This weekend I photographed in the small business district in the Alger Heights neighborhood, a postwar suburb with modest houses.
Alger Heights is typical Grand Rapids, if brew pubs are Grand Rapids. And arguably they are! Alger Heights has two. The image is flowers and umbrellas in the outdoor seating area of one of them.
I like how Alger Heights describes itself as a small town in the city. It is doubtless nice for residents to be able to walk to a grocery store, pizza place, or brew pub! And the branding fits my own idea–photography business districts in Grand Rapids neighborhoods, like I did with small towns and villages in West Michigan last summer and fall.
Here are a few of my favorite images.
The architecture is small, one story buildings. It feels “1950s,” and looks quite different from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century buildings in small towns in Michigan and some in the Plainfield Avenue/Creston area of Grand Rapids (last week’s post). But the shops do include a party store, across the street from more prosaic stores (grocery store and hardware store).
My favor shot perhaps, less for its artistry (it’s more documentary) than the subject. I am pretty certain that the pet grooming business and barber shop are different businesses. But I love the idea of them being a single business. Stop by and get a shampoo and cut for yourself and your pup.
Parking lots are a feature of suburban life. Many small towns have them too, these days, behind stores and restaurants. So too does Alger Heights.
Finally, like the businesses on Plainfield Avenue/Creston neighborhood, you find public art on the buildings in Alger Heights.
There’s a bit of mixed message in the first of the two images above. You belong here. But No Parking! I love the painting in the second image. But the two chairs make the image for me.