Living on court is a noisy, wonderful experience

Court Street is not just the main hot spot on Friday nights. It’s a place for people to grab a bite, shop for school supplies or for new clothes or even see a movie. On Halloween those bricks are home to the second largest block party in the nation. So with all of these leisure activities available it can be hard to remember that people live above the coveted bricks.

We all know it would be great to live above our favorite bar or restaurant, but there might be more to choosing that apartment than just proximity to night life. Students who actually live above these popular shops give a deeper looking into their reasoning to living on Court Street.

 

Saying goodbye to Athens

In college towns like Athens, Ohio every spring is the end of an era. Seniors say goodbye to their home and head out into the real world. Many people consider their time in college as the greatest years of their lives. College is a time for figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, but it is also a time for some fun.

The memories made in college are priceless. The lifestyle on campus is something almost impossible to duplicate. This lifestyle is far from perfect but typically the highs outweigh the lows. Whether your time is spent climbing trees or taking a snooze in a library nap pod, there are sure to be things that will be missed. Hear what these Ohio University students have to say as they bid farewell to Athens.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a senior at OU? Here are some memories

When I graduated high school, friends and family encouraged me to have the best time at college, and live it up.  They told me college was going to be the best four years of my life.  I think it’s safe to say I had fun.

Coming to college, I honestly couldn’t tell you how scared I actually was.  I had never been away from my family or friends for that long of a period, I didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t know how long it was going to take to make new friends and get adjusted to life away from Cincinnati, but I knew if I didn’t think about it too hard, I could make new friends pretty easily.  Luckily, I was rooming with a friend from high school and it wasn’t long before I made, arguably, the biggest and best decision in college – joining a fraternity.

Many students adapt to the new environment and figure out what their favorite places on campus are sooner rather than later…especially in Athens!

As my time at Ohio University is running out, it’s hard not to look back at my four years here on campus, and think about all of my friends that I have met.

When I look back at my time here, there are so many different memories, good and bad, that pop into my head.  There are some that make me want to stay in this little town forever, and some that make me glad I’m leaving.  I’m going to remember strolling all the way back down to west green freshman year after a night uptown and grabbing some chicken and waffle, then only eating half of it and waking up to the other half the next morning.  I remember sophomore and junior year living in my fraternity house.  Honestly, there are too many stories to even reminisce on.  But, what I will say is some of the best memories I had were sitting in a friend’s room on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to figure out what exactly happened the night before.  Senior year was probably the most interesting year I’ve had in college.  For the first two weeks of school I had no interest in being there, I actually wanted to go home a few times.  I don’t know why I was feeling like this, but I was.  Maybe it was because deep down I knew it was my last year, but I don’t know.  But it turned out to be the best year I’ve had on campus, but it comes with a price.

Being a senior, you get asked the same two questions about 10 times per minute.  “So, are you going to miss Athens?” and, “What are your plans after graduation?” Honestly, I can’t answer the first question with a straightforward reply.  In my four years, I haven’t been away from Athens long enough to know whether I’m going to miss it, besides Christmas break and summer. But will I miss hanging out with friends every weekend? Absolutely! What I won’t miss is having the same routine every weekend, going to the same bars every Friday and Saturday night.  To me, it just gets old after a while.  I also won’t miss the politics on campus.  I was never a very political person until this year.  It’s safe to say it brought out the worst in me.  But I think I get more annoyed with the second question.  I’m in a complicated situation right now.  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do after graduation.  Not only do I not have a job lined up, but I’m not too sure on what I even want to do exactly, but I think I have enough confidence to figure it out before the stress mode kicks in.  It’s a work in progress.  It just gets a little annoying answering the same thing over and over and over.

Obviously I know how I feel about leaving, it’s a whole mixture of different emotions, but I also think it’s interesting to see how other seniors feel, and how they are going to remember OU.

When talking to different seniors, some in Greek life and some not, there were a few different trends that I noticed, most of which I could relate to.  You could notice some of the bars the younger students would go to, as well as those of the older students.  But, along with some of the favorite bars, you also notice some of the places people liked going to as a freshman and how that differed from their senior year.

