Thursday, December 29, 2016

ON THE AVENUES: The 45 Most Popular NA Confidential Stories of 2016.

ON THE AVENUES: The 45 46 Most Popular NA Confidential Stories of 2016.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

Update of January 1, 2017: On the final day of 2016, in less than 15 hours, something unprecedented happened. This post breezed straight to the top of the year's rankings with room to spare: Gospel Bird's Eric Morris nixes Concrete Jungle concept, opts for seafood, seafood and more seafood at his new restaurant at 324 E. Main in New Albany.

See below for the numbers and synopsis. Accordingly, I've made a few adjustments. It's now a Top 46 List, though the banner will remain as it was. 


Blame it on bottle fatigue because yes, I know.

My weekly column is supposed to be a column -- an essay, a polemic, or something remotely expository. It is not supposed to be a collection of 45 top blog hits of 2016, but that's what you're going to get, albeit without Dick Clark or Casey Kasem to count them down.

Among the year's high points was NAC's 10,000th post on May 7. We're on pace to end the year with 1,370 posts, 121 more than last year's previous record total. To contextualize the numbers below, an average post has between 400 and 500 views; some less, and some more.

The mix of topics reflected in this list is a measure of vindication, given the blog's founding conceit of ultra-localism. We've come full circle since 2004, and in the dawning age of Trumpianity, it will be of renewed importance to keep our gaze fixed on our community, the place where we spend most of our time.

That's because the resistance begins here, and so will change ... if there is to be change at all.

I hope you enjoy this look back at 2016. In New Albany, our peculiar local challenges for 2017 begin tomorrow morning with the advent of bridge tolls. If I'm not completely hungover, I may tote a lawn chair, light a cigar, and chronicle the merriment.

And maybe a cocktail for support.


In ascending order, here are the 45 Most Popular NA Confidential Stories of 2016, according to Blogger's page view metric.


46 - 36


R.I.P. Mick Neely.

There is no calculus for determining the influence this man had with generations of students, not just in music, but in life. Along with the late Bob Youngblood, Mick was a tremendous formative influence on me.



Green Mouse Q and A: How the Summit Springs hilltop clustermuck got to this point.

On Tuesday, Jeff Gahan's handpicked Redevelopment Rubber Stamp Commission will consider the future of Summit Springs, a hilltop commercial development off State Street. The city's TIF Gift to this latest monstrosity is to be road tacked to the hillside.



Aladdin's Cafe is up and running at its new Underground Station location.

"Good News Aladdin's friends and fans. The move is complete, and we will be open Wed. at 12:00 in the Underground Station. Come enjoy our brand new location and beautiful courtyard seating."



The city of New Albany may soon try to destroy a 3,000 to 6,000 year old Native American site to build a dog park.

The Mississippian site of which Anthony Nava speaks in his Fb post is the Cannon Acres Soccer Fields at 1933 Budd Road; specifically, he refers to the soon-to-be-built adjacent dog park, for which finding a visible proponent outside the dreary confines of Jeff Gahan's down-low bunker has been next to impossible.



Wormholes, rabbit holes, ratholes and now this big-ass Caesar Hole on Spring Street Hill.

It's déjà vu all over again. At around 4:00 p.m.on Sunday, at-large councilman Al Knable and family began posting photos on social media.



Why hasn't Gary Humphrey thought of this for the River City Winery?

Good News of the Day: Army of 1,000 Ducks Used as Brilliant Pesticide Alternative (booooooom)



Al Knable's thoughtful and compassionate statement about Chloe Allen's death.

As a city I hope we can muster the discipline and trust to work with one another. Study the problem. Design, fund and implement changes that will make our roads as safe as they can be for all citizens- pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. We must. It's our duty.



Otherwise known as the Ernst Röhm wing of the Clark County Republican Party.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."



Spin the enforcement wheel: Three signs, but how many citations?



I'm overwhelmed and grateful for the collision of Indie Fest, Sativa Gumbo and NABC on Saturday night.

New Albany Indie Fest took place on Saturday. On game day, the event went off with very few hitches, although several seemingly impassable mountains were climbed just to get to the 24th.



Listen, Liberal: "The 1 Book Every Entrepreneur Should Read in 2016."

I'd rather expose the Democratic rot right here at home. When one of them spots me a half-block away and abruptly turns into the alley, I feel like I've accomplished something real.

35 - 26


Join Gregg Seidl for a farewell Drinking with the Dead haunted history tour on Saturday, August 20.

"I'll be hosting my last Drinking With the Dead haunted history tour of New Albany on Saturday, August 20, 2016, and like all of my tours this one will begin at Hugh E. Bir's on the corner of East 4th and Market streets."



My State Street Parking Garage public art dream.

Even better: Hang a Trabi right in the center.



