John Zubal’s place. His sprawling collection of books numbers upwards of 2.5 million and has captured the attention of Anthony Bourdain as well as yours truly.
I cannot aptly describe in words or show in pictures the divinity of this place, but it is indeed a wonder. Consider, for instance, that a large portion of the books are housed in vintage wooden pear and fruit crates that Zubal collected as a kid from area open air markets. As I walked amid the stacks of books with John Zubal and heard his story last fall, I welled up in that rare way.
Oh Cleveland, how you do me sometimes.
Now then, this is Cleveland and you are in a very old part of town. Hence you don't have to travel much farther away from Seymour Avenue in order to find another solid example of authenticity.
Head back out onto 25th Street and stroll south down to Meyer Avenue--don't dawdle, this neighborhood can be a bit rough around the edges--okay, maybe more than a little bit rough and maybe in the middle as well, but your next destination is less than a half mile. Take a right onto Meyer and go due west until you get to 30th.
No matter how humble that brick building looks, you are standing in front of one of this town's most splendid jewels. Holtkamp Organ Company has been handcrafting pipe organs in Cleveland since 1855 and when you step inside the "new shop" (built in 1921), your eyes will widen and the breath will push out of your lungs in a big wondrous sigh.
I know. I was just there for an interview for this story in this week's Fresh Water.
|Voicing studio, Holtkamp Organ Company|
I hope with all my heart that Amanda and Gina and Michelle find the rest of their lives soon and that the guilty pay the appropriate price. We will never erase this ugliness, but it will diminish with time. As for that tough old Cleveland neighborhood that I love so dearly--don't listen to everything they're saying about you. They don't understand, but I do. I know how hard you tried. May you heal quickly too. I know you will, you quirky beautiful grid of streets. You always do.
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|A Christmas Story House|
--Cleveland Vibrator is about a mile and a half from the house, as is Palookaville Chili.
--My favorite breakfast spot in Cleveland, Grumpy's, is about 3/4 mile from Seymour, as is A Christmas Story House.
This list could go on and on, but you get the picture.
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