Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n05)
Howling at the Moon by Susan Smith
posted: Mar. 09, 2007
Six years ago, a young man who was buying his first house told me that it had to have sidewalks. I thought it odd that it wasn't the number of bedrooms or baths that was important. He explained that he had been born at 64th and Broadway and he wanted to be in a "neighborhood". His definition of a neighborhood was a tree-lined street with neighbors out in front walking their dogs and visiting on the sidewalk. Sidewalks. Have you ever really thought about them? I hadn't until that day. It was an entity I had always taken for granted since I, too, had been born in Broad Ripple. I grew up on Winthrop, where sidewalks were just there. What he said has stuck with me and ever since I have had a different perspective.
Sidewalks are a special part of Broad Ripple Village. The neighboring communities of Butler Tarkington and Meridian Kessler are linked by them, and it is an enjoyable stroll into the Village from there. Over the years the restaurants have added outdoor dining. In the summer it's the most sought-after seating: we can sit and watch the world go by at the Corner Wine Bar, Broad Ripple Steak House and Ambrosia. It's so European...so charming!
The sidewalk in front of the Vogue could tell stories. Often times people are lined up around the corner waiting for a special show. Have any of you met anyone interesting while waiting in line?
There's a relatively new foot bridge in Broad Ripple over the canal at College so that more people can walk safely; it has become a landmark. The bridge over the canal at Guilford has become a meeting place for people on its sidewalks. It is one of the most colorful places in the Village, literally and figuratively. The Village sidewalks were once so desirable for skateboarding that it had to be discouraged.
Our dogs love our sidewalks. I have a new friend, Cherokee, who walks with his owner to The Aristocrat at 52nd and College regularly for a dog biscuit. I am told he now walks to my store, City Dogs Grocery, at 8:00 AM and waits at the door for a biscuit. Sadly, I am not there until 10:00 AM. The Monon Coffee Shop understands, however. They have a water bowl out in front on hot days and always a jar of dog biscuits in the window. What dog doesn't beat a path down the sidewalk from the Monon Trail to the Three Dog Bakery?
Some of the Village sidewalks are sad. Have you noticed the increase of black spots on them? It's dirty chewing gum, and it can't be cleaned. It is a forever reminder that we were there and we were irresponsible. Some of them have been uprooted by wonderful old trees which has caused serious crumbling and disrepair, making them hazardous. They need TLC and a face lift, as they have become old timers. Most are original to the neighborhood.
As for me, I became painfully aware of the sidewalk in front of Bleeker Street as I was walking over to the Broad Ripple Bagel Deli. Klutz that I am, two weeks ago I went down hard and still have the scab on my knee. Every one of us must have a scar on our knee from childhood. It's usually proof of a good life playing hard.
I hope to meet all of you out on the sidewalks!
Susan Smith is a life-long area resident and is the owner of City Dogs Grocery located at 52nd and College. Send your pet related questions/comments to susan@BroadRippleGazette.com