 

After talking to these seniors, you notice that OU is a special place not only for partying and going to the bars, but also meeting girlfriends and creating lifelong friendships.  It’s these memories that people will cherish forever and take with them after college.

My personal favorite is listening to the different bars people went to as freshman and how they slowly transitioned to the different bars as they got older.  Most of the people I know started off at Red Brick, but quickly transitioned to The Crystal, or “Stal”, which is the popular spot for Greek life.

The Crystal bar via Pinterest

Once you start talking to a current OU student, or even an alum, about where their favorite spots Uptown are/were, you start talking about the amazing dining spots.  There are so many different spots to grab a bite to eat Uptown, sober or not sober.  Let’s just work our way down Court Street.  If you start at the very beginning right next to campus, you can grab some Chipotle on one side of the street or if you’re in a hurry, you can pick up some Wendy’s.  Then work your way down the street a little more and you’ll find Bagel Street Deli and Brenen’s, two more OU gems.  A little further down you’ll run into an OU favorite, Big Mamma’s.  I personally never got hooked, but I think this is where some people’s paychecks went every weekend.

Big Mamma’s Burritos

After you pass Big Mamma’s you’ll run into the heart of Court Street and the other favorite eateries.  You’ll find Wings Over, which for some is quite delicious drunk and sober, which is simply a win for everyone.  Once you turn the corner by The J Bar, which is known to many alumni as “The Junction”, you’ll find my two personal favorites, Souvlaki’s and O’Betty’s.  I was introduced to O’Betty’s my freshman year and immediately fell in love.  Since my freshman year, the only thing I have purchased from there is the cheesy fries.  It’s a mix of fresh, crispy fries with melted cheddar cheese and topped with shredded cheese.  It’s a little pricey but most nights that I get it I’m not too worried about it.

O’Betty’s very cheesy fries via Food Spotting.

Ryan Lysaght, senior studying communication studies, has had a very different and unique college experience than any other student.  As a senior, Lysaght has spent four years in a fraternity, and has been a student football manager for OU.  His freshman year, he pledged into Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity, and then a semester later accepted a job with Ohio University Football.

Ryan Lysaght (pictured with the whiteboard) sits with his fellow managers before a football game.

“One memory that I won’t forget from college is during spring semester of my freshman year, I started working with the football team and the first day I went in for my interview, and they put me to work right away, and now four years later I’m now going to be doing this as a career,” Lysaght said.

Its memories like this that people will be able to remember forever and speak about them when they’re older.  He also said joining the fraternity has given him so many different memories, skills, experiences and other things that he will be able to take with him and utilize after college.

He said some of his favorite experiences would probably be setting up and organizing events through the fraternity.  He described some of those experiences as learning how to fail fast as a group, but learning how to get through the adversity and figure out what went wrong and be able to turn it around and make it successful.

“Dealing with the fraternity, holding events and hosting them, creating them from scratch and learning from those experiences and figuring out how to host a successful one has been some of the best times,” he said.

When he isn’t helping organize different events for the fraternity or running through practice with the football team, he likes to hang out Uptown with friends.

Broney’s Alumni Grill via Another Food Critic

“My favorite place to eat would probably be Broney’s on Tuesday nights for loaded margaritas and quesadillas,” he said, “I’ve gone for the first 13 out of 15 weeks in the semester, and I plan on finishing the semester strong.”

As we’re counting down the days, all of the seniors are now thinking back on all of the memories we have over the last four years.  The countless of hours we have spent studying…and the countless hours we have rewarded ourselves at the bars.  We’re thinking about the all the friendships and relationships we have made that we will take with us after school.  Leaving home to go to college hasn’t been easy by any means, but it definitely has been worth it.  I wouldn’t have traded coming to Ohio University for anything.  It’s all of my friends, professors and memories that make me proud to say OU OH YEAH!

Happiness is an egg chair

Heaven is both green and egg-shaped, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Seriously.

Everyone talks about Athens’ rolling hills, or Ohio University’s beautiful architecture, but no one ever talks about the egg chairs on the fourth floor of Alden Library. They’re the real hidden gems.

