Daniel J. Moves Downtown


I moved to a new apartment recently. Nothing too noteworthy on its own, except that in doing so, I left the suburbs of Lansing's Westside to become an urban pioneer in Downtown Lansing.

Why? It was time for a change.

Inspiration

While visiting a friend in San Francisco this past spring, I experienced the advantages of urban living. Walking to the corner shop or nearby restaurants was a nice change of pace, and I was eager for the chance to do the same in Lansing. Sure, our city doesn’t have the same hustle and bustle of San Francisco, but I liked the idea of living near lots of activity.

The lease at my West Side apartment came up and I started looking for a new home Downtown.

I had a few goals in mind: an easy walk to work, access to the Lansing River Trail, something near Washington Square and with proximity to the Lansing City Market.

Giddy up.

Conservation

I wanted to walk to work in order to save on gas money. I'm also now a good 20 minutes closer to a majority of my friends, and a short walk from most of my favorite Downtown haunts.

By walking to work, I stopped paying for parking Downtown, which more than covered the slight increase in rent at my new apartment. I actually came out a bit ahead.

I plan on making use of CATA. With bus stops just a few minutes from my door, there is no reason not start using more public transportation.

If I could survive public transportation in a big city like San Francisco, I certainly could give it a go in the much smaller Lansing.

I’m especially eager to make use of CATA’s Entertainment Express, the trolley that runs from downtown to East Lansing. I look forward to not having to worry about parking in East Lansing on a Saturday night, or driving myself home after a late night on the town.

Convenience

My new digs are spitting distance from the Lansing City Market and Roma Bakery, granting me plenty of shopping opportunities.

At my old place, I wouldn't venture out to the big super markets for groceries until after 9:00 p.m. as to avoid the crowds, but now I can’t wait to stop by the City Market or Roma Bakery on my walk home from work, or even during my lunch break.

I love shopping for produce at the City Market. Why? The vendors. I recently chatted with one of the vendors about his upcoming crop of heirloom tomatoes. I couldn't do that at a big super market.

And if I don’t feel like cooking, there are plenty of places to grab a meal within walking distance, such as the Nut House, Geno’s Pizza or Soup to Nutz Bistro. Better still, a few of my favorite places are now only a short drive away, like Soup Spoon Café on Lansing’s Eastside, or Pablo’s and Mama Bear’s in Old Town.

Health

Another perk of Downtown living? The Lansing River Trail, which is even better now that I’m closer to some of my favorite restaurants and bars.

Before moving, I would fight to stay awake after my drive home. But now I walk and am energized when I get home. Instead of falling asleep on the couch after my boring car commute, I can use the River Trail to jog, take a bike ride or to take a leisurely walk up to Old Town.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I rode a bike before moving Downtown, and if you saw my old Huffy you’d believe me. I originally received it as a birthday present about fifteen years ago. Yikes.

Riding my archaic mountain bike up and down the River Trail has me considering a new model, perhaps something better suited for urban adventures. I plan on straying from River Trail sooner than later as well.

I’m getting way more exercise — just by going to work. I get in at least a mile of walking thanks to my walk to and from work. If I go home for lunch — which I can thanks to being so nearby — I’m getting in over two miles a day.

It is nice not having to worry about getting enough exercise. And yes, I plan on still walking to work during the winter months. That was another reason I decided to walk to work—I hate driving in the snow. Thanks to lake effect snow making Grand Valley State University’s campus look like the planet Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, trekking through Lansing’s milder winters on foot doesn’t scare me.

I just need to remember to invest in a better pair of snow boots and gloves. Or buy a Tauntan.

Entertainment

I can walk to a Lugnuts game, which will come in handy on Thirsty Thursdays. I don’t have to worry about parking for Silver Bells or Common Ground. This summer featured a bunch of free concerts on Washington Square, as well as the Taste of Downtown event.

Don’t forget all of the events in Old Town, which is walking distance for me thanks to the River Trail. I missed the Festivals of the Sun and Moon, but I’m looking forward to Oktoberfest.

And if I want something a bit more low-key, I can always hit up the Downtown branch of the Capital Area District Library for a novel, music or a movie.

A New Chapter

Change is a good thing, and after five years in the same apartment, I definitely needed a shake-up. Five years was the longest I had lived in the same place since graduating high school, so moving to a new place and a new part of Lansing was a big deal.

I’m excited about starting this new chapter in my life as a urbanite, living and working within the city.

And I’m glad I hired movers. Best $345 I ever spent. Seriously. You wouldn’t think boxes of comic books and action figures would be heavy, but it all adds up.

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Daniel J. Hogan is the co-host of LansingNext and an aspiring photoblogger. You can follow him on Twitter @danieljhogan. 

Dave Trumpie is the managing photographer for Capital Gains. He is a freelance photographer and owner of Trumpie Photography.



Photos:

Daniel Hogan in his new home, with the Downtown skyline behind him

Roma Bakery

Lansing City Market

River Trail

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

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