Thursday, December 08, 2011

Phone cam round-up special edition: the Cleveland Brooklyns

Don't believe in magic? You're a fool. Follow me down a secret path and I'll show you the light.

Start with a jig. A charmed piglet will be your partner as she dances ...

... to the music of dead men.

Tiptoe past enchanted cottages ...

... and meet talking heads.

Behold exotic beasts lurking amid our haunted ruins.

Drink from ruby goblets. Eat from indigo platters.

Dragons? Of course we have dragons ...

... and regal protectors to keep them at bay.

Don't worry. Mysterious machinery will guide us if we lose our way ...

... as we march onward, o'er hill and dale, to the far-off land of Cleves.

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All of today's photos were taken a few miles from downtown Cleveland in an area that was designated "Brooklyn Township" in 1818. Over the past two centuries, the mostly rural township splintered into neighborhoods of Cleveland, a village and a city. I wrote all about Cleveland's Brooklyns for this week's edition of fresh water.

In the article, you'll find Drew Carey and a bevy of alpacas. You'll visit an eatery that puts the famed Rao's of NYC in its place, urban gardens blooming with everything from lavender to garlic, and the final resting place of Cleveland's original beer guys.

As for our dancing piglet, she lives in a place noted by our very own Al the Retired Army Guy and Anthony Bourdain.

I love this town.

Cuyahoga County, OH, 1874. Click to enlarge.

*  *  *

Mysterious machinery, glassware and music photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum.

* * *


Nin Andrews said...

And I love your phone cam round-ups. i always feel better after stopping by here . . .

Rex said...

I love this area of town. My grandfather had a farm on Schaff Road and I remember helping with the Christmas Tree sales when I was little. My grandparents are buried in a small family cemetery behind a house on Schaff. Speaking of cemeteries check out Brookmere Cemetery. Its an old cemetery on a hill above the zoo. Strange to hear the animal noises while wandering among the headstones.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hola! Glad to be of service Nin. Rex, I can't wait to stop by Brookmere.

For the curious:

The mysterious piglet is from Al the Retired Army Guy's fave CLE spot, The Sausage Shoppe.

The exotic beasts live at Vintage Alpacas as does the regal protector.

And the dismembered heads were captured at Jinxed Costumes and Magic on Ridge Road.

The dragon lives near the State Road on Pearl, and the cottage, secret path and CLE vista shots were taken on Schaaf Road.

Talk about your extreme CLE love!

lori said...

These pictures and captions have been the best part of my day. Cool stuff! Thanks! lori

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff. One more reason to visit Cuyahoga County one day.

Interesting statistic that caught my eye:

"Old Brooklyn covers 5.76 miles and is home to about 34,000 residents."

Vs. my current Ville:

"According to the United States Census Bureau, Smithville has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,994 people."
Number of Alpacas is unknown.


Anonymous said...

That's my hood, both old (Old Brooklyn) and current (City of).
Nice post, kid.

DogsDontPurr said...

Your love for where you live always shines through these pieces you write. I love that you know how to find the magic.

Before I started reading your blog, if someone had suggested Cleveland as a destination, I would have thought they were crazy. But now that I've read your many posts that are almost like love letters to where you live, I do believe this is *truly* a Destination. I would love to experience it someday.

Kirk said...

Lest we forget, the Cleveland Zoo is in that neighborhood. In fact, that's where I assumed the Alpacacs were from before I read your comment (kind of silly of me, the zoo doesn't employ watch dogs.)

philbilly said...

I grew up in Old Brooklyn, across the street from the original site of the Sausage Shoppe, when it was an old-school corner grocery and deli. On warm nights sitting on our porch on Clybourne, you would hear the cries of peacocks in the zoo and the ore ship horns blasting out on Lake Erie as they entered the Cuyahoga.

We made gravity go-carts from
2x4's, carriage bolts and wagon wheels, steered by bracing your feet on the front "axle" and pulling back with both hands on a rope looped between two outrigged eyebolts.
Then flying down Snake Hill towards the iron steps that brought the folks along Memphis down to the zoo entrance.

