incredible the building is. I had also taken the metro there most of the time and didn't walk through the front door of the building.

The artistry and architecture of old trains stations always amazes me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Constitution Avenue with a view of Washington Monument

Constitution Avenue with a view of Washington Monument

The one thing I really loved about working in downtown DC is that it feels like you are perpetually walking through history. The town is littered with monuments and memorials.

There are not many places were you can read the Emancipation Proclamation and the see the Bill of Rights in one afternoon.

During my time there, we used to call the Washington Monument the Big Stick. You can see it from so many places in town, when you get lost (and you will most likely get lost and do a couple of u-turns), it is a great way to orient yourself.

U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol Building

During my DC adventure, I went to a bar on Capitol Hill called the Pour House. It is a Steeler Nation bar. I walked in and the place was a sea of black and gold jerseys. After the game, I strolled back down the hill around the capitol.

I realized I had never seen the main entrance of the building and the promenade to the building in the entire time I lived in DC.

It is a pretty impressive view.

George Washington Masonic Temple

George Washington Masonic Temple

While I was visiting Washington, DC in late October, I had a day where I was able to do some sightseeing. I was staying in Alexandria, VA and catching the metro at King Street station.

While I was standing on the elevated platform, I realized I had a great view of the masonic temple. I snapped a quick photo of it.

It is even more interesting given the recent interest in the Mason after Dan Brown released his latest book, "The Lost Symbol" this fall.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Terminal Tower through a Skylight

Terminal town through a Skylight

It has been awhile since I went to Tower City for lunch. The food court makes it easy to select from several types of food. I have walked through there more times in the 2.25 years I have worked downtown.

In all of that time, I never realized that you could see the Terminal Tower through the skylight. I did realize there was a skylight. It makes a cold winter day not feel as brutal when there is a little bit of sun.

I thought it was a pretty incredible view.

Ironically, I posted a photo of a reflection of the Terminal Tower at about the same time last year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Beauty of Autumn

This weekend, I traveled to Oglebay Park in West Virginia for their annual OglebayFest. It is a craft fair, county fair and Oktoberfest all rolled into one.

The lodge itself is nestled in hills of West Virginia near Wheeling. The drive there was beautiful, but the location itself was incredible. It was the perfect time of year to enjoy the fall colors.

This tree was one of the first to really turn and leaped out of the landscape.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Last Summer Sky in Ohio

The Last Summer Sky in Ohio

On the way to Oglebay in West Virginia, I was driving down US 77 through Ohio. The wind was really kicking up and the sky was so amazing, I snapped this photo with my cell phone.

Ironically, I thought this was the last time the trees would be green before the encroaching fall took over. When I sent this to TwitPic, I titled it the Last Summer Sky in Ohio.

Ironically, there is a construction sign in the bottom left corner - definitely a sign of summer in Ohio.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bridge from Cuyahoga

Bridge of Cuyahoga River

While I was at a concert during the Labor Day weekend, I snapped this photo of the bridge over the Cuyahoga.

It is a bridge that is no longer in use and is permanently in the up position. As a matter of fact, I took a picture of this bridge when I first started this blog.

The really odd thing about this photo is that it looks like a black and while picture, when it is really a color photo. Due to the time of day, a storm rolling in and the light behind it, the color of everything just seemed to get washed out.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Twitpic and Labor Day in Cleveland

This weekend, I spent Labor Day in Cleveland. I spent the time attending festivals and exploring the gems of the neighborhood. I provided real time updates via twitter, so I thought I would just blog about the posts from Twitter when I posted some groovy pics.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did experiencing the city.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mack and Manco Pizza on the Boardwalk

Mack and Manco Pizza on the Boardwalk

It might be the ocean air, but Mack and Manco has the best pizza! There is nothing like stopping for a saucy slice when you are cruising down the boardwalk.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Waiting for Brown's Donuts

a early morning line forms outside of Browns donuts

On of the great things about family resort towns is that there are traditions that never change. Some thing never change.

My mom and I headed to Brown's donuts on the northern end of the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ around 7am to get donuts.

When we got there at 7:05, this line had already formed waiting for Browns to open.

We talked to the people in line and basically just enjoyed the weather.

