Thursday, February 16, 2017

Film of Grand Rapids 1946

Here is a pretty amazing film of random scenes around Grand Rapids from 1946!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Flying Bridge Art temporarily visible!

The Flying Bridge Fish Market has been closed since October 2016.  I just noticed as I was driving past today that there is now some work to the building going on.  The Western section that was formerly a camera repair shop has had the siding removed and the old wooden siding beneath has some cool hand-painted artwork!  Flying Bridge must have once occupied the whole building.
Some pretty cool artwork there. 

Whatever became to artist "Dave Dunnit" ??  From what I could find out, Dave Marfia was a local artist, used to have a shop near that same corner in the 80s. Was known for doing art on vehicles, motorcycles, shirts or apparently anything you wanted painting on.  Nowadays lives in Sparta and apparently still working.

Also, I actually never knew Flying Bridge was an actual nautical term.  I thought it had to do with possibly some local folklore surrounding the Leonard Street bridge, since this place is right on the Eastern end of it. 

"A flying bridge is an open area on top of a surface ship which provides unobstructed views of the fore, aft, and the sides of a vessel, and which serves as an operating station for the ship's officers, such as the captain or officer of the watch." (The More You Know!!)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sears Woodland

Hi and welcome back to the "Stuff Closing In Grand Rapids Blog" !  Today's item, Sears in Woodland Mall.

Right after last month's closing of the last two area Kmart stores, word was going around January 4th that Sears is closing too. This one has been an anchor at Woodland Mall since it's opening in 1968. It occupies 313,000 square feet, making it one of the largest department stores in the state! 

I can't say I went there very often. I bought my air compressor there that I used to paint my 70s van.  And I once went there to buy a turtleneck for a costume I was making. Because I thought rightfully that Sears was a place where I could still possibly find a turtleneck.

Amazingly, that Sears still had the little key shack out in the parking lot.  Still operating!  What poor employee got to work their shift out in the key shack?  Who got keys made at a Sears key shack?  How would anyone know about it?

Anyway, goodbye Sears. Sorry the Internet ruined everything!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Public Access Santa Call-In 2006

This may not be to everyone's liking but for the holiday time I thought I'd post this clip from a "Santa Call-In" show I produced with the local public access station, GRTV 10 years ago.

I think it's probably the most fun if I present it with no background info and let you guys just enjoy it for what it is....

Merrrrrry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Goodbye Kmart!

 It's become a real pattern here that when I post a new update, it's about another cool, old thing going away.  2016 was quite a year, huh?  Things I can think of off the top of my head that closed this year- Flying Bridge Fish Market, Great Lakes Shipping Company, Konkle's Bar, DJ's Lounge, Elliot's News Stand is about to go.... And now Kmart!

I've posted before of my love for Kmart. Trips to that store were a big deal in my childhood.
In my mind's eye, it will always look like this....

And not this.....

Byron Center Kmart on it's last day, December 11th 2016

Also, this time of year will always make me think of this.....

As of December 11th, Grand Rapids Kmart on Plainfield- the last remaining piece of North Kent Mall- is closed. Same with Byron Center Kmart on 68th St.

Byron Center Kmart opened October 3rd, 1994 and the Plainfield location opened February 23rd 1978.  The longest running Kmart in Grand Rapids, 38 years of business!

There are still locations open in Muskegon and Hastings, if you feel like a nostalgia road trip! Not like it would really be the same, but sometimes if I find myself in one of these stores I like to daydream about them good ol' childhood days.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Some ancient civilization is visible while they're working on this building downtown...

I was walking downtown and came upon some work being done on the 50 Monroe building.  When I moved here in the 80s I remember it being white with mirrored windows. At some point in the last few years it was redone to charcoal. Right now it looks like some of the exterior has been removed and underneath some very old architecture is revealed! ....

So from what I could find, this is actually three buildings joined together, dating from 1890 to 1911. 
It once looked like this:

And also this....

Here you can see the "Chic University" sign which is partially visible in the new photos above.
Apparently the reason the pieces of building are being removed is that the building was recently purchased by a real estate company 4 1/2 years ago and they are considering historic renovation.  That would be pretty amazing if they could bring it back to looking like it did in these old photos!

Anyway, I really like "Elliot's News Stand" that still resides in the building and has for 30 years.  I often stopped in there for a coffee and donut and sometimes a copy of "Heavy Metal."  I hope they are able to continue.

Also, apparently Chic University of Cosmetology still exists.  I was aware of them because a couple girls I knew in the 80s were going there but also, it seemed like they were running TV ads all the time.  I actually found one of them on one of my VHS copies of Pepsi Dance Trax.

Here, I uploaded it to youtube for you...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Happy Halloween Retro-GR!

The other night me and my friend and fellow "80s DJ" Dana West, aka "DJ Silvahalo" played some records at Harmony Brewing for their vinyl night. We made a fun Halloween mix and I thought I'd make it available hear to listen to and download.

I wasn't keeping a track listing but in this pretty eclectic 2 1/2 hour mix you'll hear John Carpenter, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Bauhaus, Depeche Mode, Front 242, Berlin, David Bowie, Oingo Boingo, sountracks of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Rocky Horror picture Show, Fright Night, Lost Boys, Ghostbusters (but not that song), Monster Squad, Halloween, The Fog and a bunch of vintage Halloween sound effects records. Amazingly, neither of us "80s DJs" brought Michael Jackson Thriller but that's okay. Having to play only from vinyl changes what we have available to play and personally I think it's fun working with limitations. Also, the little pops and scratches and all give it a nice organic feel that's different from digital. Well, I mean even though you are now listening to it as a digital file!
 I like how this came out and I hope you get some spooky enjoyment out of it!

You can stream from the widget below or download the whole MP3 file here: