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LA Dave

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Everything posted by LA Dave

  1. Great thread -- beer, good food, wine are tremendous attractions for younger folks. My kids (who are in/almost in their 20s) are much more knowledgeable about food and alcohol than our generation. For us it was burgers, pizza or lasagna, washed down with Stroh's. Now, it might be tapas or locovore delights, accompanied by the best of Founder's or Bell's. My frustration is that it is almost impossible to find Michigan beer in Southern California; we can buy East Coast microbrews, but not the best of the Great Lake State. I hope that the local brewers can expand their marketing efforts, as I find the beers to be fantastic.
  2. Great seeing City Hall in its original glory. I remember when those screens went up, totally destroying the skin of this Skidmore building. I know that the International Style is not popular with the younger crowed, but I for one have always thought that the City/County complex was an elegant addition to downtown.
  3. What market at IAD? Dulles is a joke. I speak as one who, because of geography, cannot board a plane at LAX that will land at DCA. If you are connecting to a transatlantic flight, JFK or BOS are better options. For that matter, ORD or DTW are even better. I think Walker nailed it -- the loss of the daily Delta flight is big. On the other hand, I remember having to connect at DTW in the past, so I guess Frontier's 3 a week is still a better option.
  4. As someone who has flown Southwest extensively within California, they provide a very good service. Not necessarily the cheapest, but free bags and frequent service make SWA the airline of choice for Southern California-Bay Area flights. It would be nice to have a GRR-MDW connection, as the trip into the Loop from Midway is shorter than on the Blue Line from O'Hare. Oh, but that approach -- not for nervous fliers.
  5. Sorta blurry isn't it? Still, a Bobby Stern building is preferable to one by a state architect (see MSU dorms or almost any building at Central built after 1945). Good that the school will continue to be named for Bill Seidman, one of the founding fathers of GVSU and good that it is located in downtown GR. It will interesting to see how Stern's team carries this off. While the Ford School at U-M is a little "academic" for my taste (yes, he ripped off Albert Kahn, but that's how Stern works), but I like the concept for North Quad.
  6. You are right about some of those Stern projects: Smeal Hall is abysmal, and Greenspun Hall looks like a bad 1950s science fiction set. However, the buildings at Rice at U-M are quite nice, and intentionally weld modern structures into the campus "look." (I was especially impressed by the Jones Center at Rice, as those Ralph Adams Cram buildings are very distinctive.)
  7. "RAM Stern," as he is known in the trade? Very impressive. Stern has become something of the house architect as the University of Michigan, designing both the Ford School and North Quad. Not exactly at the sharp end of modernism, but he has a way with historicism.
  8. Is anyone else reading the excellent series of stories in the Press about the Grand River Expedition 2010? Howard Meyerson and team is doing a great job of bringing the reader along with them as they canoe and kayak from the headwaters of the Grand to Lake Michigan.
  9. Could be. I just checked prices from LAX to GRR in September, and they were about $60 cheaper than LAX to DTW. That is a real turnaround. On the other hand, getting a seat on that connection out of Minneapolis can be a real problem.
  10. Wonderful writing, Walker. Sure you weren't on the other side of the building? Yes, the Freep in those days was a great paper, with some of the best young writers in the US (IMHO) on its staff. I still remember reading one wonderful piece in the Sunday Freep about a few of the younger staff members driving to Cass County to find some "Cass County Red." (Readers of a certain age will know what I am talking about.) I still remember one of the lines in the piece, about having to move the dial from CKLW to WLS to find Top 40 tunes on the radio. In the 1970s, that was how you knew you had moved from East to West Michigan. It was an absolute dream to even get an Ann Arbor stringer position with the Freep. I was fortunate enough to get one with the News, which while not as "cool" as the Free Press, had a much larger circulation. Great people worked at the "grey lady" as well. I miss those days terribly.
