Thursday, November 16, 2006

Unique Youngstown...

…It doesn’t quite have the same ring as ‘Unique New York,’ but that doesn’t make us any less interesting. I recall reading a piece in Scene magazine several months ago that pointed out the over-usage of 'New York' and 'Manhattan' as adjectives when describing events in other cities. Example: “Come to the hottest New York style night club in town!!” But what do they have that we don't?

The fact is we have a lot to offer. We are a very diverse city with a lot of character, tons of history, and a bright future. So, in order to foster some dialogue, I would like to pose this question to you:

What do you find unique about Youngstown?

It can be anything at all. The beauty of this question is that it is so broad. I suspect that you already have an answer in mind. Maybe it’s a memory that you have of the city or maybe it’s a piece of little known trivia. Hopefully it's positive. I’ll start things rolling with two very different tales…

I was walking around downtown when I asked myself the question. The answer was revealed to me instantly as I looked to the heavens...

Divine intervention? Maybe. Very unique (and intriguing) column capital? Definitely. Truth be told, this column capital (located at S. Phelps and W. Boardman) is probably not really unique. It may very well be a catalogue piece that turns up in other cities across the country. When I first saw it, though, I remember thinking how cool it was. The same excitement comes over me every time I look up and discover a new detail in the city. The tops of buildings are often a great place to find bits of art and whimsy. Therefore, my answer is that Youngstown is unique because of its buildings and building details.

Of course what makes us unique is not only physical. When asked the same question, a friend answered with an exciting tale of the incredible social clubs throughout the city. What he finds exciting about Youngstown is the strong ethnic diversity and social clubs that we have managed to hold on to. The example he gave was of the Palm Café on Steel Street. Although I have never been there myself, what he described to me sounded wonderful – A weekly spit roast that draws in hoards of people to get a hearty helping of roasted pig or lamb.

I can think of loads of other places around town that have maintained their ethnic roots (think pierogi from St. Stanislaus) while inviting others to join them in celebration (think Gathering of the Irish Clans) and dozens of social clubs that have become institutions (think Avalon Gardens). So...Youngstown is unique because of its diverse associations.

If you think Youngstown is unique, please leave a post today and let us all in on your favorite little piece of it...even if you think it is only important to you. Also, if you have the chance, ask your co-workers/friends/family/bar-tender what their answer would be.

I guarantee you will learn something new and exciting.


Christine E. said...

One of my favorite things about Youngstown is the church festivals in the summer. I've lived in a few cities in the region and the pride and fun that comes with our Youngstown festivals is unrivaled! Perhaps we should try to have more winter and fall festivals as well. I was recently reading a book on Columbus and it mentioned that there isn't much to do in Columbus comparable to other large cities but it is a city full of festivals and activities. The short north has a gallery hop the first Saturday of every month. This event celebrates pedestrian urban life, gives people something cultural to do monthly. It's a good stable idea and spurs the local economy with local activity. Perhaps something like it could happen in Youngstown and be celebrated year round.

Liz said...

Brier Hill Pizza!

Ryan Keating said...

New York Times has a good article today about cities' efforts at attracting young professionals. Check it out:

Ben Trovato said...

Mmmm, pizza...and speaking of food, I'd like to give a shout out to Schwebels, Handels, Klondike bars, Good Humor bars, and Arby's. All were invented/started in or around Youngstown, OH.

Phamwaa said...

Jay's Famous Hot Dogs!

Just kidding.

My mom hasn't been north of Midlothian since 1999. Listens to the police scanner religiously though; think those two items could be linked?

At the rate they're burning the city, they'll have all the green space they want in a couple of years.

Actually, I wish you guys all the luck in the world.