A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Uncategorized

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. with the Cleveland Orchestra; A Quick Little Post.

For the first time in my life I actually got to attend something that is a big thing here in Cleveland, the Cleveland Orchestra’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert at Severance Hall.  Someone I know called me up earlier in the day to ask if I would like to go with him and his wife and I naturally said yes.  cleveland orchestra mlk concert january 20, 2019

The auditorium was packed (after all, it’s a free event) and along with works ranging from Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” to of course “We Shall Overcome” (where the audience stood up and held hands with each other),  were recordings of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to students at Glennville High School in 1967.

As Andre Gremillet, President and CEO of the Musical Arts Association said in a speech before the concert, it’s good to know that, in days like these, we can have something special like this.

A Quick Little Post, About Cleveland, Community and Economic Development, Opinion, Uncategorized

Richey Piiparinen Leaves CSU: A Quick Little Post.

Thursday, I came across on my cell phone a piece from Cleveland’s Scene Magazine about Richey Piiparinen, the Director for the Center of Population Dynamics at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State, leaving CSU to get a job with the non-profit Unity Project.  He, in partnership with geographer James Russell, has written many very interesting studies related to the city, including From Metals to Minds: Economic Restructuring in the Rust Belt (which was reviewed on this blog) and of course Preparing for Growth: an Emerging Neighborhood Analysis Commissioned by Mayor Frank G. Jackson for the City of Cleveland.

While his work is interesting, I still don’t know how it translates to real mortar and brick matters in Cleveland, let alone for East 185th St.  All the best in him in the non-profit world.

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, About Cleveland, Uncategorized

Humphrey’s Popcorn at the La Salle, A Quick Little Post.

Humphrey's New Store, December 27, 2018 windowOne of the goals of the La Salle Theater renovation is to attract new businesses to East 185th St, ones that not only can serve the neighborhood but draw people who left back in for a visit.   So, at our neighborhood block watch meeting last month, Councilman Polensek was telling everyone how the owners of the Humphrey Popcorn Company were creating their first retail store in that very spot.  Well, I discovered today that the first one is now up and running in the old George Knauss Real Estate office on the corner.    Stepping inside, while it looked like there was more still to do, they had plenty of goodies in stock from the ever tasty popcorn balls to chocolates from the old Baker’s Chocolates on Holmes Avenue which they also recently acquired.  I broke down and bought a box of Whips (a whipped marshmallow type filling surrounded by milk chocolate) which were delicious.

Humphrey's New Store, December 27, 2018 candy

A box of Baker’s Whips.

Humphrey's New Store, December 27, 2018

The new store seen at Kildeer and East 185th St.








With both Baker’s Chocolates, and Euclid Beach Park’s popcorn balls and candy kisses being old Collinwood standbys, it’s great to see the two put together in one unique shop.  While I always wished that Sweet Moses over at Gordon Square would build a second location on this street, its good to see a place like this pop up that can also soothe a sweet tooth, or two!


Photographs by James Valentino

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


About Cleveland, Uncategorized

The O’Keefe/Valois Tapestries Exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art.


CIA November 25, 2018 Georgia O'Keefe Exhbit Promo in atrium.

The list of interesting shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art continues.  November 21 saw the opening of the two latest, Georgia O’Keefe, living the Modern, and Renaissance Splendor: Catherine de’ Medici’s Valois Tapestries. Having received more than one flier in the mail promoting them and, being the neighborhood last Sunday, I decided to check them out.

Valois Tapestries, November 25, 2018,.

One of the rooms in the Valois Tapestries exhibit.

The Valois Tapestries drew my attention first since they were commissioned by Catherine di Medici to commemorate court festivities in the 1570s during the reigns of her sons Charles IX and Henri III.  There are also portraits, cameos and other works connected to this period as well.  What really impressed me was a portrait of the man who would succeed all of them; Catherine’s son-in-law Henri of Navarre who as King Henri IV of France founded the Bourbon Dynasty.

CIA November 25, 2018 Georgia O'Keefe Exhbit. paintingCIA November 25, 2018 Georgia O'Keefe Exhbit, Life Cover.

CIA November 25, 2018 Georgia O'Keefe Exhbit.

Three photographs of the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit.

As for the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit across the hall, it was a completely different format.  Of course, a show exploring the work of one of America’s most famous 20th century artists is by nature far more interactive.  Not only is there a copy of a Life Magazine cover with her but also a small 1977 clip of O’Keefe being interviewed.  While I personally am not really interested in her work, it was worth stopping in there and, judging from the number of people in there, many others would agree.

Both exhibits run through the beginning of January so, if you are from around Cleveland or just happen to be in town, it is definitely something worth seeing.

Valois Tapestries, November 25, 2018 exit,.

Photographs taken by James Valentino

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

A look at ‘anchoring’ university neighborhoods: A Quick Little Post.


On Tuesday November 13, 2018 the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs had another forum at 4:00 PM.  The topic, Gown, Town, and Neighborhood Change: Considering the Role and Neighborhood-Level Impacts of University Anchors took a look at how universities and other anchor institutions play a role in revitalizing the adjacent neighborhood they are located in.  Based on the work of Arizona State University assistant professor Meagan Ehlenz, who was there to deliver the keynote address, it also featured a panel consisting of representatives of local anchor institutions.

Here in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University is one of the top 8 in the nation engaged in an aggressive neighborhood revitalization strategy.  This is in some ways ironic since this same institution, along with others around University Circle were instrumental in the wholesale destruction of many buildings and even streets (think Magnolia Drive) in the name of urban renewal.  Nevertheless, the vitality of that and the adjacent Little Italy neighborhood stands in start contrast to the floundering real estate market in the rest of the East Side of Cleveland.

While she joked that Cleveland State University didn’t respond to her initial survey for her research, she did note that the university, along with Tri-C and St. Vincent Charity Hospital, have made a serious effort to create what is called the Campus District (or other the St. Vincent Quadrangle) and event the Associate Dean of the College of Urban Affairs, Bob Gleason, noted to the audience how vastly different CSU’s campus is from twenty years ago when it was still, as I call it, a Brutalist Inspired concrete fortress.  Not only have new buildings constructed along Euclid and Chester but old ones retrofitted with new facades to look out onto the streets in front of them

There probably more interesting Forums in the months to come.