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About walker

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  1. walker added a post in a topic Yamasaki lecture Oct 8 at the Ryerson Library   

    If anyone’s interested, the Free Press yesterday published the preface of John Gallagher’s new book where he explains how he came to write the book about Minoru Yamasaki and why he thinks Yamasaki is important.  Here’s a link to the article:
    Freep Story
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  2. walker added a topic in Grand Rapids   

    Yamasaki lecture Oct 8 at the Ryerson Library
    One of my favorite journalists is John Gallagher of the Free Press who covers the stuff we talk about here, architecture and urban planning.  This coming Thursday, October 8 at 7 PM at the Ryerson Library he is going to give a lecture on the life of architect Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit.  I suppose it isn’t a coincidence that Gallagher has just written a new book called Yamasaki in Detroit: A Search for Serenity.
    Yamasaki is probably best known as the architect of the World Trade Center.  While that must have generated a great commission, in my opinion it isn’t really a good representation of his style or at least it isn’t one of the buildings of his that I like.  He was one of the architects that first began to turn away from the bland boxy modern architecture of the middle of last century by adding columns, arches, fountains, curved roofs, and other devices to his designs.
    While buildings he designed can be found around the world, he lived and worked in Detroit and there are several of his buildings in Detroit.  When I lived in Detroit thirty-five years ago, I lived in an old apartment building that was owned by and completely surrounded by Wayne State University.  When I stepped out the front door in the morning I could see to my right two of his buildings and two more were a few hundred feet away.   Here is a link that shows his Wayne State buildings, you can click on the individual buildings for more details:  
    I particularly like the McGregor Building with its sculpture garden which has been recently restored.  One might compare it to a Japanese garden.
    I know a lot of us here don’t much care for mid-century architecture even when it is well done and that sometimes includes me.  Instead we get excited about apartments and condos carved out of old warehouses and furniture factories.  But I think at Wayne State his buildings really work well.
    Here’s a flyer on the lecture:
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  3. walker added a post in a topic Oakgrove Cemetery Tour   

    So here's Garret Ellison's annual Mlive story about the upcoming cemetery tour:
    cemetery story
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  4. walker added a post in a topic Wolfang Puck Setting Up Shop in D-Town GR   

    I haven't tried it yet.  I'm thinking about buying a can of his soup at Meijer and see if I like it first.  If I like it, maybe I'll go and at least order the soup.

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  5. walker added a topic in Grand Rapids   

    Oakgrove Cemetery Tour
    It's that time of year again for retired attorney Tom Dilley's annual cemetery tours.  May not sound like fun but the tours are really quite interesting.  This year's cemetery is Oakgrove which borders on 28th Street next to the Walgreen's at the corner of Kalamazoo.  It's kind of hidden and the entrance is a ways north on the west side of Kalamazoo.  He's planning on giving tours on both Saturday Sept. 12 and Sunday Sept. 13.  Here's a little more detail from the GR Historical Society:
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  6. walker added a post in a topic New projects in Monroe North   

    Plans may have changed since December, but an old Mlive article said they were thinking about a high-rise but weren't sure:
    "Jason Wheeler, a spokesman for Orion, said the property was purchased as an investment without a specific plan for future use. The law firm will stay in the building through April, he said.
    Wheeler said the site probably will be used to develop a high-rise residential building, given its small footprint."
    mlive link
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  7. walker added a post in a topic New Embassy Suites Hotel - Monroe North   

    I probably worded my post poorly.  I didn't mean to imply that Kaufman is the architect for the North Monroe project.  I highly doubt that he is.  GVSUChris's post about multiple brands in the same project just reminded me of what Kaufman has been doing in Manhattan.  I am curious about what their plans will look like.  
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  8. walker added a post in a topic New Embassy Suites Hotel - Monroe North   

    The architect, Gene Kaufman, has been designing hotel buildings in Manhattan where up to three hotel brands share the same building with all hotels having separate elevators, lobbies, and facades.  From the perspective of the customer they are completely separate.   Here’s a link to a NYT article about Mr. Kaufman and his hotels:
    Kaufman's Hotels
    I’ve stayed in the Staybridge Hotel that’s mentioned in the article a couple of times including for a week about a month ago.  It worked fine for me.  Obviously Grand Rapids doesn’t have the same need to build vertically as does Manhattan, so building tall skinny hotels probably isn’t what they have in mind for North Monroe.   I think it’s an interesting idea anyway, at least for Manhattan.          
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  9. walker added a post in a topic Wealthy Street Needed Renovations   