It was worth the wait! There is nothing like eating a Brown's chocolate glazed donut.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Afternoon at Ocean City Beach

Umbrellas at the Ocean City Beach in New Jersey

During my vacation, the weather was hot. As a matter of fact, it was the hottest day of the summer in Ocean City when I was there.

Some brave, or maybe crazy, people were at the beach hunkered down with their umbrellas. I thought with the parasailer, it was a pretty cool (in the vibe sense) scene.

I pulled over my bike and snapped a pic. You have to love compact digital cameras.

Life guard Boat on Ocean City Beach

Lifeguard Boat on Ocean City Beach

There is something very peaceful about the ocean in the morning. I love how everything seems to have taken on a blue cast from the morning light.

This photo is of the row boat at the life guard station. They don't have it at all the stations, but they are sprinkled down the beach at different points.

They keep the beaches in Ocean City very well groomed, so it makes the early morning adventures really enjoyable because you don't see any liter on the beach from the day before.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sunrise at Ocean City NJ Beach

Sunrise at Ocean City NJ Beach

I took this pic when I was on vacation in Ocean City, NJ. I got up early on my last day and wandered down to the beach to take some pics

This one of the lifeguard stand makes me want to go back.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kicking It Old School at Westide Market

older gentleman with basket on back at West Side market

I love going to the West Side Market in Ohio City. Besides being a great place to shop, it is a great place to people watch. This Saturday was no exception.

I didn't take my camera because I had headed out early to bet the crowd. If you want to get the best stuff and do serious shopping, the earlier the better.

I was so glad my cell phone had a camera because I would have hated to miss this guy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cheese Glorious Cheese

Fried Swiss Cheese sign from Festival Vendor

It is summertime, and in Cleveland that means festivals. Local church festivals, beer festivals, food festivals and cultural festivals.

This weekend I was at the Irish Festival. Instead of getting some good Irish fare, I decided to have a corn dog. While I was standing in line, I noticed this sign. It immediately reminded me of Tom. His love of cheese is absolutely unparalleled.

As a matter of fact, he had been extolling the virtues of the cheese on a stick he had at a church festival the previous week.

Oh Glory Day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nader Rides Edisons' Bike

Nader Rides Bike outside of Edisons' Pub

Some of your might recall an image of someone else riding the bike outside of Edisons' pub.

Apparently, when the folks from Optiem go to 806 in Tremont for happy hour, this activity is a quick follow on. It is like a tradition has started!

O'Neill's Pub In Dublin

Exterior of O'Neill's Pub in Dublin

Of course we managed to eat lunch in a place that is a pub. You need a good Guinness with your lunch when you are on vacation in Ireland.

This pub is directly across from the Tourist Office. However, the most incredible thing about this pub is that it is HUGE inside. It is a bit deceiving from the outside. It has 5 or 6 rooms, an upstairs and two carvery rooms inside.

Oh, and the Guinness Beef stew was Yummy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St. Canice Cathedral in Killkenny

St. Canice Cathedral in Killkenny

There are great churches and cathedrals all over Ireland. St. Canice in Killkenny is especially interesting because you can climb the external spiral tower. It provides an incredible view of the city and lets you imagine that you are on the lookout for invading tribes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Charles Stewart Parnell

Statue of Charles Stewart Parnell at bottom of Parnell Square

At the top of O'Connell Street, there is a statue in the middle of the intersection. It is a statue of Charles Stewart Parnell . The square directly behind it is named after him.

Having a Pint In Dublin

two friends, one in a wheel chair, having a pint

In Dublin, there is a bar called the Knightsbridge. It is right on the River Liffey. You can sit in the front and look out of the window at the traffic going by on the quays. It is a great spot to have a pint of Guinness.

After a long day of touring the city, my friends and I stopped in there. While we were there, I noticed these two friends sitting there enjoying the view out the window.

I was torn about converting the photo to black and white because there were some lovely, warm brown tones in the other one. However, I think the black and white photo shows the light flooding through the window in a better way.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

250 Years of Guinness

Display commemorating Guinness' 250th anniversary

This year, Guinness is celebrating their 250th anniversary. To commemorate the event, they have a special display at the Guinness Factory. It is amazing to think that in 1759, Arthur Guinness opened a brewery that has remained opened for 250 years. Ultimately, it was his decision to only brew the now famous porter that was the real difference maker . . . and most likely people drink approximately 5 million pints of the stuff every day.