As the only brakes were from dragging your feet, the trick was to hold off till the very last minute and try to miss the stair pilings and steer into the softer parts of the woods.

We got our stitches at Deaconess Hospital on Pearl Road. It just occured to me that scars and road rash were the tattoos and piercings of our generation.
There was, and still might be, a giant hobby store that sold Lionel trains and science kits with actual explosives capabilities, right near an aquarium store. If we were in groups of four or less, and kept our hands in our pockets and our mouths mostly shut, we could gaze for hours.

We rode our bikes out on Schaaf Road to Brooklyn Tractor, also might still be there, and that guy would let us climb in and around the ancient steel-wheeled wrecks that decomposed out in back. All those antique tractors are long gone, consumed by a carbon-arc scrap furnace in the Flats, no doubt.

Ashes to ashes, rust to rust.

Erin O'Brien said...

Lori, hearing that is the best thing!

RJ and DDP: Erin Know Cleveland Dream Date. CLE is a destination city and the best part is that no one knows it. Now you two have me thinking that I should write an EOB CLE must SEE guide.

Kirk, I did mention the Zoo in the article, but didn't get down there for pix for this post. I've never explored the part of the Metroparks that is adjacent to the Zoo--Brookside Reservation. Jeez. I feel like driving down there right now!

MR and Phil: you old timers are killin' me. Phil, I love your stories and they make me wax nostalgic, but I also brim with new excitement for CLE. I tell my kid she's lucky to be right here right now for this town's rebirth.

Imagine this: I took her to the ArtCraft building's show over the weekend--all these crazy wacked out CLE artists and craftsmen in a building that was at the center of the labor fights of the early 1900s. Her great great grandmother worked down there in the garment district.

We've got the best eats, the cheapest digs, the coolest architecture and more hidden gems than I can count. AND I KNOW WHERE ALL OF IT IS!

You boys ever want to throw back a Steakburger at Dee's, you look me up.


Erin O'Brien said...

Oh yeah, and everybody hop on over to the article if for no other reason than to see my buddy Bob Perkoski's pix.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you threw Aldo's into the mix. The scallopini is unreal. I order an extra medallion of veal and instant killer lunch the next day. And when I really f something up, surprising the wifey by pulling in the parking lot is get-out-of-f'd-up-free-card time.

-Goodman's is gone, RIP, but the Athena Greek Grocery which used to be located near the West Side Market has moved into the same plaza.

alphadog said...

Erin wrote,
"Oh yeah, and everybody hop on over to the article if for no other reason than to see my buddy Bob Perkoski's pix."

Everybody needs to hop over to the article because it's a damn good article. For all of her occasional dumdassery here, Erin writes quite well and the Brooklyn article is a peach.

Damn, wonder if all that sucking up got me on the EO'B Christmas card list?

philbilly said...

Couldn't agree more, Erin, this is the place to be. Got water?

MR, this is the first I've heard that Goodman's Sandwich Inn is gone. Glad I got there often in the last couple years. Dennis Goodman deserves to retire, 400 pounds of perfect corned beef, pastrami and brisket a day for a total estimate of 7,700,000 pounds over 62 years.

He never had any serious competition in Cleveland and beyond, including the joint on the East Side that gets all the press on Patty's Day. People would argue with me on that, I'd cross the river and get Goodman's corned beef, and every time, every time, they'd say "damn, that is better."

Dennis refused many offers to sell because:
"I don't want to ruin my name or reputation," he explains. "We've been doing this for 62 years — why kill the business now? I'd rather have people say, 'Boy, that was a good sandwich' than have them say, 'The last time I as there, it was real crap.'"

A class act.

Well, I shouldn't be eating corned beef anyway, now I can quit.

Gonna go to Aldo's.

Goat said...

Brooklyn Tractor is also gone--late last year or early this year. Driving down Brookpark and all of a sudden you notice the world is out of whack. No machines on the lawn and no sign on the side of the building.

philbilly said...

