Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Day in Ann Arbor Part I

So after it was determined that power was not coming back to work any time soon, they decided to let us go home.  Since I had my camera with me and I'd been meaning to wander around Central Campus for a while, I decided to do that.  After lunch at Grand Traverse Pie Company, I realized I had quite a bit of walking to do.  And that's what I did.
 As I was waiting at the light, I snapped this shot.  Normally when I go down to Ann Arbor, it is either after work or on a weekend.  As a result, I don't get to see the normal hustle and bustle of the town.  There is definately a bunch of activity as it is the site of a major university.
I decided to park at the parking structure near the former Border's, so I took this picture as I was heading to lunch.
 And then I decided to take this picture.
 These next couple of pictures are out of the order that I took them in because they are all related.  I first found about Borders when I was a freshman in College.  A friend of mine showed me this really cool bookstore that was on State Street.  They had just about every book that I could imagine (and then some).  It was always an adventure to go to Borders mainly because at the time I didn't have a car and I was reliant on the bus.

At some point after I graduated, they moved to the former Jacobson's Building.  Their old store was bursting at the seams and they decided to branch out into selling music, videos and software.  I'm not sure on the exact timeline because it seemed like shortly after this, they started to expand beyond Ann Arbor.  So Borders wasn't something special especially when they were bought by K-Mart.
 Then at some point, Amazon hit and started to take on the brick and mortar shops.  In what was probably one of the more boneheaded business decisions, Borders decided to team up with Amazon.  I think business schools are puzzling over that one because Borders had a pretty sophisticated inventory system as it seemed like it would have been a pretty easy transition for them to go to the web.  Especially when you consider the number of programmers in the Ann Arbor area.

Needless to say, the relationship didn't go too well.  Amazon continued to grow and Borders started to show up on the Wall Street deathwatch lists.  After a couple of Chapter 11's, Borders finally announced they were closing their doors.  I'll have to admit, it was a pretty sad day for me because I did like to browse and most of the time when I went to browse, I would get something there.  But alas, time marches on....
 This is the Borders location that I remember when I first came to the Ann Arbor area.  Evidently, this wasn't the first Borders store as they bounced around Ann Arbor before settling here.  As I said, it was an experience to come to this location because the only other place where I saw so many books was the library.  Oh would be nice to see another Borders rise from the ashes, but I'm guessing that's not going to happen especially with the advent of the Kindle, Nook and other e-book readers.
 So now we get back in order.  Situated between Tally Hall (or whatever it is being called these days) is this alleyway.  I kind of like it because of all the grafitti.  This may be a picture better suited for HDR if I knew how to do that.
 On the other side of the hole you saw in the last picture.  A very interesting set of grafitti.
 Some of the details.
 I liked the lion head but I alos liked the poem or whatever above it.
 So I took a picture of it.
 And then I continued my tour.  The State Theater.  I remember when there was more to it than now.  It used to show first run movies.  Now it has midnight shows and art shows.
 Looking down State Street.
 The Red Hawk Grill.  I'm half tempted to see if I can find some old pictures of Ann Arbor to do a then and now type thing.  I've got to believe this was some sort of shop in the past.
 In case you forgot what street you were on.  This is the downtown Noodles and Company.  Even though it's a chain, it's a pretty good restaurant.  The food is reasonably priced and reasonably healthy.
 The front of the Nickels Arcade.  More pictures in the next post.
 It wouldn't be a tour of Ann Arbor without a picture of the Burton Memorial Tower.  I have a feeling if I had caught it earlier in the day, there would have been more snow on the face.
 The Triton Fountain.
 You can see some of the snow on the face of the Tower.  It was kind of cool as I was walking around it because someone was playing the Carillon.  You can definately see characteristics of Albert Kahn in it.
 The Rackham Building of the University of Michigan.  Another Kahn building and another impressive looking building.
 Some of the details of the building.
 I probably should have straightened this one out, but I kind of like the effect.
 Same with this one.
 Looking kind of skewed, but you can see some of the nice touches on the building.
 Looking out from the Rackham Building towards the Diag.  It would almost seem like there was some sort of master plan for the layout of this.
 Another detail on the Rackham Building.  This is one of the things that I like about many Kahn buildings.  He has nice little touches like this.
 Another angle of the Burton Memorial Tower.
 Looking up at the Michigan League Building.  For a long time, this was the Union building for women.
 Looking back at the Rackham Building.
And looking at the other side of the Diag.

This post is continued....

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