COLD WEATHER FOR POLAR BEARS: ERIE PICTURES
5 Years on Lake Erie
I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that after spending 4 years at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA and then another year as a Goldbar Recruiter at Edinboro State University I have so few pictures to show for it. Problem is that its just so damn cold there nobody is willing to stand outside and snap pictures.
The winters were always long and the summer's always short. It was one of my favorite places to have ever lived. Great thing about the cold is that most people can't or aren't willing to bear it. That means that the outside is there for you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Even the police don't like trudging around much.
While my hometown of NEPA had a large immigrant population of Irish/Italians, Erie had a much more diverse mix including a large amount of Mideastern immigrants. Out of all the places in the United States don't ask me why they would want to live in lake effect weather snowstorms all year. It probably has to do with the fact that since the mid-1990s, the International Institute of Erie (IIE), founded in 1919, has helped with the resettlement of refugees from Bosnia, Eritrea, Ghana, Iraq, Kosovo, Liberia, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, the former Soviet Union, and Vietnam. The inclusion of refugees in Erie's community augments religious diversity and prompts community events such as cultural festivals.
A City Build on Steel and Iron
Some of the greatest titans of industry had propelled Erie's growth in the early 20th century with iron and steel production. Today industries have transitioned into Plastics production as well as rail business. Nearly 10% of all plastics manufactured in the United States come from Erie, PA. Unfortunately Erie's unemployment rate is still floating at nearly 10% as well. Some may go as so far to use the term economically depressed to describe the city. Hey, the drinks were always cheap and strong.
Short Days, Long Nights
It comes with the geography, but Erie had some of the shortest days I had ever experienced. Since the winters were long it almost seemed typical for the sun to be setting by 4:30pm. By 5 it was nearly dark which made for some long nights. I'm not much of a sun guy so it was great as far as I was concerned. To others it wasn't the best of features.
If you think that the Discovery Channel show Ice Road Truckers is bad-ass, then you would love driving on the 20 mile stretch of I-79 which ran from Erie to Edinboro. I drove it many times to see my girlfriend (now wife) who went to Edinboro State. When I say that I was ice staking with my 2 ton death machine, (a.k.a car) I mean it. Talk about a rush, not to mention trying to slide past all the other cars spinning like tops across the road.