After Driving into Pothole on West 117th, Area Man Has Begun a New Life There

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After driving into a massive pothole at Clifton Boulevard and West 117th Street last week, Lakewood resident Harold Dreifer has now begun to live there. He tells Scene, "There was just nowhere else to go. It was a long fall down here; I decided that I may as well set up shop."

Drivers have reported growing concerns at that intersection, citing potholes that dwarf the valley of the Emerald Necklace. Intersections further south along West 117th have gained similar reputations for their car-eating canyons. Commenters in an increasingly popular reddit thread lamented over the weekend that the potholes around Cleveland are worse this year than at almost any other point in history.

Dreifer, unable to latch onto Twist Social Club's Wi-Fi, hasn't had a chance to add his thoughts to the reddit page. Rather, he shouts up from his underground dwelling and remarks that, "Yeah, these suckers are probably bigger than any I've seen. I mean, I'm now living in one of them."

The official word from the city of Cleveland couldn't be any more milquetoast: "According to The Division of Streets, this is an average year for the number of pot holes, though it may seem higher compared to the low number from last year's milder winter."

Over the weekend, we brought out the official Scene spelunking gear and dropped into Dreifer's humble abode. After only a few days, he has already accrued what seems to be a fairly middle-class lifestyle. Fletcher, his two-month old Schnauzer, bounds across shag carpeting. There's a hearty serving of Uncle Ben's rice boiling on the stove. A stack of Crain's back issues adorns a nearby coffee table. "Hey," Dreifer says casually, "I've still gotta follow the trends. Buy low, right?" He chuckles.

Though Dreifer's transition to underground life came accidentally, some Clevelanders are now considering purposefully moving into potholes in other parts of town. South Marginal Road, Fulton Road, and various points along Detroit have all come up in recent tips to Scene. Cleveland resident Lois Shuppel says it might be nice to have a little vacation spot in town; Florida's a bit too pricey for now. Likewise, Art Tandoni, a lifelong Collinwood-er, says that pothole life sure can't be any worse than fighting through Waterloo Road construction all day. He tells Scene that he spent a brief stint last fall living inside a bulldozer. "It's not like anyone was ever out here using it," he says.

But Dreifer cautions the uninitiated that moving into a pothole comes with its own set of hassles.

"Listen, it's not for everybody. It's really not for anybody. But once you're down here, hey, life's not so bad." Dreifer cracks open a Fresca and makes an idle remark about catching up on the new House of Cards season as we depart and climb back to Scene HQ, safely above ground.


Per the request of commenters, information on compensation claims for pothole damage in Cleveland is available online.

Note the fine print, though: "The City is not responsible for damages caused by potholes if it did not know about the potholes and have a chance to fix it before the damage occured (sic)."

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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