East 185th Street looking North.
While the mayor and his merry band at City Hall figure out how to hire more policeman by the end of this year, I didn’t let this fact stop me from taking a walk down my street this Sunday. After all, one of the supposed advantages of a Cleveland neighborhood over moving out to the urban fringe is their walk-ability. On a sunny, almost early March-like Day in January, I took a stroll up to see what was going on with the La Salle Theater. From the photos you can see how much work has been put into renovating this place. It’s a great thing that the councilman, and Neighborhood Progress, came up with the money to finish this. While we may not have a street like Pittsburgh’s Walnut in this city, places like East 185th have the potential to do a whole lot more and, right now, it looks like it might just happen.
The La Salle Theater with its’ new marquee.
Then, it was a stop at Gus’ Diner East 185 for lunch. It wasn’t packed like usual but I just missed most of the lunch crowd and got one of the two booths that were still empty. As I ate a corned beef sandwich and fries, I continued working on a project of mine that is now 43 pages long. Some of it does cover what is going on here in North Shore Collinwood and the vast potential this place, and other Cleveland neighborhoods, have.
A few days later, while the national news swirled and buzzed with the unthinkable only two years before, I had to take a long walk home from my mechanic who has a garage off the Shoreway in neighboring Euclid. Getting back on my street, I had an opportunity to see some of the houses that are for sale or recently had a history of foreclosure, vacancy and neglect. Just like everywhere else in the city of Cleveland, the streets off of East 185th St. were really hit by the mortgage crisis. However, for those who follow this blog know, things have stabilized since 2010 and slowing rebounded. Yesterday I had even more encouragement seeing a new driveway in a Cape Cod that is apparently being renovated. This is significant because of what I remember as a kid growing up here. Thirty to Forty years ago, the owner at that time was a woman in her 50s and she had a thing about her lawn. It seemed like every year she would have it ripped up and re-seeded so it would have that golf putting green look. I would sit in the back seat of the car my parents were driving and sometimes see her standing on her front lawn. With her curlers still in her hair and covered by a scarf she would look down at how the germinating lawn was growing. Flash forward to 2010. She was already dead by then, the house had a few owners, and by that year was vacant. The front lawn was not only full of weeds but not even cut. If by a miracle she came back to see this, the lady probably would have had a fit; just like many of the other old homeowners I remember living up and down Cherokee. Well, yesterday, for the first time in years, not only was there a new driveway but that Cape Cod looked almost like it used to be.
A Cape Cod with a brand new driveway.
As I finish this so I can watch another State of the Union Address, I think it is fitting I should at least write about this place. Let’s see what interesting things happen along these streets during this year.
A view of Cherokee Avenue looking West.
Photographs by James Valentino