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The Friday Ramble: Taking it to the streets and enjoying the quirks of summertime

Several weeks ago I posted on the idea of applying New Urbanist philosophies in the urban environs. One comment suggested that these projects were taking place in urban areas and that because of their success it was difficult to tell of their existence. Scrolling through the posting on, I found a link to a story done on NPR about a new development in Atlanta. Ironically, it’s a former colleague of another friend recently mentioned on the blog, Chris Miller, who’s the project’s financier. The accompanying audio archive of the story provides many of the traditional arguments presented on both sides about what is really the future of real estate development. This is despite the fact that it is in part an attempt to relive “the best of times” in city planning. I’d be interested in visiting the development site during the summer to take a look at just how successful it is. It may even serve as a great way to do comparisons of projects in the region.

As the weather heats up around here, the ultimate question begins to come up: “What is there to do?” It’s still a slight adjustment living here in the summer months compared to life in Savannah. Yesterday was the first “Thirsty Thursday” of the young minor league baseball season at historic Grayson Stadium. I sent my regards to Frank Dinan, the only man allowed to sell beer in the stands at the ballpark on Victory Drive via friends preparing to make the first journey to the park during the summer. Frank and I had a system that was pretty cool (though it does make me wonder just what it means about me). The best example of it is a story that I use to explain life in Savannah.

It’s the first time that Betsy is attending a Sand Gnats game, along with two other mutual friends. Frank is about one section over away from us along the first base line. He yells out, “I have one Bud Heavy left, who wants it?” I answer back, “I do, Frank!” My friends look at me as though I’m nuts for screaming an answer to the beer man. Their looks change to shock when he replies, “I already have one here for you, André; I’m bringing it now! This is for someone else to have!” The next question inevitably from Damon was “Why does the beer man know you by your first name?” “Because he’s Frank, and everybody knows Frank.” And for several years, as if by clock work, I’d walk into the stands and Frank would appear within the first minute, as if by magic. We’d talk about baseball, the Yankees, jobs, friends who used to come out to the games to watch, etc. If I ever was over on Hilton Head, I’d visit him at one of his “day” jobs, selling suits at one of the malls.

I’ll probably make the trek over sometime this season and pay a visit to him in the stands. The games were exciting, when we actually won, but I have a feeling that it’s a bonus and not as much fun as the times shared with friends and regulars. I’m hoping to one day get to that point here at one of these local sporting venues, and there are plenty of them. Philip over at the Weekly published this story for those of you not in the area who wonder how I live without Sand Gnats baseball. BTW, Gnats won last night!

Feels like summer here in Birmingham on this fine day. As I wrap up and attempt to catch up on work over the weekend, I’d like to do a rare musical recommendation on the blog. A buddy of mine from college, Rori Shapiro, found my MySpace profile yesterday. She’s got a profile up with some songs from her first release and from an upcoming project. Check it out as you find ways to relax with your family for whatever reason. Enjoy the weekend!


Published inpeopleThe Ramblesurban issues