New bicycle lanes in the East End to open soon
by Caitlin Koenig
For three years, residents of the East End met with the Department of Transportation and City Council to come up with a plan for a safer, more pleasant neighborhood. And by the end of the month, the orange barrels throughout the East End will be gone, and the longest, flattest bicycle route in the city will be open.
Construction has been done in stages, and everything from Delta Avenue to downtown has been redone as part of the plan. When the Delta end was finished, a leg of bicycle lanes was put in through St. Andrews, which is the section of the route that will open at the end of the month, says East End resident Jackie Weist.
The bicycle lanes are, in part, an effort to reduce the noise coming from US-50 and US-52. There are now engine brake signs along the highways, but that hasn’t eliminated the noise. Residents hope the bicycle lanes will force drivers to slow down and reduce the amount of traffic through the neighborhood.
The East End bicycle facility has been on the books since 1992 when the City reconfigured the neighborhood. The area is ideal because it’s flat, it connects to the Ohio River Trail where the East End ends, and it goes by Lunken Airport and along Riverside Drive.
“We hope the new bicycle lanes will bring more bicyclists to the area and bring awareness to what’s going on down here,” says Weist.
There’s a lot of history in the East End—a steamboat captain’s home has been remodeled, and rock walls and wrought iron are prevalent. It’s also home to Lunken Airport, the oldest commercial airport in the United States, and the oldest Yacht Club in Ohio.
Depending on the construction, a ribbon cutting is tentatively planned for July 28. It will include a clean up of the area, and may be followed by dinner at BrewRiver Gastropub. Queen City Bike is working with the East End Community Council to plan the event.
Worth the effort
Eric Williams, owner and chef of Momocho, inherited a patio at his Ohio City restaurant at 1835 Fulton Road. Unfortunately, the split level structure was constructed of uneven bricks and pavers, surrounded by an old wooden fence, and it slowly was succumbing to the roots of an old mulberry tree.
After the first three seasons at the location, Mr. Williams moved to update the outdoor space.
The $12,000 redesign included leveling the ground, creating handicap-accessible seating, updating plumbing to ensure proper drainage, improving electrical systems, and installing new cedar fencing and a new server station.
A new maple tree, wrought iron furniture and a 38-foot locally handcrafted L-shaped bench finished off the remodel. But before all these changes were possible, Mr. Williams had to jump through a few hoops.
Because Ohio City is a historical neighborhood Mr. Williams approached Ohio City Inc. for its stamp of approval. The community development organization’s only stipulation was to not add anything ostentatious, like a giant waterfall or painting the thing pink, Mr. Williams said.
The new patio paid for itself in less than one season. It seats anywhere from 24 to 36 additional customers and brings in an additional $125,000 to $150,000 in the four months of the year it is available, Mr. Williams estimated. It also helps with crowd control and wait times on a busy night.
Although Mr. Williams recognizes the value of patio seating, it is not logistically possible at his new Lakewood restaurant, El Carnicero, at 16918 Detroit Ave. But he is so sold on the benefits of outdoor seating that he worked out an agreement with his landlord to split the cost of adding to the building awnings with either retracting bay windows or garage doors to accomplish the patio spirit.
by Krys Stefansky
Canada’s superclean capital, like so much of the countryside we saw from the plane before landing in Ontario, bristles with beautiful evergreens – pines, firs and juniper varieties – that give structure and interest to parks and tiny garden pockets everywhere in the city.
An example was right outside our windows at Lord Elgin Hotel. Across the street, Confederation Park was lush with old trees, flower beds and dotted with statuary such as the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument and a beautiful fountain to honor a fellow we would soon get to know, the famed John By.
We started with a walking tour of Canada’s capital the day of our arrival and spotted the Rideau Canal, a man-made waterway constructed from 1826 to 1832 to connect the city of Kingston, at the head of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa.
Following the War of 1812, it offered a safer shipping route than did the less defensible St. Lawrence River. In winter, when it freezes over, Ottawans skate on it. How cool is that?
