Thursday, May 31, 2007


I wanted my Hurricane Sock Pal's sock to see something of the village it was named for - and I wanted her to see where the sock was from - before it heads off to its new home. So yesterday Karen & I took the sock out for a night on the town, and showed it around Broad Ripple village, a neighborhood on the north side of Indianapolis.

The Central Canal runs through Broad Ripple. It was originally intended to be a significant link in a nationwide chain of canals, and advertisers boasted that one could make the trip from Indianapolis to the then-independent city of Broad Ripple, and back (all of six miles each way), in a single day! Now it provides a nice place to walk, and to see some wildlife. So the sock helped feed ducks, a traditional kids' pastime...

and geese. I think the goslings are really cute, but packs of geese can be pretty scary.

Broad Ripple used to have a railroad, the Monon line, running through the middle of it. By the time I was a kid, there was just one train a day, except when the Fair Train was running. Then we'd keep a close eye on the train schedule so we could go smash pennies on the tracks. There are just a few hints of the railroad left - I remember when someone lived in this caboose, but now it looks deserted.

Eventually, the railroad tracks were torn up and sold for scrap. I spent my high school and college years playing on an abandonded trestle, which probably should have been included in the "Bad Things I Did" post. After much debate, the old rail corridor became a hiking trail, and it's very popular. I still miss the old trestle, and the blackberries that grew along the tracks. The Monon trail joins up with the Central Canal towpath; two obsolete forms of transportation providing recreation.

I had some important shopping to do, so we stopped by the Three Dog Bakery, and the sock pretended to be a dog, enjoying all the treats. I could not believe how good the place smelled. And it turns out that the Oreo dog treats are just the sort of thing Max needs, so he was very grateful to us and the sock!

We gave the sock a chance to check out the canal...

...and some of the weird artwork. The city has designated Broad Ripple as a "cultural district," which seems to require the installation of weird art.

Broad Ripple is best known for its nightlife. The main drag, Broad Ripple Avenue, is mostly restaurants and clubs. There's a funny story about the time my brother, when he was about 10, rode into the village with his best friend and wound up in a long conversation with a woman of dubious reputation, and perhaps profession. Once it was well after dark and they still hadn't returned, my father was dispatched to find them. He couldn't escape the conversation either, so it was long past midnight before everyone was home. I don't know if she was chatting on the clock, or if prime earning hours for these ladies are really more late night than evening.

Our last stop was at one of my favorite hangouts, the Broadripple Brewpub. It's in a neat old house, just off the trail. So the sock bellied up to the bar...

....checked out the tanks....

...and had a beer (I helped with this part). Thus fortified, it's ready to head south, looking for a new home - and maybe even a mate!

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Blogger jill said...

What a neat thing to do before sending your sock off! Your town looks like a lot of fun.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Eric Fischer said...

Thanks for the Broad Ripple photos!

1:31 PM  

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