Students burrow deep inside Alden Library’s egg chairs for the comfort of have their own special place. Photo courtesy of Olivia Miltner

Early spring always brings two things — the rain and a quest to find the perfect spot to sit between classes. You arrive at Alden Library, a solid choice because hey, with seven floors you’d think there’d be an abundance of chairs. There is, but that doesn’t stop students from forming a queue that begins on the second floor and winds up the staircase all the way to the fourth floor, leading up to — you guessed it — the egg chairs.

Repeat this just about every day, and you get the idea that these chairs are a big deal. But every once in a while, you’ll find an open one. That, my friends, is a magical day. First comes the split second of disbelief because you know how popular these chairs are. The fact that one’s actually empty must be a mistake. That disbelief will quickly fade to excitement and then determination, and gosh dang it you’re going to sit in that chair.

Me on the day I found true bliss. Photo by Cat Hofacker

You’ve sat down in lots of chairs before, but this is something else. You don’t just sit down in an egg chair. You sink into it until you’re cradled by a cushion of soft green felt, and you feel safe. Heck, you practically disappear, and here’s where I suspect the real draw of these chairs lie: It’s like you’re in your own little world.

Let’s face it, OU has a beautiful campus, and the students are a large part of what gives the school its unique personality. The Bobcat family is great, but here’s the thing about families, even the ones you choose: Sometimes you don’t want to see them. That’s the beauty of the egg chair. When you sit in one, you’re on your personal island, free to work or nap or watch Netflix in your own little cocoon of happiness.

The one true downside of the egg chair is that once you’re in, you never want to get out. I don’t need to go to class, you think because what is class when you’re so comfortable? A missed class here and there is no real cause for concern, but eventually your friends might start to wonder where you are after three days. And your mom will worry because you don’t answer her calls but keep posting Twitter pics with a weird, green backdrop. The real problem is you’ll eventually run out of food.

The ultimate dilemma: You’re hungry, and low blood sugar really shouldn’t be ignored. However, you know the second you get up, that chair is lost to you forever. So you wait, and you wait, but by now it’s been a week and you really must go. So you tearfully gather your things and reluctantly emerge into the real world. As you leave, you turn back for one last look at your beloved chair, but someone’s already in it.

Well, I guess heaven isn’t made for mere mortals to grasp.

Court Street: my favorite place in Athens

Between the crowds of students, the look and feel of red Athens blocks, and the unique shops and local restaurants that line it, there is nothing quite like Court Street in Athens, Ohio. My own father, a 1984 alumnus of the communications school, always told me, “it is like a whole other world down there.” I never truly understood what he meant until I visited Athens for the first time when I was touring the Ohio University campus with my family back in 2012, but after I saw Court Street for myself, I knew exactly what he had meant.

Court street has a feeling that is special, there is something unique and indescribable about its character. It is my favorite place in Athens because it is the heart and soul of the city. This is where the culture and conversation of the town has been originating since 1804. The history and charisma of this place can be felt by walking up and down the brick lined sidewalks of Court Street. So many generations of students and staff have had unforgettable college experiences on that street, growing up and growing together as a community. Court Street feels as though it is part of Ohio University because of its architecture and closeness to the campus.

Court Street only stretches for about a half mile, but that is all it needs to be one of the most picturesque and charming I have ever seen. Somehow it gives you the feeling of being in a lively city without ever losing that small-town charm that Athens has. Running into friends or professors, attending nationally recognized events like the Halloween parade with 25-foot-tall puppets and live music, or going to the Ohio Brew Week, there is always something new and exciting happening on Court Street.

Students and staff walking down Court Street

Local businesses like The Athena Cinema, Bagel Street Deli, Casa Nueva, or Tony’s Tavern make Court Street and Athens a one of a kind destination. These shops give the street a home-grown, connected community feeling that I have not experienced anywhere else.