Guinness Log Book

Old Log Book at the Guinness Factory

While on the tour at the Guinness Factory, there is a room where they display all of the master brewers from Guinness through the years. This log book is on display as an example of the detailed notation of the brewery operations that were done.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dublin - Trinity College Gate

Trinity College Gate in Central Dublin

This photo is of the main gate of Trinity College. According to Wikipedia, Trinity is one of the seven ancient universities in the English speaking world and the only one outside the present United Kingdom.

It is a gorgeous campus and boasts alumni such as Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett. Pretty impressive and incredible to think as a student, you are sitting in some of the same classrooms.

Cup of Tea

Cup of tea with knife, fork and spoon

By trade, I am a coffee drinker. However, I do have to say there is somethign about the tea in Ireland. I drink it every day and virtually don't have any coffee. (I substitute Guinness for my black beverage.) At any rate, I shot this on the second morning when I sat down in the breakfast room of my hotel.

Although there is something very simple about this photo, I always flip back to it. I think I like the symmetry of the silver ware or something. It also make me long for yummy Irish sausages.

Dancing at Gogarty's Pub

two people dancing at Gogarty's Pub in Dublin

While we were listening to some rollicking good reels at Oliver St. John Gogarty in Temple Bar, this gentleman started dancing. I guess he couldn't contain himself. In short order, the woman in the picture was up and dancing with him as well.

When I looked at this photo when I first got home, it reminded me of the couple dancing at the Fais Do Do stage at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. I guess it doesn't matter where in the world you are, when you have good music there is always a chance someone will be dancing.

Friday, June 26, 2009

250 Years of Guinness

250 Year Anniversary Commerative at Guinness factory

It was very exciting to be able to go to Ireland and visit the Guinness Factory during the 250th Anniversary yaer. I have posted tons of pics and stories about Guinness over the past few years. So you can imagine my excitement.

The actually day the Arthur Guinness signed the brewery contract (for a whopping 9000 years) was on Sept. 24th. Guinness is having a big bash called Arthur's Day to commemerate the event.


Traditional Music in Gogarty's Pub

Traditional Music Players in Dublin

One of the benefits of Dublin as a big city is there is a lot of music. You can find music in plenty of pubs every day.

These musicians were playing in Oliver St. John Gogarty in Temple Bar. Although they do play traditional songs, the actually music isn't really considered a 'traditional session' because the musicians are using microphones.

In a traditional session, the gathering is relatively informal and the group of musicians is not set. Tradition or not, the music is great.

Iran Protesters In Dublin

Protesters on O'Connell Street in Dublin

One of the things that I love about being in a foreign country is that you get to watch their news broadcasts. You start to see world events through their cultural lens.

While I was in Dublin, the British government forced two Iranian diplomats out of England. There was a lot of press coverage of the dispute over and recent uprising after the election.

While I was walking down O'Connell Street, a main thoroughfare in Dublin, I noticed this protesters. It had never occurred to me that people in Ireland would be protesting the election in Iran.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pouring the Perfect Pint at the Guinness Factory

While I was in Dublin, I did the Guinness Factory tour. At the very end, you can go to Gravity Bar and get a freshly poured pint of the good stuff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grave at St. Canice in Killkenny

Grave Cross at St. Canice in Killkenny

In general, I will talk a lot about the great pubs in Ireland and how much I love Guinness, but I actually do manage to see historic things as well.

I took this photo in the church yard at St. Canice Cathedral in Killkenny. It was one of the few grave markers that had not been worn down.

Guinness from the Factory

Guinness Pints at the Gravity Bar

At the top of the Guinness Factory tour is a place called the Gravity Bar. It is where you can go and collect your pint that is included in this part of the trip.

There is always a lot of activity up there. You can actually see the whole city because all the walls are glass.

Even better are the yummy pints that are being poured as well. Slainte!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Byron on the Go in Dublin

Couple in Dublin - Man with Byron book in back pocker

One of the things that I love about Ireland is that it is a country of people who read. It is not unusual to spy someone in a pub who is reading a book of poetry.