Has time run out for Good Times? If so, what's next at 114 East Market?

About a month ago, the Green Mouse heard a rumor that the building was being purchased by a local businessman, and judging from the scene today, I'm guessing there is finality to the sale. It will be interesting to see what happens next. The building desperately needs deep cleaning and rehabilitation, so let's hope that's coming.



ON THE AVENUES: An imaginary exercise tentatively called The Curmudgeon Free House.

While it is true that I’ve often railed against cults of personality in the local political realm, and pined for the seemingly unreachable ideal of teamwork and multiple minds coming together, what I'm imagining here is a small, sustainable specialty beer café, not a multi-million-dollar City Hall filled with obscure departments and shuffling time servers.



R.I.P. Chloe Allen.

Try to find a Gahan lackey who'll talk for attribution about walkers and bicyclists in this context. They won't do it, presumably because they can't. In the aftermath of Chloe Allen's tragic unnecessary death, our municipal government's knee-jerk cowardice is more than a mere insult. It goes beyond tasteless. It's a threat to public safety.



Tiger Trucking's affectionate "fuck you" to the residents of New Albany.

Of course, Tiger's area near the Greenway/Loop Island portal has been an unsightly, trash-ridden disgrace for a long time. But the company doesn't stop there. Ever since the Main Street beautification project, Tiger has used tiny 13th Street as a de facto company connecting road although urban residential areas.



Nothing to see here. Just a city work crew filling potholes in a private parking lot.

Look closely. Now with two different city logos.



ON THE AVENUES: For New Albany’s Person of the Year, the timeless words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Chloe Allen’s death cannot be allowed to become another forgotten civic footnote. Her passing must not have been in vain. In years to come principled citizens of this city – the ones for whom conscience isn’t a high school vocabulary term to be discarded once they’re elected to office – must forcibly insist that her memory be honored, nay, overtly exploited for the sake of a worthwhile agenda. Specifically, an agenda of public safety in this city.



Summit Springs and the torrential stormwater view from the Burger King parking lot.

A few pics from the Burger King parking lot and downstream on State Street. How much thought was put into that illegally issued Storm Water Permit?



BREAKING: Two more pedestrians have been struck by a driver at the intersection of Spring and Vincennes.

At around 4:45 p.m., it appears that two pedestrians were struck at the intersection of Spring and Vincennes in New Albany. The driver who hit them was northbound on Vincennes. The passenger side of the front window was shattered, and there was debris in the street. The first ambulance was leaving as I arrived on the scene, with the second following a few minutes behind it.

25 - 16


Eat, drink and repeat: Six updates about downtown New Albany food and dining.

When there is time, it's always good to gather various news items and social media postings into one place -- and today there is time.



Bicentennial Park Snow Schlong proves conclusively that public art can be turgid, indeed.

This Big Bicentennial Park Johnson's pointed right at you.



You know, that building where Abe's Rental used to be (140 E Main St).

Designed by Louisville firm Sullivan and Cozart, this Art Deco gem was built in 1929 for Harry Goulding, for use as a service station. It remained in the Goulding family until 2003. Later it was a Sears auto service center, then Abe's Rental.



Sam's at the Montrose goes, and Rails Craft Brew & Eatery arrives.

The second location of Rails Craft Brew & Eatery will take over the Sam's at the Montrose space. Rails is from Seymour, and as with Flat12 Bierwerks before it, I think you'll see more "northern" independent food and drink businesses opening branches hereabouts.



Sativa Gumbo’s 20th Anniversary Reunion Tops New Albany Indie Fest 2016.

New Albany Indie Fest marks its fifth year in 2016 with a headlining 20th anniversary performance by the reunited Sativa Gumbo.



Top Ten posts at NA Confidential for May, 2016.

Thanks for reading NA Confidential, where we annoyingly burrow beneath the headlines to offer unique local perspectives. May was yet another gratifying month in terms of blog traffic, and the posts highlighted here attest to a keen interest for local stories, perhaps because they're not being served elsewhere.



Have some cake at Cafe 157's grand opening on Tuesday, May 17.

It's the new cafe/gallery/gift shop business located in the former Bread & Breakfast space at 157 E. Main.



Now it's official: Aladdin's Cafe is moving to Underground Station in July.

You already know that Aladdin's Cafe offers the finest Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine in town, and now the other secret's out.



More about the renovation of that building where Abe's Rental used to be.

As noted yesterday, the art deco building at 140 E. Main Street finally has been sold after years of vacancy, and is being renovated.



Wrong-way deer on wrong-way Spring Street in wrong-way city. At least there'll be venison tarts for high tea.

Bob Caesar quickly faxed a statement to the press: "This obviously was an anti-establishment deer to have been running the wrong way on a right-way street that quickly and efficiently brings customers to read the "closed" sign on my former business."