Taking a stroll down Court Street never fails to remind me of just how lucky I am to be in a place like this and that it will not last forever. It is my favorite place in Athens because I know it will be where I come back to when I visit my fellow Bobcats in the future as an alumnus, just like my brother and my father before me. The street reminds me of the bonds that I have made here and the relationships that I will never forget with some of my best friends in the world.

Court Street and college green were the first two places in Athens that I saw, they left me in awe, giving me an affinity towards the town and the University. These places made me want to be part of the Bobcat legacy. They are still a large reason why I have such a strong affiliation to this place today. Court street has helped me to grow both socially and professionally as a human being. My favorite place in Athens has taught me life skills that I will take with me forever from this community.

Bagelwiches by the bundle

 

If you ever feel overwhelmed with options off the extensive menu at Bagel Street Deli, you can always create your own sandwich.

Or you could go a step further and claim a spot on the menu for your bagelwich masterpiece. All it takes is just a few pickles.

On the second Friday in March, BSD host its annual Pickle Fest, centered around a pickle eating contest.

balls-deep
The ’08 Pickle Fest Champion, Balls Deep: meatballs, salami, banana peppers, mushrooms, provolone, lettuce, and Italian dressing. Photo by Eben George

Participants compete in heats of 10 eaters. Each heat last 10 minuets. When its all said and done, whoever eats and swallows the most pickles at the end of the competition wins the right to create and name their own BSD creation with an eternal spot on the chalkboard.

 

“Today is the day I get baptized and I feel new.” Here is an OU student’s baptism story at Brookfield Church

A graduate student at Ohio University. A mother of a three-year-old boy. A dedicated Christian. Deepali got baptized Sunday at Brookfield Church on Court Street. Here is her story.

Bobcat weekend update

It’s hard to believe we are starting week six of the fall semester already. Don’t remember much about this weekend? Get caught up on what you missed in case it was a little fuzzy.

PG weekend in Athens

The bricks played host to the parents in Athens this weekend, leaving leaving many parents with grinning faces, a hefty hangover and a better understanding of our hOUme.

Parents weekend is a change of pace in Athens. Students take their foot off the pedal for a few days and coast through a relaxing weekend alongside their loving guardians. Studious bobcats turned to insightful tour guides showing off our picturesque campus.

Some parents may have enjoyed the visit so much they even decided to enroll at Ohio University themselves.

Court Street was beaming with activity this weekend. Freshly spoiled bobcats giddily walked along the bricks with shopping bags filled with new treasures in hand. The endless growling of stomachs subsided and bobcats everywhere welcomed the rare sensation of being full.

Unfortunately the time for leisure has past. It’s Monday, the parents short lived visit is over (probably in the nick of time, wouldn’t want to do anything too embarrassing for mom). It’s time to return to the class room and hit the books.

Blame Stephen’s for your favorite bar being crowded.

If you made your way uptown this weekend you might have noticed a serious influx of people at your favorite watering whole.

Blame Stephen’s.

After a mix up with the authorities, Stephen’s was giving a citation for a violation of their liquor license the bar was unable to serve alcohol for the weekend.

Stephen’s is a fan favorite among many bobcats. Without being able to serve alcohol the entire bar “food chain” uptown was thrown out of whack.

Long lines outside of the bars were the least of your worries. The massive crowds packed into bars like Courtside Pizza were intimidating. The narrow space between the two halves of Courtside became a major choke point that was impassible at times. Many patrons experienced intense claustrophobia and simply just left.

Don’t fret though, Stephens will be back popping bottle this Friday at noon and the balance will be restored to the force.

Country Night Lights

If your parents didn’t stop by this weekend, you very well could have found yourself at the Country Night Lights music festival Friday and Saturday.

We are all familiar with #Fest, the annual music festival that closes out the spring fest season here in Athens. Traditionally #Fest caters to music fans more on the hip-hop and EDM spectrum, giving no love to country music fanatics.

To cure country music fans’ FOMO (fear of missing out), Prime Social Group created Country Night Lights festival last year.

The two day festival featured 13 artists, including headliners Jake Owen and Brett Eldredge.

Too much of the surprise of the concert goers, Country Night Lights was a hodgepodge of musical genres.

