Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Civil Rights, Neon in B'ham, neon signs, Photographs, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Scaffolding has already been erected around Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. We’ve definitely talked about this historic landmark on a few occasions here at the Ramblings. Click on this link to scroll back and see some of the entries.
I have not actively checked to see if the current revitalization plans for the church include restoring their neon sign or not. But any work done to preserve this symbol of the civil rights movement not just in Alabama, but the United States is appreciated by all that know of its story.
Enjoy the day.
Filed under: Architecture, art, Chicago, Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, other cities, people, Photographs, Random shots, urban issues, urban parks
So Bets and I are currently in the Second City, Chicago, IL. We’re up here visiting with friends we haven’t had a chance to see since we’ve moved to Birmingham. We’ve scattered throughout the Southeast now and have come together for a wedding reception for two of them. We’ve also been wandering throughout the city. There are many that claim that while Pittsburgh is our sister U.S. city, that the Magic City can also be compared to Chicago. After looking around yesterday (and plans to do so today), I don’t see why that can’t be true.
Of course, we also chose one of the hottest times of the year to visit… in the midst of some of the hottest weather this part of the country has seen in decades. I plan to post an entry talking about the similarities (both in the present environment and future potential) early this week. Right now I leave you with these great images of the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, one of the ways that the cities may be quite similar very soon. Enjoy the day.
Filed under: Architecture, Birmingham, AL, Dre's 101 in 1001, Neon in B'ham, Photographs, Random shots, The Rambles, Where to find Dre
Today’s picture has no immediate relevance to today’s post, at least not at first glance. Curtis remembered enough about the ride to suggest that I use the picture. I’m driving Curtis’ car back from the 2005 Rickwood Classic. The short version of this story is that there were several things that I wanted to say I’d accomplished before I turned 30. One of those things was to be able to say I’d driven a convertible. The opportunity presented itself to do it, so I did. (I also chose this image on purpose since the other image had me looking very nervous about driving the car).
The same thing happened with this blog. I wanted to get back into writing, but didn’t really have an outlet. Conversations with a few people, most notably the one with Curtis in the M3C the Wednesday before I posted to this one year ago, led to the Ramblings’ start on Blogger. One year, a change to WordPress, three themes and 184 posts later, it’s still a lot of fun. That’s the important part of it all, just having fun. The sharing of an opinion or a thought and seeing what people will say in response is exciting; it allows for some real conversation to start about things going on around here in the Magic City and out there outside of Jones Valley.
So, one year later I’m still singing in the rain. I’m still enjoying the challenges of getting reacquainted with big city living. And I’m happy that I’m still doing what I’m doing. When I first got here, I attended the big unveiling of the City Center Master Plan at the Alabama Theatre. While sitting there listening to plans for the future development of downtown, I spoke with one of the citizen’s who voiced concern about the focus on downtown when neighborhoods were being neglected. I naively introduced myself and explained my position with MSB to her. We ended the conversation with her saying that she was happy that I was in Birmingham, but that I would be like all of the other ones who had come before me; I’d stay for no more than a couple of years and then I’d leave of frustration like all of the others. Those words have stuck with me for nearly two years now. I will not lie and say that I have not been tempted to pack it up and move somewhere else. I’ve reminded myself in the last year that I’m not the lone ranger and that it does take time. My actual job is to remind others of those facts as well. I’ve realized that this blog has become an extension of reminding me that it is a long process but that it will happen. I also am always reminded that if I leave without a really good reason that I’ve let that negative “we can’t do it” attitude prevail. I didn’t move here for that. Besides, I’m looking forward to walking up to the citizen, who happens to be a state representative, and telling her that I’m still here and that it will probably be a while before I leave town.
Due to some of the recent conversation on other blogs around town, I’ve also realized just how many people have been reading this. Thanks. I hope that you’ll continue to comment and read this stuff for a while. I didn’t plan on it going in this direction or seeing it become this well supported. I truly appreciate it.
Enjoy the weekend.
N.B. I have still not made all of the changes that I wanted to, but I’ve added a couple of things. No, you are not imagining things; there is a link to an online store near the end of the sidebar. Nothing too fancy, I just figured some of you may be interested one day in admitting that you actually read this thing J I just wanted to see how it went. I don’t plan on changing the header or format ever again unless I’m forced to. The location links for the Neon series will be activated within the next seven days (I’ve just been slammed at work and bring a lot of it home with me nowadays).
Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Civic Engagement, Commentary, Mass Transit, Photographs, Random shots, rpcgb, The Rambles, transit, Transportation, urban issues
Darrell Howard, the principal transportation planner for the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, was the keynote speaker at this morning’s ONB Monthly Breakfast. His presentation on the In-Town Transit Partnership Project was timely. A tractor trailer overturned this morning shutting down I-459, the main connector to the south between all of our major traffic arteries (I-20, I-59, U.S. 280 and U.S. 31). Despite the fact that a recent report says that we here in Birmingham have the 3rd highest amount of time spent commuting per capita in the nation and the fact that we average a 6-hour a day rush hour period, many of us got up and went to work this morning, some of us unable to avoid the gridlock. Many of us also never even had the thought of hopping on a bike or riding a bus enter our mind. It took our guest speaker more than an hour to do a trip that should take less than 20 minutes. So what are we to do? Or what are we willing to do to make it better?
Filed under: Architecture, Birmingham, AL, McWane Center, Neon in B'ham, neon signs, Photographs, Random shots, urban issues
This sign is located on Second Avenue across from Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs. We’ll eventually put up an image of that icon, but first things first; the block has seen it become quieter thanks to the spring closing of the area Wachovia branch. The property owner, George Ladd, has announced plans to spend $2.5 million to repair buildings located at 1910 and 1912 2nd Avenue, North. The link to the article from Sunday’s Birmingham News follows:
(Dull downtown sites to shine, The Birmingham News, 7.23.2006)
This project can only add to the potential of activities in the surrounding area, including events at the McWane Center. The critical mass that many have been waiting for in terms of development is close at hand. There will be many people enjoying conducting the dumpster test soon around here. One of my former bosses introduced me to it (the one I talk about in this post). As more dumpsters and construction workers appear in areas, it provides one of the best signals of a strong economic heartbeat. Sounds good to me. We may lose the sign in the process, but the activity and pride that may stem from it will be worth it. It has sat dark for several years and the commercial space has been vacant recently. It can only bring good things to the area now.