Photography by Brian Kelly
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
What feelings come to mind when you look at a staircase before you start the climb?
Does the Rocky soundtrack start playing in your head? Do you repeat to yourself, “I think I can… I think I can…” with every step up you take?
Staircases are one of life’s greatest metaphors. They present a challenge—something to conquer. We think of them as a vertical direction with a final destination; not like a work by M.C. Escher where the staircase seems to repeat like a hamster wheel. We trust that if we make the climb, there is a reward at the top. So we take each step.
Make the Climb Up Monroe North in Grand Rapids
The Belknap-Monroe North neighborhood offers one of the best outdoor staircases in the city. The climb begins on Division Ave. and then ascends close to Lookout Park, which offers the most breathtaking views of the city and the river. Standing at the bottom, one begins to think, “Maybe I should just forgo the climb and get a burger and beer at Garage Bar across Division, or have a crafted cocktail at Speak EZ!”
And yet, temptation doesn’t have to be a distraction from the climb—it can be the reward for taking the steps. Think of climbing the stairs like the first punch at a CKO Kickboxing class, the first leg lift at Beer City Barre, or settling into the first warrior pose at a Funky Buddha Yoga rooftop class at 616 on Monroe. We can all take the first step towards our own Lookout Park. It’s about our health—our well-being in making the climb!
The Revitalization of North Monroe
Halfway up the climb, the mind can shift. You may start to ask yourself, “Should I turn back, or keep going?” Life offers a great deal of middle ground for contemplation. Reflection offers a moment of nostalgia, and looking back on the Monroe North landscape, you see where factories once stood. 616 Lofts at 820 Monroe was once the Sackner Products Factory and then home of Underground Studio and Lafontsee Galleries in 1987.
The Rowe opened in 1923 and then evolved into Olds Manor, the first urban retirement community in 1963. Now, The Rowe is a mixed-use building with Atwater Brewery as an anchor brew spot. The Grand Rapids Press building stood where the MSU College of Medicine now gleams. Our city embraces the “where we were” and relishes in “the climb ahead” by evidence of the revitalization of the Belknap-Monroe North neighborhood.
Make the Climb with us at 616 Lofts in Grand Rapids
It’s the faith that our city is up for the climb to a better outlook. At the top of the climb, you get the chance to experience the reward of taking the first steps. You also get to cherish all the historic buildings our city has to offer, like McKay Tower, the Amway Grand Plaza, the progressive downtown campus of Grand Valley State University, and the bridges that connect us as a witness of the force of the river running through the great city. Through it all, we glimpse the steeples peeking through the buildings, reminding us of our roots in the faith of making the climb.
Come join the city on making the climb. Apply to live at 616 Lofts today!