Goat, do you remember the sports car shop on W.54th and Brookpark? Those guys also let us sit in the wrecks and pretend to drive. Ironically, a surviver version of almost every hulk I played in then is now in my shop now being very, very, very slowly and painstakingly resurrected, including an E-type and
a BMW 2002.
That's a model, kids, not the year.

Do you think that the kids now will in, say, 40 or even a 100 years be lovingly rewiring old I-whatevers and making molds to strike new plastic housings? Or for that matter welding new floors in Saturns and Accords? I don't think so. The Golden Age of Automobiles is now and on the wane.

Although there could be a hot business in rebuilding Mars Rovers.
The latest one, if it makes it to the surface via its rocket-powered delivery module parachute is Bad Ass.

philbilly said...

Uh, survivor, not surviver. I could feel the ghost of a nun slappin' the back of my head.

Erin O'Brien said...

Lest anyone think differently, the Goat is my recon man.

"Do you think that the kids now will in, say, 40 or even a 100 years ... "

Don't worry, Phil, they'll have their own nostalgia. They'll be reminiscing about COBOL or writing HTML. They'll be talking about when computer screens were hard, when you couldn't bunch them up in your back pocket.

They'll be saying, "Do you remember having to download drivers for chrissake? And keyboards. Remember the goddamn keyboards?"

Anonymous said...

Gentile's Saturday Afternoon:
1. Go there-Broadview between Brookpark and Pearl, left side as you're going north.
2. Purchase the following: 1 loaf french bread, about a half pound soppressata (I like the mild flats), and a small container of roasted red peppers.
3. Return home
4. Slice 4"-6" hunks off the french bread and split them.
5. Slather the bread with the soppresata and peppers to taste. Be sporty with the oil from the peppers.
6. Repeat until the bread is gone.
7. If you're lucky, you'll only have to pick up more bread on Sunday, and you're set for Gentile's Sunday Afternoon. The peppers and salame should last, at least until your kid comes home for Christmas break.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hey alph, sorry I missed you up there and thank you mightily for the vote of confidence. I loved writing and researching this article. I can't believe how I have lived in CLE all my life, but still continue to discover it.

MR--sounds DELISH!

philbilly said...

True enough on the nostalgia factor, Erin.

What I believe is now nearly lost is the combination of the visceral thrill of motion and the seductive coachwork and interiors that can not be experienced on most modern cars.

You know better than most of what I speak. It has been stated that the E-type was a study in the ellipse. None less than Enzo Ferrari called it the most beautiful car in the world.

By comparison, the modern aero-blobs and tacky boxes of today insulate us from every perdition of the open road, denying even the ability to brake late in the apex, heel-toe shift and hammer it out of curves, what with Anti-luck Brakes, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability, etc. Bleh.

Your MINI is a notable and nearly affordable exception. And not surprisingly, it has a cult following, albeit its devotees often shorn in designer duds and cradling lattes.

Nope, the days of the proletariat going off to college in cars destined to be classics is over. By my estimation we have about a 100 year supply of vintage iron left to play with.

What tantalizes me is envisioning what lurks in barns and garages, yet to be found. I will admit that I like heated seats, the first time I experienced them in a Saab 900 I thought I had re-entered puberty.

And speaking of Brookside, it was often the site of clandestine drag racing, until the cops would pour in both entrances driving pale yellow '66 Biscaynes and run us off.

Erin O'Brien said...

Think of how purists felt when the internal combustion engine began to overtake the horse, when the animal--which required a diligent curry brush, which inhaled and exhaled--was more or less removed from the transportation equation. What a massive implication. Something was lost. Someone undoubtedly wrote about it.

We call it horsepower for a reason and in doing so, the horse quietly endures.

Horses still whinny and flounce their tails. I drive my '03 MINI in my ill-fitting jeans.

Yeah, yeah. Go back to bed, Erin. It's almost four in the morning. Got eternity?

Hamlin said...

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Erin O'Brien said...

I suppose that comment is spam, but it's such fascinating spam, I am compelled to leave it be.