15 - #1


Trumple-down carny economics: The needs of Fiesta Rides outweighs the needs of bricks and mortar indie businesses at Underground Station.

When all is said and done, locally owned businesses at Underground Station will be inconvenienced for almost two weeks by the closures required to stage Harvest Homecoming's carpetbagging carny rides.



Here's what I did to beat the "blocking street sweeper" citation scam. Why should anyone pay?

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the clerk's office informing me that my citation for blocking the street sweeper, issued eight months ago, has been voided. Below, you'll see the parking dispute form I filed, and the argument I used, which in essence is this: When enforcement of ordinances is purposefully random, how can there be penalties against those cited randomly?



FLASH: Adrienne & Company is open at 133 E. Market.

It's a cyptic pop-up notice on Fb, but know it: Adrienne & Company's location in New Albany is open. It's on Market where the Frenchman used to be.



Take a look at these Gospel Bird soft opening photos. Opening night is Tuesday, February 23.

Gospel Bird stands to be a vibe unlike any New Albany has witnessed during the first decade (Bistro New Albany opened in 2006) of its downtown food and drink renaissance. Brooklyn and The Butcher, and now Gospel Bird.



For better or worse, there'll be a brand new auto-centric White Castle at an already dangerous and muddled intersection.

Panicked rumors began surfacing on social media yesterday afternoon, and thanks to my neighbor Matt, we now see the apocalypse indeed is nigh, for the White Castle at the corner of Spring and Vincennes has closed ... but only temporarily.



See the sweet new public doughnut art at NA's classic Honey Creme Donuts.



Keg Liquors Fest of Ale will move to New Albany's Riverfront Amphitheater in 2016; the 11th annual edition slated for June 4.

Saturday, June 4th remains the date for the 11th Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale, but the 2016 edition of the festival will be held at the Riverfront Amphitheater in New Albany.



You know, the building where J.O. Endris used to be, and now the scene of another Bergman refit.

In late 2014, Caesar announced he'd be shuttering his jewelry business, as opposed to selling it. Obviously, 135 years in retail is a fine run.



We come not to praise Jeb Bush (!) but to bury him, and as quickly as possible.

"Confused and stunned, like a duck hit on the head."



You know, that building where Ace Loan & Sporting Goods used to be (110 E Market St).

Atypically, the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission has little to say about 110 E. Market Street, identifying the former Ace Loan & Sporting Goods as an Italianate commercial building of 1880s-era construction. During the past year, Steve Resch's crew has been busy rehabilitating this structure.

(Top Five)


Him Gentleman's Boutique grand opening is Monday, November 14.

Him Gentleman's Boutique opens Monday, November 14 in the space formerly occupied by J.O. Endris Jewelers (314 Pearl Street).



The old Little Chef/Coqui's is the new Lady Tron's, coming soon, with a whole new color scheme.

The photo below is mine, and the one above is by Michael Wimmer, who says "The former Little Chef in New Albany gets a new face lift by Art Cartel." Most recently Coqui's Cafe, the space is being transformed into Lady Tron's.



Here's the Gospel Bird menu. Regular hours begin Tuesday, February 23.

"We trust that by now, you're probably hungry and thirsty. Gospel Bird will open to the public at 5 pm, February 23rd."



R.I.P. Bob Youngblood, 1943 - 2016.

For those who didn't know Bob, he was a teacher at Floyd Central for more than 30 years. Speaking personally, he had a tremendous impact on my life. Bob died yesterday after suffering a brain aneurysm earlier in the week, and to be perfectly honest, it's a bit much for me at the moment.

Gospel Bird's Eric Morris nixes Concrete Jungle concept, opts for seafood, seafood and more seafood at his new restaurant at 324 E. Main in New Albany.



Gospel Bird's Eric Morris nixes Concrete Jungle concept, opts for seafood, seafood and more seafood at his new restaurant at 324 E. Main in New Albany.

So, what’s coming to 324 E. Main Street in 2017 is (WORKING TITLE), a fresh seafood grill with a raw bar, including a rooftop bar overlooking the Ohio River. Think of it as a comfortable niche between fast food and the high end. It’ll be a family-style approach and a very casual place, with most dishes served in baskets and buckets, with a price point to match. The same goes for great beers and the sort of bar program you’d expect from us.


Recent columns:

December 22: ON THE AVENUES: For New Albany’s Person of the Year, the timeless words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

December 15: ON THE AVENUES: Truth, lies, music, and a trick of the Christmas tale (2016).

December 8: ON THE AVENUES: It’s never too late to beer all over again.

December 1: ON THE AVENUES: Once more with feeling, because as the notable American philosopher Moe Bandy once sang, “Here I am, drunk again.”

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