A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Community and Economic Development, My blog., Uncategorized

More thoughts on the Neighborhood and the LaSalle Theater.

A view of the LaSalle Theater and the Humphrey Store on the corner.

This past Tuesday, I managed to head over tot he Lithuanian Hall for the monthly East 185th Street Neighborhood Watch meeting. The guest speaker was Linda Warren of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress who brought the audience up to date on what was currently happening with the LaSalle Theater. This organization, founded over 30 years ago, has for almost a year been instrumental taking care of the recently renovated historic building and making it a successful anchor for the street as everyone here has envisioned.  They focus on working in Cleveland neighborhoods and have undertaken many successful projects including partnering in Slavic Village Rediscovered and renovating the historic Levi Scofield House.

Ms. Warren is president of the New Villages Capital Corporation with three employees on her staff attending the meeting as well.  They were brought on board the LaSalle Theater project in July 2018 and work in conjunction with NE Shores and the Greater Collinwood Development Corporation to stabilize operations and create a new business plan.

It seems that the space currently rented out (including the popular Humphrey Store and 5 residential units) covers 20 percent of the revenue and have only a year to stabilize operations.  It is crucial for the success of the project that they land a profitable level of money from renting the theater itself.  So far, as of May, they got 27 of the 57 projected event bookings to take place at the LaSalle this year.  In 2020, they need to get 80 events booked at the LaSalle to be viable.

The LaSalle Tavern.

The big issue that came up was adjacent parking and there was a big debate by people over the fate of the LaSalle Tavern and the house and garage behind it.  Funding, courtesy of the NE Ohio Sever District and another organization has been obtained to demolish the structures and expand the existing parking lot from 22 to 44 spaces.  Some, including a former Notheast Shores Member sitting next to me and an employee of the Cleveland Planning Commission (who I overheard telling someone how he bought a house in the neighborhood), felt that other things could be done rather than tear down those buildings for more parking. Basically, they felt that the valet parking now serving the LaSalle is good enough.   Others, like myself, felt differently.  I do believe in preserving buildings of historic value too and there were some demolitions over the years in this area I disapproved (such as the Christian Life Center that was next to Villa Angela/St. Joseph High School) but each case is different. After all, with all the years and money spent to renovate the LaSalle, which is in fact a major anchor for the street and any future redevelopment, any measure to make the balance sheet go in the black such as a bigger parking lot is worth it. After all, if we need another tavern, why not open it at the now vacant Bistro 185 just down the street? Overall, Tuesday’s presentation was very informative.

I left the hall kind of glad to see all those people there that usually don’t come to the meeting and that there is still a feeling of possibilities that the neighborhood can reinvent itself.

Photographs taken by James Valentino.

A Quick Little Post, My blog.

Happy Easter From Mad Man On A Great Lake.

Tulip tree blossoms in Oberlin.

Yesterday afternoon, once the cold rain stopped, I drove out to Oberlin Ohio for the first time in well over a year. While it felt more like October than April, the cooler weather didn’t bother the drifts of daffodils and blooming magnolias that grace the grounds of the College and Finney Chapel. Actually, for me, it’s worth the 45 minute drive out there just to see the tulip trees all in bloom.

Who can believe that, not only has another Holiday come and gone, but have the month is over as well? Time flies even if you don’t write much on a blog. From the looks of the stats to this site, I am still getting a pretty respectable number of views. I can honestly say that many in the Akron Writer’s Group would find that very encouraging.

I don’t think I like some of the changes WordPress has done to their site. Their block format is kind of perplexing to me but then again give it a little time perhaps I’ll get a better handle of it. However, as I write this post, I am learning a thing or two, such as how to upload photographs to the new format. So, in the future, if I work on a serious piece that needs photographs I now know I can do it.

On that note, may everyone out there who celebrate Easter have a nice one and May will soon be around the corner.

A path next to Finney Chapel in Oberlin, taken yesterday.

Photographs by James Valentino. Post updated the same day as original.

A Quick Little Post, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

The State of the Blog: A Quick Little Post.

For anyone who has happened to stopped by more than once on this blog over the years, you must have noticed that there has been a drop in the number of posts, and I must admit the quality of the content.  Since the fall, I have struggled with a bit of writer’s block that had made me just start things and give up after a few pages.  One thing you cannot see on this site are the number of drafts I started in the past four months that are incomplete on a range of topics.