Ireland is definitely a nation of great writers. One day as I was walking toward Jarvis Center, I noticed the young boy in front of me had a Byron paperback stuffed in his back pocket.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Typical Irish Pub

There is a long standing debate with my brother about why Guinness tastes so much better in Ireland. We have surmised that it is the grain, the water, the Irish just being downright greedy and keeping the best stuff for themselves.

We have also heard that Guinness doesn't travel well. It needs to be fresh to taste its best. In Ireland, people drink the crap out of Guinness. I think this photo demonstrates that pretty well.

The average pub will go through about a barrel a day - that is what most publicans will tell you. Just counting the days until I land on the Emerald Isle to enjoy a pint.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stone Mad Celtic Iron Gate

Celtic iron gate at Stone Mad

Stone Mad is an Irish pub that opened in Cleveland's Edgewater area. The level of detail inside the pub is amazing. It is a proper pub (translation: no tv). You go there for conversation and a good Guinness. I always find both.

However, the extravagance that abounds does not end inside, the outside is amazing. Just check out the detail on this gate outside of pub. It is very rare that such great craftsmanship and care are given to anything these days.

Definitely worth checking out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Old Stone Church

Old Stone Church from park in Public Square

As I was walking through Public Square, I snapped a picture of the Old Stone Church from the far side of the park. Although I had posted a similar photo of the Old Stone Church in the fall, the perspective of this one shows how the church is nestled into the tall buildings that surround it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jackson Square in New Orleans

Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans

One of the most notable and recognizable places in New Orleans is Jackson Square. Around the perimeter of the park, artists hang their paintings during the day.

Even better are the fortune tellers who congregate a night. Sitting in front of St. Louis Cathedral, the fortune tellers are lined up in a row with the flickering candles illuminating their tarot cards and casting shadows against their faces.

On every trip I have ever taken to New Orleans, I always make it a point to go to Cafe Du Monde to get coffee and a beignet, then eat it at on one of the benches around Jackson Square.

Aside from my normal rituals, it is also some great people watching.

Washboard Chaz at DBA

Washboard Chaz at DBA

I have been posting a lot of pictures from ChazFest over the past few weeks.Noticablly absent has been Chaz himself. The festival was named after Washboard Chaz.

In New Orleans, Chaz is a local music icon. He plays at Jazz Fest and sits in with a few other bands. During this trip, I managed to catch him with the Tin Men.

The show was super fun. People had their shoes off and were dancing up a storm. That's what you get when a washboard, sousaphone and guitar player get together I guess.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Patty Griffin at JazzFest

Patty Griffin playing on the Fais Do Do stage at JazzFest

One of my favorite musicians is Patty Griffin. It was an incredible treat to see her at Jazz Fest. She did an amazing set and added some Acadian songs as well.

Since she was playing at the Fais Do Do stage, we were able to get really close to the stage. Her set was incredible. The combination of her voice, lyrics and overall passion is astounding.

The best part of is when she sang "Heavenly Day" because it couldn't have been more true. Sun shining, no clouds, great music and all my siblings (and their spouses) with me. Amazing!

Napping in the Blues Tent at Jazz Fest

Woman Napping in the Blues Tent at Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest is an amazing event. There is a ton of music to hear, a lot of food to eat and more things to see that you can every hope to get around to. With the sun, the dancing and the cocktails, it can take its toll on you.

In the Gospel and Blues tents, you often see people taking a quick refresher nap. This women, with her requisite Jazz Fest straw hat, looked exhausted when she sat down. It wasn't much later that I noticed she was napping and snapped this photo.

Dancing at the Fais Do Do Stage

Dancing at the Fais Do Do Stage

One of the great things about Jazz Fest in New Orleans is that the people are great. Yes, the music is great, however, I think the crowd of people makes it that much more enjoyable. With more than 400,000 people over a period of 7 days, you would think people would get into the occasional squabble.

I have never seen it happen - or even come close. Everyone is enjoying the music and just having a good time.

The Fais Do Do stage is a great example. Everyone is dancing and having enjoying the music. Mostly, they are dancing with friends, but a fair amount are dancing with total strangers - like the couple in the photo. He just walked up and asked her to dance, and away they went.

