Monday, December 23, 2002

Dallas is odd

I lived here for a year in the mid-80's - it's still as odd as ever. I should say at this point that I'm the flaming liberal in my family, moved to NYC, married a Jew - all the things my family never intended for me. Ironically, it is because I was transferred from NYC to Dallas in the early 80's by my job that my brother and my mother moved here - now they've been here almost 20 years. Ain't life a hoot.

Anyway - this place is just odd. So many fences; large, stockade type fences that surround each home creating a little mini-enclave, a tiny republic - closed yards and closed minds. Is that unfair? Maybe. Too much homogeneity scares me (a NEW kind of homo-phobia...) As our neighbor who used to live in Big D says so eloquently, "Dallas, always a disappointment..."

We went to Old City Park in downtown Dallas (just blocks from the site of Kennedy's assassination) - what an odd experience THAT was. Most towns are pretty proud of their history - they'll have historic buildings, walking tours, plaques - parks were you can visit restored homes - but here in Dallas if you want to experience any of this you have to PAY $7.00 per person ($4.00 for kids) to walk around this park with re-created homes. The park itself is just a few blocks large - quite expensive when you figure the admission fee by square feet. Don't get me wrong - I believe in supporting historic renovation - but this would be like charging someone huge money to walk through any of the historic parks in New Jersey or New York. I know that places like Sturbridge Village and the Shaker Village charge - and they're worth it. This place was DEAD - No ONE was there - and when we decided that we couldn't swing $62 for our group to walk around the park we were followed back to our car to make sure we didn't snap any surreptitious photos on the way out. They may be friendly here, but they're not real nice.

Then we went to the "restored" West End - our family assured us that since they'd kicked the homeless out it was a much nicer place to visit. Well, there was an arcade, I remember that - and there were SO MANY RESTAURANTS and a LOT of expensive parking. One or two restaurants is a good thing, but 20 on one street - all of them pretty much the same? One standout was Atomic Sushi. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that - wrong on SO many levels...

Tonight G & I are going to try to get away to a cozy restaurant type of place - our main criteria is that it be a place that is NOT a chain, NOT mass produced and has great atmosphere. Any suggestions??
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