Saturday, November 20, 2010
Inspired by an event in Oak Cliff, Dallas last year, where a young man convinced a bunch of people to come to a decrepit and crumbling block and imagine its possibilities, a friend of mine made a similar thing happen this weekend in Memphis. Broad Avenue, about one block east of where Midtown ends, is a gold mine waiting to happen. Home to a few art galleries, one bar, which happens to be one of my favorites in Memphis, and a couple of restaurants, it's primarily full of empty warehouses that border an ugly industrial area. At night it gets very dark indeed.
A New Face for an Old Broad brought together people from all over the city, including already well-established restaurants and cafes to transform Broad Avenue into a thriving urban street full of retail, galleries, music, cafes, bike lanes, people, and life. At least for a weekend. The idea is to get people to see a mostly abandoned area's potential to support business and encourage street life. Apparently so far it's been very successful. My friend who originally got the ball rolling on this endeavor is already eyeing other strips of crumbling eyesores around Midtown to get the makeover treatment.
Tom with our friends John and Michael. Aren't they cute?
I am loving Memphis right now. The air is so clean and fresh. The temperatures are perfect. The trees are bursting urgently with luminous colors. Everyone is in such a good mood. I also went to the Memphis College of Art's holiday bazaar this morning. Naturally I couldn't afford anything there, but it was super fun to go browse. I did buy one dry-mounted photograph from a series a guy did of an abandoned falling-down theater somewhere in the city. Not sure where it was, but the pictures were beautiful.
After Broad Avenue, I went running with John and Michael on the Memphis Greenline to continue to take advantage of the perfect day. There were so many people out. And I ran 6 miles without stopping!! So far (in my life) my record has been about 4. And it wasn't even that hard. I really like having some running buddies who won't let me quit when I start complaining that my legs are hurting. It felt like an accomplishment, and one that I didn't even set out to do.
Tonight we're going to a birthday party, and tomorrow I'm leaving first thing for Nashville for the Tennessee Counselor's Association annual conference. I'm really looking forward to that!