Monday, June 25, 2012


Every vacant house in Youngstown, every house that burns, or is stripped, or turned into a drug den, has a story. This is the story of 631 Ridge Avenue.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

You might be from Youngstown if...

The scene: 1999, Youngstown. 

I found this list about 10 years ago and I can't recall it being posted on the blog. Some are dated or no longer relevant (like the first one, now that everyone goes downtown) but others are still timely and remain funny. Enjoy!
  • You or someone you know have never been to Downtown Youngstown.
  • You know the time and location of every Wing Night in a 10-mile radius.                                                                                                                                      
  • You know the location of the following towns, know someone from them or have spent time there: Mineral Ridge, North Lima, Poland, Coitsville, Mesopotamia, Yankee Lake, and Damascus.
  • You've memorized lines from the movie "The Godfather"
  • If you're a girl, you're biggest fear is getting hit on by a hairy-chested man, heavily weighted in gold chains, who refers to his friends as "Gino" at any local dance club.
  • If you're a guy, your biggest fear is seeing your buddy's car parked near Mickey's Bar, but see him walk out of "the Mixx".
  • Your latest cultural experience: Standing in line to buy pirogi at your local Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian or Hungarian church on Friday.
  • As your out-of-town friends brag about their latest trips to Europe, you think to yourself, "I can drive past any local ethnic church and see all the foreigners I want to."
  • You eat out at least once a week at a mafia-owned Italian pizza parlor.
  • Your father has worked for the same company for over 20 years, most likely GM, Packard, or in the steel industry.
  • You don't see what all the hype is about Disney World when Cedar Point is just a few hours away.
  • You're having a hard time deciding where to take your date out for dinner and a night on the town:- "Wings at BW3 and a movie" or "Chalupas at Taco Bell and checking out the Hot Rods at the A&W"
  • "I seen" is eloquently used instead of "I saw" by somebody you know.
  • You've taken deliberate field trips to look at the Amish riding in their buggies.
  • You water ski on Lake Milton, Berlin or Mosquito Reservoir.
  • You feel the only good bands out there are The Rage, Michael Stanley Band, Donnie Iris and The Human Beinz
  • You're more worried about the Brown's or the Steelers' quarterback's health than your own.
  • You or somebody you know works at GM Lordstown.
  • You or your next door neighbor is Catholic.
  • You don't understand what all the hype is about over Rolling Rock beer. (replace that today with Yuengling)
  • You know that McDonald is not only the last name of a clown, it's also a town.
  • You know that Campbell is not only a soup, but also a city, and you also know that it's pronunciation rhymes with "mammal"
  • You consider a great vacation a trip to Geauga Lake, Sea World or Lake Erie. For something a little more exotic, a trip to Toronto to see the Phantom of the Opera.
  • You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
  • You have 101 favorite recipes for kielbasa and sauerkraut.
  • You believe that people from Boardman, Canfield, and Poland are all rich and that they're all snobs.
  • Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
  • You find 20F "a little" chilly.
  • You know the four seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction.
  • You remember fondly time off from school known as "Snow Days".
  • Words like: sub, chipped chopped ham, pop and halushki actually mean something to you.
  • You can use the phrase "white pizza" and not even bat an eye.
  • You think that everybody in the world knows what Briar Hill pizza is.
  • You mean everybody doesn't know what wedding soup is?
  • You live at home at the age of 26
  • You went to Y.S.U.
  • You were going to go to Ohio State but you didn't
  • You quickly graduated (6 or more years)
  • You drive a Caviler or a Sunfire.
  • You dad knows Eddie Debartolo.
  • You wish you were in the Mafia.
  • You are not.
  • You hang out with the same people you did in high school.
  • You went to Legends and Pogo's when you were in high school.
  • You make statements and turn them into questions. ex: "you're going Downtown tonight?"
  • You will get into a fight is someone looks at your girlfriend.
  • You will get into a fight if someone looks at your boyfriend.
  • You think everyone in Canfield is rich
  • You hate everyone from Canfield.
  • Yet, you would like to move there someday.
  • You are Italian.
  • If not, you act Italian.
  • You use the words Dego, Whop and Mic at least once a day.
  • You wear tight black shirts, and use WAY more gel than toothpaste in a day.
  • From the age of 19-21 you hung out at Mickey's
  • You think it would be cool to live in Cleveland.
  • You like the Indians (if they are winning), you like the Steelers (If they are winning), you like the Browns (because your dad said so), but what ever the team of the week is you say "I've been a fan for ever!"
  • Going to the flats is a good break from the Youngstown bar scene.
  • You rarely go.
  • If you are from Youngstown you have been to the M.V.R. if you are a Mooney fan, the Golden Dawn if you are an Ursuline fan.
  • You know more than 10 people who work out at the YMCA downtown.
  • If you are a girl, you could not live without Contempo.
  • If you are a guy, you could not live with out Structure
  • If you are a girl, your last purchase was at Phar-mor.
  • You now shop at Abercrombie (you always did, but now it's just easier.)
  • On 10 or more occasions you have been out and seen someone wearing the exact same outfit as you.
  • You just realized that every building project in the area is going to be a Rite Aid.
  • You still go to Phar-mor.
  • You know where the Planter's Peanut Bridge is.
  • If you went to Boardman you hung out at: Chesters/Woodpeckers/The Varsity Club.
  • If you went to Canfield you went to Micky's
  • If you went to Mooney you hang out at Pal Joeys
  • If you went to Ursuline you hang out at the Downtown Draught house. 
  • You think Schwebel's Bread is a national chain. (It is, isn't it?)
  • You only have one mom and yet you refer to her in the plural
  • Your lawn is mostly made up of dirt patches and several unidentified types of plants not one of which is grass
  • Whether you know it or not you have worked for someone in the mafia
  • You know that nuns make the best pizza
  • You know that the North Side is the best side
  • You know a dollar can buy you much more than a schooner from The Golden Dawn
  • You go to the same exact bars your parents did only they have different names
  • Your parents have done more drugs than you could ever do
  • You have your shoes stolen off your porch
  • You have had a conversation with a crack addict
  • You're 35 years old, have never been outside of Ohio, and don't see the need to leave.
  • You're 18 years old, think this town is a shit hole and can't wait to move away-then 10 years later, you move back because "it's a great place to raise a family".
  • You hate everything about Youngstown.
  • You will never leave!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The house I grew up in. Vacant. Vandalized. Wide open. Sad.

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