Goslings On Parade

It’s spring, so of course we’ve got hatchlings at the Schiller Park pond.  A family of Canadian geese has a brood of four goslings who have been strutting their stuff, to the delight of their proud and protective parents and passersby alike.

The brown goslings are almost unbearably cute, and their tumbling and waddling as they follow Mom and Dad around is fun to watch.  Soon they’ll be losing their downy coats and will emerge as full-grown Canadian geese — one of the most aggressive, loud-honking, crap-anywhere-and-everywhere, obnoxious species of birds that you find around these parts.

I prefer them at this stage.

School Recycling Programs

German Village must have had a lot of kids back in the day, because it has a lot of neighborhood public and parochial schools.  Every few blocks you run across a large multi-story brick building where boys and girls once learned their ABCs.

Over time, the kids grew up, and because new kids didn’t take their places, the buildings grew vacant, and the schools were closed.  Some of these grand structures fell into disrepair.  But recently, the school buildings have been recycled.  One school has been changed into a beautiful private residence.  The Barrett School, below, has been converted into a grand building of one- and two-bedroom apartments that is the cornerstone of a huge development in south German Village.  And the Beck Street school, above, has been reopened as . . . a school, complete with a new school crossing sign.  It’s now a magnet school in the Columbus system.

Almost all of the older public school buildings are pretty, well-made buildings with tall windows and lots of wood.  It’s great that they are being used again.

Flower Power

Our weird winter weather seemed to do a number on this spring’s tulip crop in German Village — at least, it seems like there aren’t as many around this year.  I wonder whether the warmer than normal February, followed by the colder than normal March and early April, took its toll on the flower we traditionally associate with spring (and Holland).

Still, there are a few nice tulip beds to be found, like this beauty on Third Street.  Thanks to whoever planted these lovely flowers — they add a dash of color and flair to my morning and always bring a smile to my face as I pass by.

Tiny Door (IV)

The latest addition to the German Village tiny door club has made its appearance, this time on Macon Alley, near the intersection with Beck.  The elf who lives here must be an indolent athlete — sufficiently skilled and vigorous to scramble up the bricks and latticework, but unwilling to repair his rickety front steps.

Misty Morning Shimmer

Morning walks around German Village can be a feast for the senses.  On days like today, where lingering traces of pre-dawn fog hug the ground and leave a glowing sheen on the brick roadways, you feel like you might just live in a mystical land.  

Those bricks look great on these kinds of mornings, but be wary — they’re death when sleet or freezing rain come to town.

Checking Out Our “Walk Score”

Recently I became aware of a website called walkscore.com that gives neighborhoods in Columbus, and elsewhere, a “walk score,” a “transit score,” and a “bike score.”  The website appears to be used by people who are considering making a move to a new apartment and are interested in finding out how their potential new neighborhood rates in those three categories.  You can check out your neighborhood’s scores here.

gv-sidewalkGerman Village gets an 87 (out of 100) walk score, a 60 transit score, and a 65 bike score.  Those ratings make German Village the second most walkable neighborhood in Columbus, close behind the Short North.  The 87 walk score means that most errands can be accomplished on foot and GV is only a few points short of a “walker’s paradise.”

Speaking as a confirmed walker, it’s hard for me to imagine that you could find a more walkable neighborhood than German Village.  I not only walk to the office every work day, but I also walk to the grocery store (as I did this morning), walk to the wine shop, coffee shop, barber shop, and deli, and walk to a bunch of nearby restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.  I’m not sure what kind of errand could not be achieved on foot from a German Village location — and I also think GV is more convenient to the core downtown area than the Short North is.  The quaint brick roadways, sidewalks, and houses in German Village make hoofing it around our neighborhood a visual treat, too.

The point of this post is not to quibble about German Village’s scores, but rather to note that it’s gratifying to see that people are rating neighborhoods by their “walkability.”  We’d all be better off, from a health, fitness, environmental, infrastructure, and financial standpoint, if more people started to focus on walking when deciding where to live.

The Marathon Comes To GV

They’re running the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon this morning.  The course runs down Third Street and the jogs around Schiller Park.  As I can back from my morning walk, the leaders, pictured above, came running past at an amazingly fast clip.

Each mile of the marathon seems to be dedicated to a different patient at the hospital.  We’re located close to Jessica’s mile, at marker 10.  As I write this from my back porch, I can hear loud rock music and the whoops and hollers of supporters as the marathoners stream past.

The Marathon is something of a hassle, because our primary roads are blocked off for much of the day.  But it’s a good cause, and it brings out lots of volunteers and community spirit.  I guess we can put up with the road closures and war-splitting broadcasts of Jump Around to our quiet neighborhood once a year.