By Hally Joseph, staff writer
Summer Bumming is a bimonthly column by graduate student Hally Joseph, who has the whole summer off and plans on consuming books and cheeses and endless hours of aimless ambling through the Internet. Let her take you with her on thought rambles and Atlanta adventures.
By the time you spend a couple of summers in Atlanta, you know the standard tourist locations: sipping blueberry beers at Sweetwater Brewery, practicing your fish photography at the Georgia Aquarium and catching a summer movie at the Fox Theatre or at a “screen on the green” type locale. The city becomes a kaleidoscope of shorts, sweat and drink specials until October rolls in, hailing a faint fall breeze as everyone dons puffy, extravagant winter wear.
But when the dog days of summer come whimpering in with their thunderstorms and steel wool humidity, it can be nice to skip the crowds and take a drive through lesser-known Atlanta haunts. These are the local streets, bars, hidden parks and sandwich shops that you stumble on as you come to know the city and come to define it by. I sent out a call to Atlanta friends of all backgrounds and citywide schooling to hear about their off-the-beaten-path favorites.
By Piedmont Park between North Ave. and 10th St.
My favorite thing in all of Atlanta I found on Craigslist. It was immense, life-changing and I couldn’t take it home with me, but it would feel like home for years to come. When looking for a place to live during my senior year of undergrad, a Craigslist house hunt led me to sharing an apartment in a large, creaky house on Myrtle Street. The sounds of traffic on Piedmont Ave. and the music of Piedmont Park seem hushed on Myrtle, a wide, residential street stretching from Ponce to 10th that looks straight out of a New England suburb. I watched the seasons strip the trees of leaves, deliver an icy white-out of an Atlanta Snowpocalypse and then paint Myrtle verdant shades of green. To think you drive right by it all the time, hustling through a gas station or cursing the Park Atlanta ticket pinned to your windshield, and all along it’s just beckoning you to slow down and enjoy the city’s most cinematic walk.
ANTIQUE ROW CHAMBLEE
Broad St. and surrounding areas, just off the Chamblee MARTA Station
Brooke McDaniel, a Georgia Tech business administration graduate, and Atlanta native, has lived in four different apartments in the past four years, and claims she, “has no business beginning an antique collection.” However, her collegiate wanderings brought her to the antique shops in Chamblee which host a collection of memorabilia that strikes a uniquely Atlantan vibe: books from Georgia Tech that are so old they still retain the former college name, “Georgia School of Technology;” old glass Coke bottles Georgians still proudly display; programs from Braves games that took place at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (where her dad was regularly in attendance); letter jackets from the local high school where her parents first met. McDaniel has re-lived her own memories there as well, once finding the brick-like model of the very first cell phone she ever owned. The antique markets in Chamblee serve as the city’s time capsule and are a uniquely Atlanta destination just outside the perimeter.
4188 East Ponce de Leon Av., Clarkston, GA 30021
Did you know that Clarkston is the most culturally diverse square mile in the nation? Georgia State graduate, Jake Decker, attests that with great diversity comes great food. His favorite hole-in-the-wall Clarkston restaurant, Merhaba Shawarma, serves up slow, spit-roasted chicken shawarma, falafel and tangy baba ghanoush that will give you a new appreciation of eggplant. Decker says, “Even the rice will cause you to question what that white stuff is you’ve been eating at Chinese restaurants.” Decker recommends a to-go box for some of the best leftovers you’ll ever eat.
982 Memorial Dr. SE, Atlanta, GA 30316
When Morehouse graduate, Eric Cash, told his friends he was going to WonderRoot for the first time, they each told him their own stories of first visiting WonderRoot, and the experiences were so different he almost forgot what location we were talking about. WonderRoot is both a building and a nonprofit dedicated to providing Atlanta with a community arts space to inspire positive social change. Cash describes it as a community garden, a hub for social activists, an art gallery, a place for impromptu rap battles with your friends, a performance venue and a friend’s house to just go hang out and watch movies at. The space adapts to the needs of those who visit it, and using an apt Harry Potter reference, Cash calls it “Atlanta’s Room of Requirement.”
Victoria Rey, Georgia State music graduate, found out about WRAS (also known as Album 88) on a tour as a senior in high school. Her father guided her through the Georgia State University campus and capped the drive home off by tuning the radio to 88.5. Rey says he lit up describing the 100,000-watt student-run radio station and how it had always been ahead of the musical curve. A year later, Rey found herself in the DJ booth every Friday during her 2 a.m – 5 a.m. graveyard shift. Over her collegiate career, she met some of her best friends through WRAS and found a unique community of music-lovers within the massive student population of GSU. She recommends if you’re ever stuck in Atlanta’s infamous traffic, that you tune into Album 88. With the radio station influencing multiple generations of the Rey family, she adds, “Maybe someday you’ll find yourself telling your own kids about listening to WRAS as an Atlanta twenty-something.”