Monday, August 18, 2008

Bridge Over Troubled Water

We were downtown yesterday for lunch - sitting outside eating marginal food. It's called Shooters, but I always call it S-hooters, as it is the closest I will get to actually going to a Hooters. A few years back, we took Morty, George and Jon there. I think this is the first time I've been back since. So, I wait three years for a return, if that tells you anything.

The establishment is on what is called the West Bank of the Flats. Years ago, both the East and West banks were thriving, now - not so much.

As you can see, the place is right at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. A very twisty-turny river that back in 1969 caught on fire, as it was so polluted. It is one of the reasons Cleveland was such the butt of so many jokes a while back.

Also a few years back at this exact same spot where I was sitting, a cigarette boat crashed into the side, exploding and burning many folks. Killing a few too. No shock to find that boat drive was drunker than drunk. And Canadian. He tried to fight extradition and payment of reparations to the victims or their families.

You can also see that the bridge comes down to let trains cross the river and make their way across country. A minimum of 49 trains a day do this. Don't ask me how I know, I just do. It also means boats wanting to get to or from Lake Erie sit and wait....and wait.....and wait.

I think the bridge was down for about an hour while about six trains went east or west. Sometimes crossing the span at the same time. Yes, there are two sets of tracks.

You can see a number of vessels moving after the bridge finally went up - which was for all of about 5 minutes before more trains needed to come through to ship supplies we need daily to live. Or they were just hauling nuclear waste - hard to say.

If you look to your right, there used to be tons of buildings over on the East bank. They are mostly all gone. Years ago, it was a thriving hot spot and really made Cleveland hip. Or as hip as we could ever be.

The downfall was alcohol and card hold cash. Drunk folks went and fell into the river and drown. Over zealous bouncers killed one or two patrons and actually blinded another. And one bar was actually putting GHB in their water!!! Can you imagine? "I'd like a glass of water - hold the roofie!"

I will say, while the few times I was down there during its heyday, I had fun (and was drunk drunk drunk!), in actual daylight hours, if you wanted to be down there for food before a ballgame, the entire Flats smelled of piss and stale puke. Nice for the neighbors.

Now Eminent Domain has taken effect. Most of the East bank has been razed. So, in will come some company HQs (Ernst & Young, Eaton, etc) to build on the space and then have some decent pubs & restaurants do the same. Then, hopefully, it will force the West bank to revitalize.

btw.....I'm not really thrilled with the iPhone camera. There is no way to focus that I know of and everything seems a bit out of, if you axe me.

Song by: Simon & Garfunkle

1 comment:

RJ March said...

yes, a bit out of it, but also kind of glimmery and pretty.