  11. Boy, your post sure brought back memories. When I was a cub reporter at the Michigan Daily, sometimes we would go to Detroit to see an alumnus at the Freep. It was going to the big leagues -- the smell of ink in the pressroom, the clatter of a hundred typewriters going full-speed, the feel of a major metropolitan daily. Alas, all gone.
  12. Yikes -- I didn't realize that changed it from the old "Butterworth" sign. I still cannot call the hospital in which I was born "Spectrum." It will always be "Butterworth."
  13. There were some other, minor errors in the story (it's not "Meijer's" even though that's what we call it) but I think that the thrust of the piece was right on target, especially with the focus on the local philanthropists.
  14. No, Veloise, the Sears store was leveled. It is now a parking lot, as seen on the streetview.
  15. Thanks for the history, Dad. I also remember when S. Division was very rough, with the ladies of the evening staking their territory. Thanks for the "South Beltline" reference. Only Grand Rapidians of a certain age would remember that!
  16. Yeah, I remember both stores. I was right about the main Sears store on the north side of Monroe, which shows clearly in the picture. The auto store (which I recall as well) was on Pearl, but not at the site of that ugly brick thing in the postcard.
  17. I read the bio of Roger Allen's more talented brother (his work in San Diego is still celebrated) and looked at the stuff that Allen's firm did at CMU. Uggghhh. It looks like the sort of generic state architecture that mars the postwar campuses of our public universities. Grace Episcopal Church in Holland is nice, but of a very conventional stripped down Gothic style that can be seen on many Episcopal, Presbyterian and Methodist churches built during the postwar years (as well as for other denominations).
  18. Yes, great stuff Walker. I have never heard of Mr. Allen, but certainly loved the old Public Museum building. It is nice the way the building opens onto the street, and not to a series of monumental steps.
  19. The old Sears store was across the street on the north side of Monroe. It was demo'd years ago. I don't know what is in there now, if anything.
  20. With the urban renewal of the 1960s, the downtown area was far less "dense" than it is today. That process ripped out the heart of much of downtown. The park in the postcard was the site of some dime stores, for example, that formed the bottom of the Monroe Avenue slant before it went north and south. (The classical facade in the background, the old Mutual Home Federal Savings and Loan building, can be seen in Gaslight village today). The recovery of urban density in the downtown core is essential to a vibrant area. Downtown GR in the 1970s was in many ways a hollow shell.
  21. To be fair to our Eastern Michigan brethren, there were some excellent architects practicing there, most notably Albert Kahn (progenitor of the modern factory), Eero Saarinen (TWA Terminal, CBS Building, Dulles Airport, U-M Music School, Gateway Arch), and Minoru Yamasaki (World Trade Center Towers, McGregor Center at Wayne State). Grand Rapids boasts the only Wright "Prairie" house in Michigan -- the homes in the Detroit area, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo are all from his "Usonian" period. Also, in addition to the Meyer May house, the David Amberg House on College was designed by Marian Mahoney Griffin, who was a prominent member of Wright's studio in Oak Park and later an important architect on her own and one of the first licensed women architects in the world.
  22. Apparently, none other than Gerald R. Ford taught briefly at the University of Grand Rapids, a course in business law. I think that UGR may have been a private business college, somewhat similar to Davenport.
  23. My kid is a Koeze addict -- unfortunately, we have to spend mucho dineros getting it shipped from Zingerman's. Regarding the wet burrito -- I have lived in a hotbed of Mexican cuisine for many years, and the concept of a "wet burrito" is unknown out here. I think that it may be TexMex in nature, since the folks who started Mexican food in GR came from that area. My favorite wet burritos came from a bar that is (used to be?) on Michigan Street, just east of College, I think. The bar featured Harp Lager on tap. Anybody know if that place is still around, or what it might have been called?
  24. You folks should be stuck at LAX on a Friday morning at Terminal 1. The security line goes outside the building.
  25. I hadn't noticed before the sly slanted facade on the MSU medical school, which complements the more aggressive slant of the VAI.
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