Streetcar Deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio

Streetcar Deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio

http://ift.tt/2oyijN9

The streetcar deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge open in 2009.

The Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland is one of the city’s most iconic and oldest bridges. Completed in 1917, this bridge was the first that allowed for continuous road and river traffic across the Cuyahoga River. It became the main route connecting the east and west sides of the city, aided by the streetcar deck that ran below the upper level of the bridge. 

A subway station at West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue served streetcar passengers who would ride across the river to Public Square. But streetcar service ended in the 1950s, and the lower deck of the bridge was never repurposed.

Today, the lower deck is empty, other than equipment that lights the bridge at night, some telephone and electrical cables, and graffiti. There are hints of the bridge’s past: A small cement building on the western end which used to be the subway entrance bears old entrance signs. A door across the street still says "Subway" in decorative glass. Astute visitors will find the remains of old tracks at the end of the bridge. 

For a few years, the lower deck hosted Cleveland’s Ingenuity Fest, which used the space for cultural events. The Cuyahoga County Engineer’s office occasionally opens the streetcar deck for self-guided tours, but most of the time, the abandoned deck sits empty and unused.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

April 21, 2017 at 03:02PM

Streetcar Deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio

Streetcar Deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge in Cleveland, Ohio

http://ift.tt/2oyijN9

The streetcar deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge open in 2009.

The Detroit-Superior Bridge in downtown Cleveland is one of the city’s most iconic and oldest bridges. Completed in 1917, this bridge was the first that allowed for continuous road and river traffic across the Cuyahoga River. It became the main route connecting the east and west sides of the city, aided by the streetcar deck that ran below the upper level of the bridge. 

A subway station at West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue served streetcar passengers who would ride across the river to Public Square. But streetcar service ended in the 1950s, and the lower deck of the bridge was never repurposed.

Today, the lower deck is empty, other than equipment that lights the bridge at night, some telephone and electrical cables, and graffiti. There are hints of the bridge’s past: A small cement building on the western end which used to be the subway entrance bears old entrance signs. A door across the street still says "Subway" in decorative glass. Astute visitors will find the remains of old tracks at the end of the bridge. 

For a few years, the lower deck hosted Cleveland’s Ingenuity Fest, which used the space for cultural events. The Cuyahoga County Engineer’s office occasionally opens the streetcar deck for self-guided tours, but most of the time, the abandoned deck sits empty and unused.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura http://ift.tt/SEYBhH

April 21, 2017 at 03:00PM

The White House Seems Excited to Shut Down the Government

The White House Seems Excited to Shut Down the Government

http://ift.tt/2pmCHWl

Next Saturday, April 29th, is President Trump’s hundredth day in office, a historical marker used by the press to assess a new President’s progress since the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. F.D.R. was grappling with the Great Depression, and he had a pliant Congress that would have passed almost anything he proposed. Presidents since then have often struggled to meet the expectations of the hundred-day report card but generally can point to a list of major legislative accomplishments. Trump does not have such a list. At the same time, the Trump White House is facing a much more consequential deadline, one that will help define his first months in office and perhaps his first term: absent a spending deal with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, next Saturday the government will shut down.

While the potential for a government shutdown has been overshadowed by other events—Syria, North Korea, the attempted repeal of Obamacare—the Trump White House is suddenly seized with the issue. “Next week is going to have quite high drama,” a top White House official, who sounded excited by the coming clash, told me. “It’s going to be action-packed. This one is not getting as much attention, but, trust me, it’s going to be the battle of the titans. And the great irony here is that the call for the government shutdown will come on—guess what?—the hundredth day. If you pitched this in a studio, they would say, ‘Get out of here, it’s too ridiculous.’ This is going to be a big one.”

The last government shutdown was in October, 2013, and was widely blamed on conservative Republicans in the House, with a major assist from Senator Ted Cruz, who demanded that Obamacare had to be defunded, a ludicrous strategy given that Barack Obama was President. Congress failed to pass the necessary legislation, and the government closed for two weeks before Republicans came back to the table. At the time, many predicted that the tactic would have dire political consequences for the G.O.P., but the following year the Party expanded its majority in the House and took over the Senate. Republican leaders have prevented their right wing from forcing shutdowns in the years since, but one lesson from 2013 is that the threat of a government shutdown is a powerful way to press for concessions without paying too high a political price.