The Rideau Canal and Bytown Museum is a great place to learn the history of the canal’s construction, of Ottawa itself, and to see artifacts related to Lt. Col. John By, the fellow placed in charge of building it.
Right in the heart of this urban bustle, you can watch from several vantage points as the flight of eight canal locks opens and closes for boats. Here, as on signage all over the city in front of many war memorials and statues, you can inform yourself. The canal’s banks feature beautifully landscaped bike and inline skating paths.
Then we headed to the Byward Market, several blocks of excellent restaurants with food from every corner of the globe, many with outdoor seating and a shopping district with things for every taste and budget.
The Market – quelle surprise! – was also begun by Lt. Col. By. In 1826 he designed the streets of the public market to be wide enough for the horse-drawn carriages that delivered food to its open-air stands.
Ottawans still come here to buy cut flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables, bedding plants and potted annuals. I sneaked over at least once a day during our stay, no matter what else was on our agenda, to browse and buy something sweet at Le Moulin de Provence, a French bakery, cafe, soup and sandwich shop with an astonishing array of cakes, pastries, tarts, breads, and light and flaky croissants as big as my head.
French is spoken and written, and French things are for sale everywhere. Canadians seem to wait until you open your mouth to assess in which language to answer. We love that.
We rested at The Brig Pub on York for a bite to eat. Pubs, we found, are on many street corners here, an echo of the region’s other, this time British, roots.
The next day, we peeked into the famous Fairmont Chateau Laurier, a swanky hotel that looks like a French castle and was built by American Charles Melville Hays, who was manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway of Canada. He wanted to attract tourists by train.
He died on the Titanic, so the opening of the hotel was delayed until that summer of 1912. We wandered around the lavish ground floor, looking at archival photographs of its early days. When it opened, rooms rented for $2 a night. Too bad that deal’s over.
We headed around the corner onto Sussex Drive, passed the well-fortified U.S. Embassy, where we watched a guard inspect the underside of an entering car with a round mirror on a stick, then next door we ogled the Royal Canadian Mint and walked on to the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Ottawa.
Glory be! What a beautiful church. Built from 1841 to 1885, the Gothic interior is lavishly painted wood, in part with faux treatments that mimic marble and other stone, or with intricate, stenciled, repeating designs. The altar, side altars and stained glass windows all deserve to be studied and enjoyed one by one.
The church stands across the street from rolling Major’s Hill Park, where we saw a statue of By and sweeping flower beds freshly planted with perennials and summer annuals – no tulips, naturally – and, next door, the National Gallery of Canada.
On a plaza in front of the art museum is a massive bronze and stainless-steel spider more than 30 feet high. “Maman,” a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, has an egg sac full of marble eggs. This symbol of motherhood is a creepy, towering sight.
We made our way past the leggy arachnid for a leisurely stroll through two floors. Level Two is a diverse collection of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance art that takes visitors through the centuries to Impressionism and beyond to the 20th century. Level One is devoted to modern art and an extensive collection of Early Aboriginal Art, Canadian art, art in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.
We broke for snacks and stared out the window at Roxy Paine’s “One Hundred Foot Line,” a stainless-steel sculpture like a crooked finger pointing skyward. Just before closing, we raced past the airy and leafy Garden Court into the Rideau Street Convent Chapel, completed in 1888. This beautiful, elaborately painted and stenciled Gothic Revival space has a ceiling of fan vaults that look, literally, like open fans. It was saved from demolition and reconstructed inside the museum. So lovely.
Our brains numb with fabulous impressions, we had dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant, Vetta Osteria and Bar, on Bank Street. One wall opened, offering al fresco dining. If you go, try the Penne Osteria with sausage, onions and mushrooms.
The next day, eager to see Parliament Hill, seat of Canada’s federal government and buildings iconic to the city’s skyline, we got tickets for a free tour.
In a word, the grounds, buildings and Victorian summer pavilion are stately. Ottawa was chosen as Canada’s capital in 1857. Constructed in the 1860s in Gothic Revival style, their verdigris copper roofs and filigree wrought-iron work can be seen for miles on a bluff overlooking the Ottawa River. It’s hard to believe that, in 1916, nearly the entire Centre Block – the main structure with the clock tower in it – burned down and had to be rebuilt.
