Urban Exploration 101

While the Wifey's been away up in Seattletown and Whistler, I've had the chance to get out a bit and explore a few locations/pick up a few things that have been sitting on my "Portland To Do List."

-Picked up my new, and now fully refurbished, typewriter from Blue Moon Camera and Machine (8417 N Lombard) up in St. Johns. Very cool place to hunt for old cameras, and all the accompanying equipment. They don't actually repair typewriters at the store itself, but outsource the work to Ace Typewriter & Equipment Co. just down the street at 7433 N Lombard...next time I'll just take it there direct and save myself a 10 block drive. Apparently, Ace is the only typewriter repair shop on the entire Left Coast and dude who runs the shop gets orders all the way from Alaska shipped in. Anyway, the typewriter is looking beautiful and I already started banging out a letter to a friend of mine serving time in a Cali prison...Jeff heard me typing from half a block away when he came over last night.

-Stopped at my favorite local booze shop, appropiately named the Oregon Liquor Store (1621 NE 9th), and swooped on some Stumptown-distilled New Deal Vodka (of New Deal Distillery...really check out their website for some local flavor) and Aviation Gin (of House Spirits Distillery). Many a night (and day) of adventure will be had at the hands of these two beauties. I am, of course, referring to the bronzed nipples. ---->

-Picked up some Drunken Noodles at a new Thai food cart, Thai Touch, located in the parking lot of the Lao-Vieng Market at 1032 N Killingsworth. The elderly woman dishing out the goods hooked me up with a free Thai iced tea to cool off with while waiting in the 96 degree heat. It was a bit different than the usual tea and cream combo, and was more of a sweetened shaved ice tea with hints of mint leaves...absolutely refreshing and a guarentee that I'll revisit her cart sometime soon. I took my noodles and tea a short ride away to the deserted Mocks Crest Property, know to locals as the Skidmore Bluffs, an unfinished park overlooking the industrial east-side train yards, the Port of Portland, the Willamette River, and the entirety of the West Side (downtown, and the endless expanse of Forest Park). Note to self...this is the ultimate 40 oz. spot for a clear, warm night of drunken philosophy.

-Watched The Lives of Others at the Laurelhurst Theater...an absorbing story of rebellion, betrayal, voyerism, and empathy, with a fine bit of acting courtesy of Ulrich Muhe (who recently passed away) doing his best Kevin Spacey impersonation. Evidence to the right. ---->

-Jeff and I took a trip downtown this morning, and happened to pass by Pioneer Courthouse Square when the annual Mayor's Tailgate Party was in full effect. Only in fucking Portland does a gigantic pickup truck get parked in the middle of the town square, accompanied by the Mayor handing out huge locally-grown watermelons, cantaloupes, and sacks of potatoes. For FREE. Well, we must have missed Mayor Tom Potter (he was probably off taking a nap, or scheming on how to further crush the hopes of baseball fans everywhere...last year he basically told MLB reps that Portland didn't need a baseball team, the stupid fucktard), but we did manage to skip the Communism-styled hour-long wait in line by rudely walking right up to the truck and grabbing our individual ration of fruit and starches. In the Motherland, we would have been shot immediately, isn't that right Komrade? We then carried our bounty west a few blocks to the Virginia Cafe at 725 SW Park Ave. The whole block is slated for destruction, I mean redevelopment, sometime early next year, and we didn't want to sleep on the death of yet another Portland institution caused by the city's rapid growth (resulting in rapid rent/lease increases). A great place to go for a greasy burger (though I had the excellent Chicken Cordon Bleu), a tasty bogue, and a stiff drink...dark, smoky, wood-filled, and unpretentious, this is certainly an icon that will be missed. Fortunately, and this is breaking news obtained not more than a few hours ago by this very reporter, the Virginia Cafe will live on, as soon after it's February 28th closure date they are planning on re-opening at an undisclosed location nearby. That's your cue to rejoice, o ye hipsters. This place originally opened in 1914 in the heart of the tenderloin district (SW 1oth & Stark), serving coffee and food to the brothel-faced hookers working nearby, before moving to the current location in 1922. That's history, money grip. Go show some love, or at least check out their Myspace page.


Email via pdxnecropolis@yahoo.com said...

If you are interested in some alternative Urban Exploration here in Portland, I have created a grown-up "treasure hunt" in Portland's largest mausoleum. It's non-commercial and available to anyone anytime. Here are the details and instructions:

Anonymous said...

Portland does not have a "tenderloin" district and never did.

Oldie said...

The term tenderloin, as used here, was actually lifted directly from the Virginia Cafe's own menu. Despite your seeming expertise in the matter, Anon, I'd think that they're in more of a position to know whether or not there was a tenderloin district in Portland near the turn of the last century.

And really, the term has been used in cities other than San Francisco and Manhattan to describe their own locales that resemble these two other more infamous areas. Vice, prostitution, graft, corruption, etc. are fairly universal traits in large urban environments. The district's name has become a definition of sorts, I imagine.

Thanks for reading!

Steve said...

you are ignorant, arrogant, vapid, obtuse, pretentious, and full of shit. a true portlander.

Oldie said...

Spoken as a true compliment. Thanks, Steve.