In recent weeks, the prospect of a government shutdown seemed low. In the House and Senate, Democratic and Republican appropriators, who, despite ideological differences, are often united in their desire to spend money, were making steady progress. But there was an elephant in the room. In mid-March, the Trump Administration released a detailed spending request that included a large increase for the military and for immigration enforcement and massive cuts to domestic discretionary spending. While the budget was released with fanfare, the White House seemed to retreat from the talks, leaving congressional Democrats and Republicans to continue their work without much guidance from Trump.

Yesterday, that changed. Mick Mulvaney, a Republican and former congressman who was one of the House members who agitated for the 2013 shutdown and is now Trump’s budget director, announced that “elections have consequences.” The consequence, it would seem, was a divisive proposal. Mulvaney suggested that if Trump didn’t get his defense spending and border wall—which, it should be noted, he promised would be paid for by Mexico—then the federal payments, known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies, or C.S.R., that pay for health insurance for millions of Americans under Obamacare had to be cut from the spending bill. The ruination of Obamacare is once again tied up with keeping the government running.

The funding legislation likely can’t pass in the House without some Democratic votes, and it certainly can’t pass without Democratic votes in the Senate, where Republicans need eight Democrats to reach the sixty-vote threshold to prevent a filibuster. The two sides aren’t even close.

“There’s a big spread between the bid and the ask here,” the White House official said, noting that Trump wanted thirty billion dollars for defense, several billion for more ICE agents and the border wall, as well as eighteen billion dollars in cuts to domestic spending and the ability to withhold federal money from cities that don’t coöperate with immigration officials.

The big priorities for Democrats are the money for those people who need Obamacare subsidies, the protection of domestic spending, and increases for programs for opioid addiction and health care for coal miners, the last two being issues that Trump ostensibly campaigned on. These shouldn’t be a big deal, Democrats say, and they have accused the White House of throwing a grenade into negotiations in order to wrest some sort of political victory in the first hundred days. “For weeks, the House and Senate Democrats and Republicans have been working well together,” a Democratic aide said. “Then, all of a sudden, the White House is looking at next week and they have nothing to show for the first one hundred days, and they either want a health-care bill to pass next week, which seems like a heavy lift, or to get more on immigration from this process. Even Republicans don’t want this fight, and they don’t want a shutdown on Day One Hundred of the Trump Administration.”

The White House, which is trying to force another vote on an Obamacare repeal, seems desperate to either win some of Trump’s priorities in a deal next week, or force a government shutdown that it can blame on Democrats. That might energize Trump’s supporters, who don’t have much to celebrate yet.

But it’s not just the Democrats who oppose several Trump priorities. Congressional Republicans, who are generally united in support for the increase in defense spending, are divided on the border wall, which is not popular among border-state Republicans, and the deep domestic-spending cuts.

So far, it does not look like a bridgeable gap. “This is going to be high-stakes poker,” the White House official said. When I asked if a shutdown was likely, the official paused for several seconds. “I don’t know,” the official said. The official added, “I just want my wall and my ICE agents.”

Travel

via http://ift.tt/mSJ9pk

April 21, 2017 at 02:45PM

Bureaucracy: The Board Game

Bureaucracy: The Board Game

http://ift.tt/2pNDRK4

Travel

via The New Yorker: Everything http://ift.tt/mSJ9pk

April 21, 2017 at 02:26PM

Google Maps and the Non-Existing Pizza Joint

Google Maps and the Non-Existing Pizza Joint

http://ift.tt/2oy6ZjZ

If there's no sign, it's probably not a pizza place.
If there’s no sign, it’s probably not a pizza place. stu_spivack/CC BY-SA 2.0

Thanks to an error on Google Maps, a home in Darwin, Australia was labeled as a pizza joint, and sure enough, the people came out.

The home belonged to 69-year-old Michael McElwee, who became aware of the mistake after people began showing up on his doorstep, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. McElwee says one person came to try to deliver magazines to his “pizza shop,” while another person came by looking for a job. McElwee’s neighbor also noted that their dog had been barking much more frequently recently.

In fact, the map marker was meant to locate a pop-up pizza joint that sets up every year in a nearby park; Google has since said that they are working to resolve the issue.

As for McElwee, he just hopes it’ll be fixed quickly.

