Across the tracks due east from OSU lies Linden, which is Columbus' take on the hood. South Linden is the much rougher of the two halves and is either the worst or next to worse neighborhood in the city. Someone I know there bought a house and told me that last summer alone he was broken into three times. That kind of thing probably gets old and very well could explain why Linden lost over 4,400 residents from 1990-2000 and who knows how many more from 2000-2010. North Linden has a some decent patches here and there, but it's not without its problems. For any San Franciscan bemoaning the loss of their gritty neighborhoods, well, I can only imagine the paradise that Columbus would offer: we got those in spades. In 2010, the city of Columbus gave the Greater Linden Development Corp. $28,000 for revitalization efforts, while the gentrified neighborhood of Victorian Village received a $150,000+ for a tiny gateway treatment on the SE corner of a local park that is literally X feet by X feet.
Maybe it wasn't the best day for South Linden to work it's charm on me, since my impression lacked the optimism I have for other unloved commercial streets. Aside from the sun beating down on me there were numerous cop cars, a few sirens here and there, drivers tending to barrel down behind me despite there being a wide open left lane, then the fact that although Cleveland Ave is the heart of the neighborhood, it's mostly residential with only a tiny bit of urban commercial buildings here and there. I'm guessing it was a bit more substantial before several were torn down for grass and parking lots. In fact, a good number of homes have been converted to commercial use for either a church or barber shop, usually a couple of the same kind right next to each other (couldn't they have made it more interesting with a church and then a barber shop instead of a church and a church or a barbershop and a barber shop?). Every time I head back into the Short North from one of these large neighborhoods out east I get reverse culture shock. It's as if N High St is in it's own bubble and totally oblivious/unconnected to the rest of the city. Welcome to the other side of the tracks; this is more of what the majority of urban Columbus looks like.
Coming up from the south is Linden's Gateway, a new development.
Much too car-oriented.
Heading up here there was religious music being which later turned into fire and brimstone screeching, "The only thing worse than going to hell is going to hell with your children and your grandchildren!!!" Just what the neighborhood needs: religious fanaticism. Forget about education, that's not what's seriously needed here.
I stopped in on the way back (the woman screaming about damnation was an interesting contrast to the Caribbean music in the restaurant).
The jerk chicken and festival (lightly sweet fried dough) was tasty and I chatted a bit with a couple of the friendly employees there who are in fact Jamaican. I was even given a taste of the oxtail which was even better than the chicken. I should have asked about the increase in a Caribbean presence on Cleveland Ave. It's too bad that native locals who were here before them haven't done as much to improve the street in comparison.
Sprawl makes everything better.
The skinniest sidewalk in Columbus?
Wait a minute; what
exactly is open during these hours?
Bonus Hamilton Ave pics!
Failed attempt at traffic calming. The whole stretch is very awkward on a bike with vague painted lines suggesting parking, but aren't used so you just feel like you should ride there.
After much abated breath, I give you the other half of Linden. While the business district on Cleveland Ave traverses the entire neighborhood, only a smaller southern portion is urban, but it is more dense than anything in South Linden. I have to say I dig the north side. Clearly, it can use more work, but it's got a few destinations worth making the trip up here and some of the residential streets are pretty nice. While residents may feel ignored by the rest of the city, COTA certainly hasn't and it's one of the only times I've been impressed by them.
Cleveland Ave starting from the south. This is a cool little building.
He's a mechanic.
North Linden has its own Family Dollar too, but this one looks more dingy.
Who knew Linden was so much like Paris?
At least the building is being used for something.
I don't think she's going to make it...
Thought I'd sample a little Caribbean food in this well-known Linden restaurant.
After I placed my order I saw these and they're only a $1.75 each.
I got the special soup of the day, red pea soup and a side of coco bread. Ran me $5 and was more filling than I expected. Now I've got two spots in Linden to get my Caribbean fix.
Formerly the restaurant Royal Rasta Redemption which served ital Rastafarian food is now a night spot which may or may not serve food. Anyone been?
Yay! 1st bike rack in Linden: that was me.
New Harvest Cafe is moving the dining area from around the corner to this spot, while the original spot will be more for lounging.
The owner, Kojo, is very active in improving the community and is very easy to chat with. The interior isn't what you'd expect.
Time to browse the menu to sample something here. Luckily I had a paltry breakfast.
I got the meatloaf, greens (they have their own garden), and had to get me a bowl of damn soup. It's still pretty cold out, you know. After talking about the history of the neighborhood and why he chose to live here (it reminds him of Chicago and he couldn't stand living in the burbs east of 270) he encouraged me to check out the garden in the back down the alley.
Before heading down the alley here are a couple of homes next door.
This looks like a typical dumpster, but its solar powered.
No, the garden doesn't have tires in it.
It's over here.
Poor girl got splashed by a wide vehicle driving in the right lane right after I took this. The sidewalks here are narrow and right up against the street.
Another black woman wearing niqab (hijab covers the hair, niqab covers the entire head except the eyes) was curious about why I was taking a picture of this building, so I told her it was for my neighborhood guide. She said it's no longer a carpet place, but a place of worship. I'm guessing a mosque?
Another view. They have gyros at The City Market. Camel meat anyone? Don't worry; it's halal. I have to say I'm intrigued, but after seeing a camel's head hanging at a stand with various parts of the insides basking in the sun at a stand in Old Fez, I'm bit off-put.
Past the fork in the road you enter sprawl territory.
So now time for a few residential streets. I headed over to traffic circle-lined Dresden and came back down on Bremen.
Someone has a serious case of the blues.
Families with kids live here. How about that?
Someone should tell this guy that he's really a Michigan fan and he's just trying to hide it by overcompensating.
Aww. they're so cute together.