    Apparently the West Michigan Modern group is going to hold a meeting there on 7-16.  Here's a new photo of the building and little more background information about it from their Facebook page:
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  10. walker added a post in a topic Grand Rapids Then and Now   

    I don’t know much about the Bridge Street tower.  I was hoping that Raildudes dad would have chimed in here since he is the train buff here.  I can remember that years ago Tom Rademacher (or maybe it was his predecessor, Tom LaBelle) wrote a column in the Press about this old African American man who worked for the railroad and sat up there and watched for trains.  When one came he’d throw the switch to activate the crossing gates.  This was long after all the other crossings had been automated.  The reason this one hadn’t been was because at the time there were still two sets of tracks each belonging to a different railroad and one was going to be torn out and both railroads were to share the remaining track, so they didn’t want to invest in automating tracks that were going to be replaced.  And like most things involving railroads it took years before this project was even started let alone completed.  The old guy would sit up there all day and wasn’t allowed to read or have a radio or TV, and I believe his restroom facilities consisted of a jar or something similar.
    Around the same time, further to the north the two parallel railroads crossed the east-west Grand Trunk Railroad tracks.  The predecessor railroad to the Grand Trunk Railroad was the original railroad in Grand Rapids and being the first one, it controlled that junction.  I remember there was a ground level shack there where a guy would sit all day and when occasionally a train on one of the other railroads had to cross the Grand Trunk tracks he’d get out and manually throw the switch.  Apparently it was a good paying job because mostly I remember his new Corvette parked nearby.  This was back in the sixties.  Maybe Raildudes dad can stop by and add some detail or correct my possibly faulty memory. 
    Regarding the Hall Street Tower, Raildudes dad and I had a discussion here about it that you might be thinking of, starting down at post #244:
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  11. walker added a post in a topic MSU Biomedical Research Campus   

    Isn't this an odd spot for a roundabout or am I lacking in imagination?
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  12. walker added a post in a topic Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids   

    Well MDOT and Amtrak are changing the schedule of the Pere Marquette to leave Grand Rapids at 6 in the morning instead of 7:40 and return around midnight instead of 10 PM:
    So what’s the reason for this absurd change?  The reason the news releases claim is because the crews will now be based in Grand Rapids instead of Chicago. That is not the reason but does explain why it is possible to do it since a Chicago crew coming in the night before, as they do now, wouldn't be able to do the return trip the next morning that early because of sleep requirements.  The real reason is because train buffs have been pushing for a second train which is fine.  Since there is no extra equipment for a second train, the idea is that the same train set will do a fast turn around and leave Chicago around 10 AM CSD and arrive in Holland in the afternoon then turn around again and leave Holland around 3 PM to go back to Chicago (not enough time to go all the way to Grand Rapids.)  The train after turning again would leave Chicago for the night trip to Grand Rapids leaving Chicago at 6:30 PM.   The problems with this are probably obvious but I’ll list them anyway:   1. Getting up at four or five in the morning in order to catch a train at six is not going to appeal to many people; there are many alternate ways to get to Chicago. I suspect that any schedule earlier than seven is going to result in a big drop-off in customers.   2. Returning around midnight isn't a great idea either.    3. Even though the schedule for the single train is being changed May 1, the second train hasn't even been announced and it possibly may never happen.   4. When and if it starts, the second train has the same time problem but in reverse, it will leave Chicago too late to be very practical not to mention it will only go as far as Holland.   5. As long as the Pere Marquette trains have to use the Norfolk Railroad's tracks along the bottom of Lake Michigan, it is unlikely that they will be able to adhere to the tight schedules they would need for two trains using one train-set.  After all, the existing train has a bad on time record as it is without having to turn.       
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  13. walker added a post in a topic The Grand River?! You mean GR has a River?   

    I know this is heresy that could get me banned but I wouldn't mind if Olds/Rowe Hotel would just go away.  It's ugly on two sides and it doesn't fit the location anymore and I can't think of anything that could be done to it or the surrounding properties to make it fit much better.  Maybe someone can move it brick by brick down somewhere on Commerce where it might fit in better.    
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  14. walker added a post in a topic New projects in East Hills   

    Appears some people get tattoos of Mumford and Sons lyrics.  Maybe that's the customers they're going after:
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  15. walker added a post in a topic MidTowne Village Development Updates   

    I went to that car wash a couple of days ago.  Kind of a tight squeeze.  I had to make a hard left turn in order to line up with the entrance and my car isn't that big.
    I told my wife, Medical Mile is a strange place for a car wash.  She said, well doctors need to wash their cars too. 
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