Chris Lane performed several covers including chart topping hits by The Weekend, Justin Timberlake, NSYC and of course the Backstreet Boys. Frankie Ballard also changed it up. Ballard got in touch with his inner Elvis when he covered “Hound Dog” and “Heart Break Hotel.”

All and all Country Night Lights was a major success and will be circled on the calendar and penciled into the planners of many bobcats next fall semester.

The Browns did what they do bestlose

The Browns really took one on the chin this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Going into the game there was nothing expected of the Browns, but really when is anything expected of the Browns other than another tally in the loss column? However, this week the Browns were starting their fifth starting quarterback in five games, the rookie Cody Kessler.

Too much of the surprise of the Browns faithful, their team had a serious chance to win this week. Thanks a well managed game by the rookie Kessler and a breakout performance by the former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Terrelle Pryor Sr.

Pryor ate. He pulled in eight receptions for for 144 yards, along with four rushes for 21 yard and a rushing touchdown.

For once it wasn’t the Browns defense blowing coverage or giving up loads of costly penalties, and for once it wasn’t the offense puttering along at a snails pace that lost the game for the Browns. No this time it was special teams.

The blame has solely been placed on the shoulders of Cody Parkey, the Browns new kicker.

Yeezy taught us.

Many bobcats made the trip up 33 Sunday to Columbus for Kanye West’s stop on his awe inspiring Saint Pablo Tour.

The self proclaimed “voice of our generation,” Kanye West, took to the air Sunday night in the Schottenstein Center in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000.

The Saint Pablo Tour features a suspended stage that hovers above the crowd. The stage moves and tilts to different angels around the area giving each view angle equal face time.

kanye-lasers
Laser lights display at the Kanye West concert in Columbus (Photo: Eben George)

The tour features no opening act. It was just Kanye and 31 of the most popular hip-hop songs of the last 12 years. Despite being an area show there was a strong sense of intimacy between Kanye and the crowd.

He even had a personal conversation with a girl by the name of Bristol.

“…specifically to the girl with the ‘in loving memory of’ with the Runaway tattoo right here,” Kanye said. “You literally brought tears to my eyes, sweetheart what’s your name?” he said.

The fans were not only there to hear Kanye rap, but also to hear one of his iconic stream-of-consciousness rants. Kanye preached the importance of artistic freedom, a need for self worth, optimism and to never stop dreaming.

kanye-dream
Kanye West took Columbus by storm Sunday night during his stop on the Saint Pablo Tour (Photo: Eben George)

Strong words coming from the hip-hop legend (21 Grammys), fashion designer and pop culture icon. It’s safe to say, we love Kanye like Kanye loves Kanye.

Bobcat parents invade: How to convince your folks OU life is colorful, healthy, and of course, alcohol-free

Parents in town

Hilarious comments flooded Twitter after Ohio University Parents Weekend kicked off Friday in Athens, Ohio.

In response to the annual tradition that allows students on campus reuniting with their families, Twitter user Chuck Morgan, @chuckmorgan23, wrote, “It’s not a parents weekend at OU unless a dad starts a bar fight.”

Another Twitter user, Haley Priebe, @haleypriebe, said that “My dad is so excited to come to ou for parents weekend because he thinks that means we are drinking 24/7, SOS.”

The Career and Leadership Development Center of Ohio University tweeted that every parent looked like this during the weekend:

Hope it’s not because they drank too much. Ohio University hosted several family-friendly activities during the weekend, including a brunch, a bike tour, and a campfire event. The purpose was to provide parents an opportunity to connect to the university.

It’s not all about party

How to convince your parents that Athens is more than an isolated college town? Among several activities held during the weekend, a magician’s show and a library event with a historical bent could answer the question.

Adam Trent: Magician Reinvented

Broadway star Adam Trent brought his magician performance “Adam Trent: Magician Reinvented” to Ohio University Friday night as part of the school’s Parents Weekend events.

Trent’s audience interactive performance, described as “mind-bending, jaw-dropping” by Time Out New York magazine, combines magic, dancing and singing, as well as stand-up comedy.

