Goodbye Smalls

In a rampant rumor which has “not” been “confirmed” by “two” “sources” now, Smalls appears to be closing after tonight to make room for Mars.  This surprises no one for exactly two reasons:

  1. It was popular and unique, offering some variety to the otherwise cookie-cutter downtown area
  2. It’s been there over a year

As you know, any venue falling into one of those categories — let alone both — doesn’t last long downtown.  And while Mars was pretty cool back in the day, that door was slammed shut a long time ago.  Bringing back “Mars Remixed” just feels like a cheap publicity stunt.  Moreover, with a seemingly booming business, it’s hard to see a good reason for Smalls to shutter.

At any rate, they’ll be missed.  The music wasn’t entirely my thing, but it was 100% better than hearing the exact same 20 songs you hear everywhere else.  Smalls was a breath of fresh air downtown.

Roxbury News

Seems that someone didn’t appreciate the footage captured by Roxbury News.  More than one local political-type figure has had more than one embarrassing and/or inappropriate outburst, antic, or instance of conduct preserved forever thanks to Roxbury.  And now it seems that maybe, just maybe, one of those political-types may have bitten off more than they can handle.

Continue reading Roxbury News

Abandoned Turnpike, Part 2

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940 with seven tunnels. Today, only five remain open. Three have been bypassed (Laurel Hill, Rays Hill, and Sideling Hill) and one more (Lehigh) has been built on the northeast extension. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is currently planning to bypass the Allegheny Tunnel, which would result in the first abandoned twin-tube tunnel on the turnpike. But for now, the abandoned stretch between Route 30 and Pumping Station Road is home to 66% of the bypassed tunnels. And they’re open for business.

Continue reading Abandoned Turnpike, Part 2

Abandoned Turnpike, Part 1

Despite how much fun it is to poke fun at our local roads, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is actually a pretty great road. Then-new features such as long entrance ramps, banked turns, and limited access have caused the Turnpike to become a standard against which all the Interstate systems have been built. It was so revolutionary for its time (designed and built in the 1930s, opened in 1940) that eager drivers rapidly saturated the road’s capacity — and their eagerness is what ultimately led to our explorations this past Sunday.  For a basic primer on the abandoned segment of the PA Turnpike, see my previous post.

Continue reading Abandoned Turnpike, Part 1

PA Turnpike

Today our trio is heading up to Breezewood to explore the abandoned stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike that I talked about previously. With a little luck, the weather will hold, the snakes will stay away, and nobody will fall through a hole in the ceiling. You’d better believe I’ll be posting full photo and video (if my battery holds, which is unlikely) tours tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you know of any other Pennsylvania weirdness, I’d love to hear about it.

EDIT:  Just arrived back home a few hours ago.  The four of us got our asses kicked by the deceptively simple-sounding trail, but it was worth it.  Full details will post on Monday, and a complete photo spread later in the week.  Right now I need to sleep for the next 20 hours.