“I don’t know how many people have turned up at my house thinking it was a pizza place,” he told ABC.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

April 21, 2017 at 02:13PM

Hank Williams’s Gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama

Hank Williams’s Gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama

http://ift.tt/2pMqnvy

There’s a superfan and then there’s a superfan who will pluck out grass from their favourite singer’s grave as a keepsake. Hank Williams, in his brief but memorable country music career, managed to accumulate a number of the latter.

In fact, the natural grass at his gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama, had to be replaced with Astroturf when it became impossible for grass to grow there because of the overzealous plucking. Today, the bright green of the artificial turf around the graves of Williams and his wife, Audrey, makes them stand out at Oakwood Cemetery where the couple is interred.

The musician affectionately known as the King of Country Music was born Hiram King in 1923, and got his first guitar at the age of eight. Influenced by blues musicians, he began entering talent contests in his teens and later delivered his first big hit song “Move It On Over” in 1947. He became member of the iconic country concert stage the Grand Ole Opry, but his later problems with substance abuse led to his dismissal from it. His final years were shadowed by personal and health issues, but he continued to produce hits like “Hey, Good Lookin” and “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry.”

Williams died of heart failure in 1953, while he on his way to a New Year’s Day show. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, and his gravesite contains a marble replica of his signature cowboy hat, along with with two white marble monuments rising from the bright green turf.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

April 21, 2017 at 02:06PM

Hank Williams’s Gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama

Hank Williams’s Gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama

http://ift.tt/2pMqnvy

The bright green Astroturf that surrounds the graves of Hank Williams and his wife Audrey.

There’s a superfan and then there’s a superfan who will pluck out grass from their favourite singer’s grave as a keepsake. Hank Williams, in his brief but memorable country music career, managed to accumulate a number of the latter.

In fact, the natural grass at his gravesite in Montgomery, Alabama, had to be replaced with Astroturf when it became impossible for grass to grow there because of the overzealous plucking. Today, the bright green of the artificial turf around the graves of Williams and his wife, Audrey, makes them stand out at Oakwood Cemetery where the couple is interred.

The musician affectionately known as the King of Country Music was born Hiram King in 1923, and got his first guitar at the age of eight. Influenced by blues musicians, he began entering talent contests in his teens and later delivered his first big hit song “Move It On Over” in 1947. He became member of the iconic country concert stage the Grand Ole Opry, but his later problems with substance abuse led to his dismissal from it. His final years were shadowed by personal and health issues, but he continued to produce hits like “Hey, Good Lookin” and “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry.”

Williams died of heart failure in 1953, while he on his way to a New Year’s Day show. He was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery Annex, and his gravesite contains a marble replica of his signature cowboy hat, along with with two white marble monuments rising from the bright green turf.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura http://ift.tt/SEYBhH

April 21, 2017 at 02:03PM

New Premium Card in Town: U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve

New Premium Card in Town: U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve

http://ift.tt/2pNPTDw

U.S. Bank has introduced its own version of a premium travel rewards credit card—Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, available to new applicants starting May 1.

Cardholders will receive 50,000 points after spending $4,500 in the first 90 days of opening an account. Points are worth 1.5 cents when redeemed for airfare, hotel stays and car rentals booked through U.S. Bank’s Rewards Center, worth $750.

Unfortunately, unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points or American Express Membership Rewards, U.S. Bank points will not transfer to travel partners. It is unclear at this point whether they would be transferable in the future.

The card will earn 3X points per dollar spent on travel and mobile wallet transactions, including Android Pay, Apple Pay, Microsoft Wallet and Samsung Pay. All in-store, in-app and online purchases will qualify for the point multiplier.

The Altitude Reserve card will charge a $400 annual fee plus $75 for authorized users and offer an extensive list of perks to its members.

$325 annual travel credit: The credit will reset each card membership year and will be offered in the form of a statement credit each time an eligible travel purchase is made, such as airline tickets, hotel bookings, car rentals, cruise lines and taxis.

Surprisingly, popular rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, are not included in the travel category. It is possible to use mobile wallet options to pay for rides and earns bonus points at least. Authorized users do not receive their own travel credit.

TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Enrollment Credit: The Altitude Reserve card will reimburse primary cardholders the $100 Global Entry fee or the $85 TSA PreCheck fee (both valid for five years). Members can get reimbursed once every four years or gift the credit to an authorized user.