As you can see from the photo, they are both having a great time. Gotta love Fest!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Luke Allen takes stage at ChazFest

Luke Allen on the stage at ChazFest

Luke Allen from the Happy Talk Band played on the Bayou Juke Joint stage at ChazFest. I like this picture because it shows this tiny little stage with people gathered around. The performance area was near a grove of trees and forced people to huddle around and listen.

Being under the trees that were casting a lovely shade and listening to Luke was an incredible experience. He isn't just a singer, but a story teller. He definitely has a style that jives with the whole laid back ChazFest scene.

Aqua Fresca and Vodka at ChazFest

At ChazFest, there are a lot of interesting vendors. You have your normal southern fare, but there are things that are a bit different and worth a try. At this drink booth - that I was told had the most amazing crawfish bread in the world - they served some great drinks. The watermelon juice with vodka was a rare combination.

I liked this photo because I think it shows the nature of the festival. You can see the garden planter in the foreground. Since this stand is in the someone's back yard, the booth get integrated with the yard.

The great thing is that everyone at the festival is so laid back, no one bothers it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Napoleon House in the French Quarter

Napoleon House in the French Quarter

Napoleon House in the French Quarter is one of my favorite places. Its gets that name form a popular local tale that it was built to be a residence for Napoleon Bonaparte after his exile and part of a plot to bring Napoleon to Louisiana. However, Napoleon was killed before the plot was hatched.

The interior looks like it hasn't been touched since the days of Napoleon. The atmosphere is great. It is a place were the bar tender's fathers work ... a long tradition. There is nothing like settling up to the bar or sitting in the courtyard and having a Pimm's Cup.

It is just another one of those things in New Orleans that has so much character.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Biking to Bars on Bourbon

Johnny White's Bar on Bourbon Street with bike out front

While I was in New Orleans for Jazz Festival and ChazFest last week, I spent some time in the French Quarter during the morning taking photo. Yes, this photo was taken in the morning. There are bars that have never closed in that city since there is no 'official' last call.

One of the things that I realized during this trip is how many people were on bike. For most artist or locals, they find that they only need a bike to get around. Finding a parking spot in the quarter is a like an act of magic, so it is not a bad idea to just be able to lock your bike up.

Local probably spend more money on their locks (as my Brother Bill pointed out) than on the bikes. Hey man, you need to keep your ride safe. Even the pigeons in this photo look like they might take off with the bike if it wasn't locked.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Herringbone Orchestra kicks off ChazFest

The Herringbone Orchestra kicks off ChazFest

The first band to kick off Chaz Festival was The Herringbone Orchestra. The group was an eclectic group of musicians with a very unique sound. Sitting in the verdant stage area made their smooth grooves a great way to start ChazFest.

The lead singer has a petite and skillful voice that really matched the throwback 1920s vibe of the band.

Personally, how could you not love a band that has a barefooted harp player?

ChazFest Sign Post

Sign post at ChazFest in New Orleans

This sign post reminds me of the Hopper Farm sign that I shot last summer. I think it really shows the very folk art nature of the ChazFest.

I think it was really cool how many local food and drink booths that were at the festival. The sign really shows all of the variety that was there.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Manicures at ChazFest

Little Girls wait in line for manicures at ChazFest

As I mentioned in my other post about ChazFest, it really is a local festival. All the neighbors in the Bywater area participate with making food and in this case, opening a manicure booth. Actually, she spelled it manaqueres. Maybe that was the Cajun version of the word?

I loved how she was super patient and all the little girls were waiting patiently for the $1 manicures.

Hard Liquor Stand at ChazFest

Hard Liquor Stand at ChazFest

At ChazFest, there is more than local music, there is local flavor. In this case, the local flavor is the "Hard Liquor" stand - one of the mottos of ChazFest.

I really loved the folk art aspect of all of the food and beverage stands. It is not that is seemed authentic. It just was authentic.

French Quarter Door

Shabby French Quarter Door

One of the great things about the French Quarter in New Orleans is that the shabby is not thrown away. It is simply left to enjoy and show its age.

As I was walking down the street, I noticed this door and thought it really encompassed that thinking. I also love that it is 1/2 in the number - like they had to squeeze it on the block between two existing houses.