Up close, it’s interesting to study the stonework of the pointed arches, the masonry and amusing stone carvings: grotesques, or scary faces, shaped like fanciful animals and creatures. On our tour, we were allowed a scant few, silent moments inside the stunning Library of Parliament, a symmetrical High Victorian Gothic Revival space with a parquet floor of cherry, oak and walnut and paneling of carved white pine.
In the middle stands a luminous white marble statue of Queen Victoria. Our eyes still shooting back and forth, they shooed us out so government workers could labor in peace.
We came back to Parliament Hill after dark. Lit, the buildings had a haunting beauty. Officer Ross Taylor of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police chatted us up from his patrol car and presented us with maple leaf pins and a sticker. So friendly.
In a cultural shift that by now felt so normal for Ottawa, we walked to Chinatown for a great meal at Yangtze Dining Lounge. They prepare Cantonese and Szechuan dishes in a strangely modern building just past the colorful Chinatown Gateway.
On our last day, in the rain we hoofed it from our hotel across the Pont Alexandra Bridge high over the Ottawa River to the city of Gatineau in neighboring Quebec and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Fabulously large and newly renovated and stuffed full of Canada’s social and human history, it’s the place to learn about the country’s First People. In the Grand Hall are scores of totem poles from the Aboriginals on the Pacific Coast and thousands of artifacts – tools, clothing, tents, canoes.
On the third floor, in Canada Hall, life-sized settings allow visitors to explore 1,000 years of the country’s history. The entire place wore out our feet.
We agreed that we would love to vacation here again. Friends invited us to their home in the suburbs for a meal of tender barbecued venison; others took us out for Thai food in Byward Market and for dessert at BeaverTails.
This popular stand sells deep-fried dough flattened into an oval. Our favorite version was slathered with melted butter and generously drizzled with maple syrup. We heard that, in winter, these have to be gobbled up really fast or the syrupy topping hardens to icing. It’s a decadent, artery-blocking treat. We went back twice more.
Next time in Ottawa, we’d take a boat trip on either the Rideau Canal or Ottawa River. Or both. Why not? We’d visit Gatineau Park, a huge nature preserve with free admission, offering all kinds of hiking, biking, even beaches.
And we’d be sure not to miss the Canadian Tulip Festival, celebrating Canada’s friendship with the Dutch Royal family. Ever since the royals were offered safety in Canada during World War II, the grateful Dutch have sent tulips to Canada. One day we’ll see that.
Southport stunner has Surfers views
by Shae Johnson
Margaret and Bernard Quirk and their three daughters were living in a single-level house within the exclusive gated estate when they bought this property for $1.55 million four years ago. “We love being in a gated estate, the security is great and it’s so lovely and quiet and peaceful,” Mrs Quirk said. “We love the wide water and this is a good entertaining home.”
The contemporary, dual-storey Plantation Homes residence of 474sqhm presents with a rendered facade. A stacked stone water feature sits before the sandstone front porch where double doors open to a foyer where cream polished porcelain floor tiles are introduced, a wrought-iron chandelier hangs within a void and a split staircase makes for a feature.
Double doors to the right reveal a media loungeroom with white plantation timber shutters and cream carpet. To the left is a fully-tiled powder room, the laundry with stone surfaces and a folding room in which the Quirks have installed a shower. Blackbutt timber floors add warmth to the combined open-plan living and entertaining area which commences with a generous gourmet kitchen.
Cupboards are on both sides of a huge island bench topped with Caesarstone and there is a walk-in pantry, a five-burner gas cooktop, glass splashbacks and integrated Miele appliances. Double doors opposite the kitchen open to a study facing a patio courtyard with an awning.
Soft green walls skirt the billiards room, dining space and the living room where shutters dress glass sliding doors opening to a covered, sandstone tiled alfresco dining area and ensuing timber deck crowned by a pergola.
