Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Small Southern Cities and Towns

I visited Columbia, South Carolina in February. The city slogan is "Famously Hot" and it was nice to feel the sun and 70 degree temperatures. I don't think I'd hazard a summertime trip, though. It's a small city, with a Governor's Mansion, municipal buildings, USC--home of the Gamecocks, and two areas that are undergoing gentrification---the Vista and Five Points.

I'm no stranger to gentrification...having lived in Long Island City, NY for 20 years. My neighborhood was called an "industrial backwater" (by outsiders) for years...but we were the ones with low taxes, the view of the NYC skyline and a 5 minute commute into Midtown Manhattan! "Everyone" has figured it out though, and now there are dozens of shiny condo and apartment buildings, and thousands of young professionals, and baby strollers replacing the dwindling (mostly) Italian population. In "up and coming" neighborhoods like mine was in Hunters Point, LIC, I like to look for the vestiges of old...shop signs with no area code, business names stenciled onto the sides of brick buildings, etc...

My favorite sign of all...in my old neighborhood. Still in business, and they have a wooden water tower on the roof. They 'refused' to sell, so the old building is tucked between luxe condos.

Columbia, SC has a bit of that flavor, albeit on a smaller scale. There are art galleries, walking paths along the river, coffee and cupcake shops, antiques shops, restaurants and bars in restored railroad buildings and warehouses...but I wasn't moved to take pictures of those.

Here are some random snaps from that weekend.

On another short roadtrip, I spent two days in the Grover/Shelby, NC area in March via a Living Social Deal...and though the B&B wasn't to my liking, the other guests were fun and I enjoyed walking around and seeing a very small town, through the lens. Here are some snaps:

Really?! The Yard of the Month Award??
A name you can trust? I hope they don't manufacture signs.

One stop shopping: Nightcrawlers, tanning, cigs and ice!

Livermush. It's what's for dinner.

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