Beautiful day in the neighborhood, part II

So we are trying something different today. For a while now I’ve been trying to write through a statement that I often get: Too bad about the neighborhood. The implication, or sometimes outright statement, is that my neighborhood is worth less because it doesn’t have the same outward beauty that a place like the suburbs does. I also wrote recently that I’m going to try and write less and show more since reasoned arguments seem to not really be working. So add that all up together and you get this post, a photo essay on beauty in the inner city.

“Too bad about the neighborhood” usually gets started when we start talking about housing. Some people remember the way the houses used to be and find it difficult to see the way nature has started to reclaim many empty lots as something other than ugly. I have no real argument against this. Instead all I will say is that nature reclaiming empty lots typically produces vistas like this:

Need I say more?

“Too bad about the neighborhood” keeps going and usually the problem is that people never bother to get out of their cars. Simply driving through will give you a very strange impression of the city. For example, on the north side of Youngstown you will find this street corner:

Nothing fancy really. Looks like a lot of corners in the city. If you never left your car all you would see is this:

and this:

however, go inside and what do you find?

That’s right, the place is actually quite beautiful. It’s actually a co-op grocery store and coffee shop with a gorgeous mural on the main wall.

So do me two favors before you begin to say “too bad about the neighborhood” –

First, before you assume that because a place is different (either from the way you remember or the way you prefer) get out and spend some time there. Spend the time to take it all in and really get to know the place

Second, before you say “too bad about the neighborhood” actually get out of your car. Modern roadways and highways are built so that you can go from one “nice” area to another and avoid the inner city. The view from your car windows, however, is deceptive. Get out of the car and walk in a building or two. I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what you find.




  1. Again, thank you Pastor Dave for an interesting blog. And, I must say, talking about the neighborhood, I am sooo impressed when I drive through inner city neighborhoods, with the beautiful way many, and I mean very many, people take care of their properties. For the most part, people care. They care enough to take wonderful care of their places and seemingly ignore the blight that tries to make them look bad. So…I am never one to say “too bad about the neighborhood”. I would say Keep Up the Good Work folks!

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