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New York, Meet Dallas


by Jerome Weeks 6 Feb 2009

The Hotel Joule rooftop pool The New York Times has visited Big D and lived to tell the tale for its Sunday Travel section. Not many surprises. Glitz, sports bars, Mexican food. High-end boutiques. Skip the reading and just go to the slideshow, you’ll pretty much get the story. And we’ve rarely looked so good […]

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The Hotel Joule rooftop pool

The New York Times has visited Big D and lived to tell the tale for its Sunday Travel section. Not many surprises. Glitz, sports bars, Mexican food. High-end boutiques. Skip the reading and just go to the slideshow, you’ll pretty much get the story. And we’ve rarely looked so good — although someone might want to tell the Times that going to artsdistrict.org for a walking tour of the Arts District will get  you a scary ATTACK WEBSITE warning. And it’s done so for months. (You can ignore it, if you like. I’ve done so several times and nothing has ever gpoiuqewpr/*89-29013jrna  with my computer.)

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  • Stephen Becker

    What’s up with this opening line to the story?:

    Dallas may not be a world-class city, but it’s pulling out all the stops to get there.

    They could probably say that about just about any of the 36 hours in… places that they visit. But what it feels like here is the Times saying, “Hey, I know you probably think it’s crazy that we’re saying visit Dallas, but hang with us here…”

  • Rawlins Gilliland

    I agree the NYT edge they began with is open-ended annoying. But I am surprised that they did catch some of what I consider the ‘flavor’ of my home town city rather than the cliché laden usual that even the local press almost inevitably mirrors.

    I could nit-pick their choices to the end of the week but at least they got around. There are alternatives I would have liked to have see illuminated (Nature access: The Audubon Center, Cedar Hill Preserve, World Class Retail: NorthPark Center, HP Shopping) ART: Nasher Sculpture, Neighborhood fun: Bishop Arts, Henderson/ Know: Music: Brooklyn Jazz Cafe. The edgy along with the sophisticated, the ethnic dining complexity of a city where 1 of 8 persons living here were born outside the United States.

    But they did a fast canvas and at least crossed the Trinity and availed themselves of disparate regions within this metro chasm. That’s (sadly and undisputedly) more than most Dallasites do in the course of their lives here.

  • Now that you point it out, RG, i grant you, those are more-off-the-beaten-path items. But like Stephen, I have to say, my hackles went up (I have extra-large, extra-flexible hackles) from the generic opening. The second sentence didn’t get much better than the first with the description of Dallas as “this oil-rich city.” And then we were off to Cowboys and the new stadium. This is like characterizing Manhattan with an opening reference to how obnoxious George Steinbrenner is.

    OK, so Exxon-Mobil is here, but oil has long ago ceased to be the Big Player in the local economy. Houston? Yeah, oil-rich and oil-poor. But ‘oil-rich Dallas’ is out of date.

    I suppose, though, you can’t exactly go with “financial-services-and-medical-research-rich city.”

  • Jennifer

    Stephen and I will agree to disagree on the opening line. Look, I’m not from here, but I’ve lived here for almost 10 years. And you know what? Dallas is not a “world-class city.” Get over it already.
    But I agree that it is trying, very hard, to get there. I’ve been to many, many world-class cities (including several that are smaller than Dallas). Dallas lacks so many key elements of what constitutes a world-class city, I don’t even know where to begin. But things like the Arts District will go a long way to getting it one. Step. Closer.
    On the other hand, even *I* cringed at the “oil-rich” reference. Good lord, people, there aren’t oil derricks pumping away along Central Expressway! But like the association with JR Ewing, some stereotypes will never go away…
    In any case, it’s always interesting to read how an outsider characterizes this place we call home.

  • Maura

    I have to agree with Jennifer–I’ve been to Dallas a few times to visit family and once to attend a wedding. At the time I was living in Brooklyn, and I found Dallas to be stifling and utterly devoid of “culture” (although I admit I enjoyed riding my first mechanical bull at a honky tonk). I escaped the wedding party long enough to dip into a Starbucks for non-fat latte and a copy of the New York Times so I wouldn’t go completely crazy.

    Even though I have moved on from the city several years ago, I don’t think I’ll ever let go of my New York snobbery. But the NYT article does remind me that there is always something to appreciate and explore no matter where you go.

  • Maura/Jennifer:

    I don’t wish to put words into Stephen’s mouth, but I think his objection to those lines is not so much the condescension (which is, nonetheless, quite accurate — Dallas is not a ‘world-class city,’ whatever the hell that may mean). It’s to the lines’ interchangeable, generic, any-size-fits-all-cities quality. You could say the same thing about nearly any village from Pittsburgh to Portland, Oregon: “It’s not world-class but it’s spending a lot of money to get there.”

    How about this one: “This is a heckuva town. Maybe not a great one for the ages, but the spirit of the place is unmistakable.”

    What city am I talking about? Detroit? Cleveland? Marseilles?