Strolling and snapping down the street

Jul 27, 2013 by


trainwomantracks copy

Lady in Red, Waiting. | Amtrak Station, Charleston, W.Va. | photo | july 2013

The town where I live is not a big town
. Neither is it a bump and a burp in the road. It is quite walkable, which I like to do whenever possible. You only ever get the true measure of a city by walking it all over. You also get to peek into its alleys, which is like seeing what someone’s bathroom looks when you pop in unexpectedly and they’ve not given it that once-over for guest eyes.

This sparrow’s-eye view of the lady in red above is only possible from the sidewalk above the tracks at the Amtrak station in Charleston, W.Va., across the river. The Amtrak hoots through the valley twice a week, headed one way one day — to Chicago. Headed the other a few days later, to Washington, D.C., home of so many powerful scoundrels and puppets and puppies of the puppet masters.

What we’re left with — when not fighting the good fight or curled beneath the duvet from daily news despair — is daily life. My Thursday nights are spent hosting a cabaret round this corner of Kanawha Boulevard. This corner is music central in town. I’ve dreamed of moving our downstairs joint into the first floor of this building, whose curvilinear coolness at the corner of Capitol Street and the Boulevard I’ve long admired.

Kanawha Boulevard Stroll | Summer 2013 | douglas imbrogno photo

Kanawha Boulevard Stroll | Summer 2013 | douglas imbrogno photo

There is something about a building
that curves around its corners. It softens the cityscape. The hard, straight lines of the city, chopped into blocks and rectangles by modern skyscrapers, are opposed and critiqued by a curvy building. Its lines mimic the meanders and rounded edges of Nature, which in any West Virginia city or burg is never far away.

I like living in a city I can walk across. I would like, though, if the sushi place down Capitol Street wasn’t closed when I walk in at 9:05 p.m., after being besieged with a sudden jones for California Roll and miso soup. Fortunately, Adelphia’s is open down the block. And by jove they’re still serving at their open-air tables out front. Which, trust me, eating a Caaser’s Salad with grilled shrimp streetside is a relatively new event here.

NOTE TO ADELPHIA: When a customer asks the waitress who keeps calling him ‘darling’ and ‘honey’ if he can add shrimp to his Caesar’s, you  should really put more than three in there. I’m sure this wouldn’t happen in Barcelona. But… at least. A Caesar’s salad, out of doors. I head back to my cabaret joint because now I’m jonesing for a Campari. Trust me, too: Finding one of those in these hills is a balm to the Italian soul.

Looking up. Corner of Kanawha and Capitol, Charlesotn, W.Va. | photo | June 2013

Looking up. Corner of Kanawha and Capitol, Charleston, W.Va. | photo | June 2013

~ douglas imbrogno | 07.27.13

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  1. Golden Louisville David

    It is nice to see un-cropped, full size photographs with words and layout. Perhaps there is hope to attract people from the immediacy of Facebook to a more engaged online experience. These are great “snapshot” photographs and, I mean that in the best way. I am reminded of that book I mentioned to you, “Drive By Shootings,” some superb, spontaneous images made a former engineer who quit it all and drove a cab in New York shooting photos along the way.

  2. admin

    Yeah, I get tired of the bite-size photos of FB, Twitter and beyond. Thanks. Will check out that book. I think once I realized for the umpteenth-hundreth time that no mass audience awaits most blogs, including this one, only a trickling stream, that I stopped waiting for them. I just decided to build it and if anyone came there was something here to see. Something, most importantly, they might not see except through these eyes. Anyway, I am in it for the long haul Golden Louisville David. (BTW, I have a short video coming on your older golden brother ….)