Glass facing allows for views across the tiled pool to the wide waters of the tidal lake while the Surfers Paradise skyline and prominent Q1 are seen to the side.
Upstairs is an open rumpus room, a bedroom, a fully tiled bathroom, two ensuited bedrooms and the master bedroom which has a dressing room, a private waterfront balcony and an open ensuite with a spa, a double vanity and a TV.
The triple garage has epoxy floors, drive through access on side and there is off-street parking for an additional five vehicles. Body corporate fees are about $55 per week and the gated estate.
We visit the Bradbury Building, where the past and future collide in Blade Runner
by Sean O’Neal
When Ridley Scott needed a place to stage the climax of Blade Runner—his sci-fi noir set in a future Los Angeles that’s also a graveyard of its past—he found it, and the film’s conceptual epicenter, in the Bradbury Building. The architectural marvel has been around since 1893, its elaborate wrought-iron railings, cage elevators propelled by exposed gears and pulleys, and enormous peaked skylight all straddling several centuries of design past and yet-to-be. Like the world depicted in the film, it’s a clash that makes the Bradbury feel completely divorced from time. And like a Replicant, it’s a thing of power and beauty, crafted from cold mechanics.
As pointed out by our guest, film locations expert Harry Medved, it’s also a really great place to stage a detective story. Over the years, the Bradbury has played host to numerous cat-and-mouse games, long before Harrison Ford prowled it looking for Rutger Hauer, including classic noirs like D.O.A. (and some not-so-classics like I, The Jury). The wide, facing sets of staircases and long, parallel landings provide the perfect environment for stalking and chasing. All five floors look down upon an open court that practically begs for a shootout scene or someone plummeting to their death. It’s even got genuine detective bona fides, seeing as the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Department currently calls it home.
Likewise, the Bradbury’s connection to tales of the strange and fantastic also goes back for decades—way before Blade Runner, or its appearance in The Outer Limits episode “Demon With A Glass Hand”—to its very inception. According to legend, the building’s architect, George Wyman, initially refused to take on the project, but relented after a conversation he says he had with his dead brother through a Ouija board. Wyman claims he received a message from beyond reading, “Take the Bradbury building and you will be successful” (with the word “successful” written upside down). For years, that message resided in the possession of Wyman’s grandson—the late author, collector, and all-around science-fiction enthusiast Forrest J. Ackerman.
Even Wyman’s design had its roots in sci-fi, inspired as it was by Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, an 1887 novel that envisioned a utopian society in the far-off year 2000. In Bellamy’s future, the average commercial building was a “vast hall of light” flooded by an overhead dome—a description Wyman made a reality in the Bradbury, which glows from its center with a heart of pure sunshine. The surrounding railings, gnarled to create the illusion of growing vegetation, complete the impression of life emanating from so much dead marble and iron.
Of course, by the time Ridley Scott sought the Bradbury out in 1981, it wasn’t life he was looking for. By then the building had fallen into disrepair, its once-grand interior dilapidated and thus easily transformed into the sort of murky, neglected corner that William Sanderson’s J.F. Sebastian could hole up in and similarly age before his time. As glimpsed in the movie, across the street there was also the Million Dollar Theater—once the lavish playground of film’s most famous stars, now mostly a memorial to that golden era. The Bradbury and its section of South Broadway was thus the perfect setting for a future Los Angeles that seemed to be suffocating on the broken reminders of itself.
It’s gotten better. A massive restoration of the Bradbury was undertaken in 1991, and as the real world nears the dystopian 2019 seen in the film, the 2013 Bradbury gleams and bustles with both tenants and visiting cinema buffs. Its depiction in more modern movies reflects that rebirth: It’s the place where Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes, full of optimism, to seek new opportunities professional and otherwise at the end of (500) Days Of Summer. It’s where Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo symbolically meet on the stairs in The Artist, what’s behind and what’s to come once more crossing trajectories in the Bradbury’s halls. And even if, let’s say, Los Angeles does become an unlivable wasteland prompting its citizens to seek new lives in off-world colonies, it seems likely that the Bradbury will still be standing, a lasting monument to dreams of the future.