Steampunk Festival
Steampunkers gather at Athens Public Library Saturday, September 24, 2016.
Steampunkers gather at Athens Public Library Saturday, September 24, 2016.

A tea party, a shooting game, and workshops… Athens Public Library hosted its fourth annual Steampunk Festival Saturday. This year the theme was “Full Steam into the West.”

Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that focuses on steam power technology. The genre inspires Steampunk fashion that integrates modern designs with 19th-century Victorian elements.

If your families have decided to stay for another week
Athens Invitational Marching Festival

Several high school marching bands from Southeast and Central Ohio will compete in the 42nd annual Athens Invitational Marching Festival at Athens High School on Saturday, October 1.

The event is open to the public and admission is $5. Festival organizers will donate ticket proceeds for youth development. Find more information here.

Inaugural Habitat 5K Fall Fun Run/Walk

Celebrate the Fall season of Athens with your parents in a healthy way. A run/walk race will be held Saturday, October 1 at Athens Community Center. Admission is $25 for adults and $10 for children under 14. Registration proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity of Southeast Ohio. Find more information here.

Crazy relaxation at the looney bin.

It may sound a little crazy, but next time you get the chance you should really stop by the Athens Insane Asylum…I mean the Ridges.

The Ridges (formerly the Athens Insane Asylum), was a functioning mental health hospital from 1874 to 1993. Ohio University obtained the property in 1989, the land grab almost doubled the size of the Athens, Ohio main campus.

Despite its marred past of mistreating the mentally ill and partaking in acts of quackery such as lobotomy and shock therapy, along with its believed connection to the supernatural, the Ridges is a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

This piece of 19th century architectural gold sits atop the hill (or the ridge rather) on the south side of the Hocking River directly across from West Green. Take a walk out Richland Ave. past the roundabout. Then you will come to a park. Hang a right and then head up the rugged brick road.

(Photo: Eben George
Large black birds perched atop the historic Ridges complex at Ohio University. (Photo: Eben George)

The sprawling grassy knolls of the Ridges make for a perfect picnic perch, lofted above the Hocking River Valley. Bring a friend or a special companion along with you. Layout on a blanket, soak up some rays and raise your serotonin levels with some good ol’ fashion vitamin D.

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The beautiful green space at the Ridges makes for a perfect place to collect your thoughts, hit the books and hang with friends. (Photo: Eben George)

If being lazy and lethargic isn’t your thing, then get active and in touch with your nature side. Take a hike on one of the Ridges hiking trails. The favorite trail among students is the Ridges Cemetery Nature Walk. The gravel trail winds through the hill littered, dense wooded area surrounding the grounds.

The cemetery is somewhat of an eerie place, old, decrepit grave markers are scattered throughout a clearing on the hill. Many of the markers bear no name, rather just a number to identify the deceased patients. The lack of names is due to the stigma surrounding the mentally ill during the early days neuroscience and mental healthcare.

It doesn’t take long to notice that many of the buildings at the Ridges are in ill-repair. Despite the crumbling facade, the future does look bright for the the Ridges.

In 2015 OU announced that it has developed a tentative plan to make major renovations to the existing buildings. The plan also includes utilizing the land for new structures.

The university has yet to set a timeline and funding plan for the project in stone. However, the 700-acre complex presents the university with its greatest opportunity for physical expansion. This need for expansion becomes more evident as the main campus population inches closers toward 25,000

Ohio University has already renovated serval of the structures at the Ridges. Most notably the asylum’s administration building, now know as Lin Hall. It boast iconic victorian towers and a breathtaking three tiered porch. Inside the beautiful Scofield creation now resides the Kennedy Museum of Art .

Lin Hall's stunning Victorian era towers were designed by the prominent Cleveland architect, Levi Scofield, in 1868. (Photo: Eben George)
Lin Hall’s stunning Victorian era towers were designed by the prominent Cleveland architect, Levi Scofield, in 1868. (Photo: Eben George)

Regardless of your interest, the Ridges is a perfect place to unwind from the tightly wound spool of college life. Go and catch up on your R and R before you wind up being in need of a lobotomy yourself.