14 October 2007
A plug for the ol' hometown
The Salt Lake Tribune carries feature articles from Lonely Planet, and this one hits home, as it were:
The hit-the-highway anthem "Route 66" plugs one place on its 2,500-mile journey for its beauty. But that was only because no other place rhymed with "oh so pretty."
For years, cross-country drivers pulling into Oklahoma City ("OKC") found a flat, sprawling, dead-quiet city with three crisscrossing interstates begging to take you elsewhere. Pretty? No, a plain Jane at best.
But that was then. Now, as Oklahoma braces for its 100th birthday this November, its capital is strutting about a stunning makeover. After the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building downtown, the city surprisingly voted in an enormous sales tax, which has ushered on more than $2 billion in public/private projects.
Minor correction: the "enormous sales tax" was voted in during 1993.
But I have to give him this:
I know, because I was a local once. When I worked downtown in the early '90s, you tore out at 5 p.m. sharp. Now many locals come then for dinner and drinks, NBA games, Stones concerts, foreign films, rock climbing in a converted grain silo, or to feed Fido in new loft apartments on Bricktown's mile-long canal.
The NBA, of course, is currently on hold for a year or two, maybe longer. Still, the old business about "rundown at sundown" was true: by six the concrete jungle was more of a mausoleum, and you never saw anyone downtown on weekends. And who would ever have imagined Oklahoma City as a rowing center?
We're still not gorgeous, exactly, but if we haven't turned sow's ears into silk purses, we're not turning them into pork rinds either. Unless, of course, you want pork rinds.Posted at 7:00 PM to City Scene