So far this month, Mad Man on a Great Lake has received 94 views which is surprisingly good.  However, the total of views in 2018 was lower than the year before.   We will see what the rest of the year has in store for this site

Anyway, it’s a sunny day here on the North Coast and it should be nice to enjoy some of it. For those who do enjoy exploring this site and looking at some of the pieces thank you.

A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Getting through a Polar Vortex: A Quick Little Post.

They say it’s colder now in parts of the mid-west than it is in Antarctica.  With wind chill numbers around minus thirty degrees Fahrenheit, I’m not at all surprised.   The few minutes I stepped outside to start the car and refill the bird feeder yesterday showed me how brutal the weather is.

They say that 300 households in the Detroit-Shoreway area were without power until recently, and there already was that situation in Rocky River where workers are trying to fix a broken water pipe that’s pouring water in a gas line; and that started before this Arctic blast hit.   Of all times to not have power or be able to stay warm.   However, the worst has passed and many of us will be back to work tomorrow since the high will be a balmy twenty degrees.

It’s going to be flirting with sixty degrees on Monday.   Go figure.

A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

Happy New Year From Mad Man On A Great Lake.

The last year of the decade is now upon us.   It will be very interesting to see what these 365 have in store not only for East 185th and Cleveland but the nation as well.  But, I won’t go there since it is a holiday and many of us probably had a bottle of bubbly the night before (like I did).  It was 60 degrees last night as a quick warm front came through, not only blowing off the cover of my air conditioner but power outages in many parts of the area (as well as three homicides on Cleveland’s West Side) ringing in 2019.  Today, it’s back down to the 30’s and around here things have been quiet, like they usually are.

As for the blog, we will see if I have the interest, enthusiasm, and passion to write here beyond a quick post.  The real world has been rather busy and there is only 24 hours in a day.  After all, it’s not like I am a writer for the Atlantic Magazine or the New Yorker and have to do this for a living!   Again, we will see what the future holds.

May each and every one of you have a happy, safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!


James Valentino, writer and editor.

A Quick Little Post, My blog., Uncategorized

Once again, Merry Christmas from Mad Man On A Great Lake.

Ashtabula December 21, 2018 Lakeshore Park display

One of the displays at Lake Shore Park.

Who would have thought that Christmas Eve would come upon us so quick?  This past Friday, I decided to hop in a car with a few members of the Collinwood-Nottingham Historical Society to go out to Ashtabula again to visit a place this blog has mentioned before, Lake Shore Park.  What I didn’t know until now was that very place i stumbled upon a few years ago has a pretty impressive Christmas lighting display.  Throughout its’ 52 acres cars like ours were driving though looking at the colorful lights.

Ashtabula December 21, 2018 Lakeshore Park more lighting displayAshtabula December 21, 2018 Lakeshore Park more lights

Since the one who was driving grew up there, he drove us through the city, from the harbor which I am more than familiar with to Ashtabula’s downtown which I’m not.  Once home to a Sear’s Department Store, Carlisle’s, Woolworth’s, and many other shops back in the day, the downtown was dark and desolate with one or two exceptions, like the Dublin Down Irish Pub and Eatery which was full of customers when we stopped in.  The contrast between the busy local eatery and the near ghost-town atmosphere outside was hard not to notice.  However, the hamburger was really good and the service friendly.   The pub was all decked out for the holidays right down the light display in the entrance area.   Perhaps some of the new investment going into the Harbor area will comeback to that area as well down the road.

Ashtabula December 21, 2018

As the photograph above says, Merry Christmas.



Photographs by James Valentino


A Quick Little Post, My blog., Opinion, Uncategorized

10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs

Today, I came across this post from Mr. Bernie Michalik’s Smart People I Know Blog on this piece from de zeen magazine. While I’m more of an Arts and Crafts/Deco fan, the chess game, wardrobe, and light look really interesting.  In fact the ‘Barcelona chair’ seems to have been part of an exhibit I saw at the Cleveland Museum of Art a few years ago called Barcelona and Modernity. Anyway they can all be from an Ernst Lubitsch movie from the early 1930s (like Trouble in Paradise). A nice quick read.

Smart People I Know

For fans of Bauhaus, or those who want to become one, there’s this: 10 iconic Bauhaus furniture designs: chairs, tables, a lamp and a chess set.

It includes a number of pieces by Mies, including the Barcelona chair, shown above.

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