Christmas In Columbus

Like other cities, Columbus gets a bit gussied up for the holidays.  It’s entertaining to wander around downtown, enjoying the decorations and the energy and talent that goes into them.

At Columbus City Hall, the towering statue of Christopher Columbus — which depicts the intrepid explorer with a curiously flat top of the head — stands guard over Santa’s workshop.  The little workshop includes a mail slot, where kids can drop off their wish list letters to Santa.

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The Drexel

Columbus is blessed with a remnant of the days when movie houses were stand-alone, single-theater structures found in many neighborhoods. The theater is called the Drexel, and it is found on Main Street in Bexley, a close-in suburb.

The Drexel is a beautiful art deco structure that features a classic neon sign. It hasn’t quite been preserved in its original state; the big theater has been divided into several screening rooms. Still, it is vastly different from, and in many ways preferable to, the cookie-cutter multiplexes found at most shopping malls. Don’t get me wrong — the multiplexes offer the opportunity to see lots of different movies, and we visit them from time to time. It’s nice, however, to walk under the bright sign advertising one of the features being screened, to sit in one of the original theater seats, and to get a distant whiff of what it was like to go to the movies during the glory days of the 1930s and 1940s.

The Drexel typically screens independent films and, occasionally, repertory fare. It’s owned by a non-profit entity, Friends of the Drexel, and is operated by CAPA. Over the years, many volunteers and charitable folks have taken steps to make sure that the Drexel remains in operation, as a cornerstone of the Bexley community. I’m very glad they did.

Down On Elevators

A horrible Midtown elevator accident has caused New York City workers to think twice about using the elevator and to take the stairs instead.

According to news reports, an advertising executive stepped onto an elevator in her building when the elevator unexpectedly shot upward, crushing her between the elevator and the surrounding wall.  Elevator inspectors are trying to determine whether electrical work performed on the elevator a few hours beforehand might have been connected to the incident.  In most elevators, sensors will not permit the elevator car to move unless the doors are fully closed.

Obviously, the woman’s death is awful — but part of the horror comes from the fact that it involves a mundane everyday event somehow gone horribly wrong.  Those of us who work in office buildings step onto elevators many times a day, without a second thought that there might be some mechanical failure that could be life-threatening to users.  We routinely entrust our well-being to technology in the form of large machines that move us from point A to point B and, necessarily, to the human beings who service those machines.  It’s unsettling to think that a single mistake by a mechanic could have such devastating consequences.

I always try to take the stairs at work, mostly because it seems like an easy way to get some exercise during the workday.  Now I’ve got another reason.