Priority Pass Select Membership: We all love airport lounge access with its complimentary Wi-Fi, snacks and sparkling wine. However, the free access with this card is limited to four times per year for the cardholder and four individual guests per year. After that, entry cost of $27 per person will apply. Authorized users do not receive their own Priority Pass Select Membership.

Ability to Transfer FlexPoints: U.S. Bank FlexPerks cards earn FlexPoints that can be redeemed toward travel, gift cards and statement credits, among other things. These FlexPerks can be transferred to the Altitude Reserve account.

However, the transfers will be one-way only and can’t be converted back to FlexPoints. FlexPoints can be worth 1 cent when used as a credit statement or up to 2 cents each when redeemed for airfare and up to 1.5 cents when redeemed for hotels, car rentals and cruises. Because those perfect redemption rates can’t be achieved in every case, it’s always best to crunch up the numbers before making a transfer.

The Altitude Reserve card also will offer 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight internet passes, 30 percent off Silvercar rentals, $30 off the first GroundLink Black Car service (then 15 percent off), pre-sale ticket access to James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dining events, access to the Visa Infinite Luxury Hotel Collection and Visa Infinite Concierge.

The Visa Infinite program offers a $100 Visa Discount Air Benefit on select credit cards, and unfortunately the benefit will not be available on the Altitude Reserve.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card will be available only to existing U.S. Bank customers, such as deposit account holders or FlexPerks card holders.

 

What do you think of the Altitude Reserve card? Do you think its perks can compete with other premium credit cards on the market?

 

Travel

via Frugal Travel Guy http://ift.tt/JLv7sh

April 21, 2017 at 02:03PM

Someone Published Delta’s Award Chart (Again)

Someone Published Delta’s Award Chart (Again)

http://ift.tt/2pPcSOp

Delta left frequent fliers fairly frustrated when it eliminated its awards chart several years ago. But some SkyMiles members have put that frustration to good use: publishing their own awards charts.

First, Travel is Free released a comprehensive SkyMiles award chart. Then Delta raised the price of partner awards.

Now Boarding Area has published two new charts to reflect the new pricing changes.

 

The Economy Saver Award Chart

Business Class Saver Award Chart

 

Keep in mind that Delta’s awards are not fixed in cost and fluctuate depending on the day, route and demand. The full award chart shows the lowest prices available for awards between different regions. If you don’t see these prices when you search for flights on Delta.com, it means that awards are pricing at a higher tier.

H/T Travel Codex

 

Travel

via Frugal Travel Guy http://ift.tt/JLv7sh

April 21, 2017 at 01:18PM

Sassi di Matera in Matera, Italy

Sassi di Matera in Matera, Italy

http://ift.tt/2q080mc

The city center of Matera is flanked by the hillside Sassi, a peasant neighborhood that boasts an incredible assemblage of cave houses. They are considered the longest-occupied cave dwellings in the Earth’s history, inhabited since prehistoric times right up until today. 

Until the 1950s, Matera was an embarrassment to Italy. As the fascists modernized the country, it remained woefully backwards, without an effective plumbing system and riddled with poverty and disease. A resettlement plan evicted some of the Sassi di Matera residents from their old-fashioned cave houses in the poorest part of the city. Once the neighborhood was emptied out, the government planned to raze the hillside with dynamite.

However, when scholars investigated the city they came across sites like the Crypt of Original Sin, a secret 12,000-year-old monastery. They realized just how old the settlement really was. The cave dwellings contained evidence that people have been continuously living in them since at least 7,000 BC.  

A 150,000-year-old hominid skeleton was found in one cave, along with Neolithic tools. The Ancient Romans, Greeks, Byzantines, and many others passed through here, leaving behind physical artifacts as well as cultural ones like the painted caves inhabited by unknown artists of ages past. Matera has been around as long as Fertile Crescent cities like Aleppo and Jerusalem, and so has been used as the set for films like The Passion of the Christ and Ben-Hur

Despite the government’s efforts in the 20th century, the Sassi lifestyle hasn’t changed in centuries. People moved back into  the caves, which provide surprisingly cozy shelter. Social life occurs in the central courtyards, which also contain the communal ovens where people bake their bread.

Though Matera is now a tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage site, its hard-to-reach location makes it feel exclusive and secret. The neighborhood now has boutique hotels, restaurants, wineries, a jazz club, and a spa, but even its most affluent buildings are housed in caves. 

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

April 21, 2017 at 01:16PM

PageLines