Archive for January, 2011

Dare you to find this view. The skyline is considerably larger since this old postcard was published. But you still won't find a body of water like that. Even when it's not just a dry bed, the Trinity River never looks like this.

We’re all atwitter here about the Super Bowl coming to town. It’s always odd/interesting to see one’s own home through others’ eyes–kind of like seeing a photo of yourself and realizing you don’t really look like you imagine. Or hearing your own voice…the less said about that, the better.

I have to shill my book, The Yankee Chick’s Survival Guide to Texas as Yankees descend on us. But I feel compelled to discuss my hometown, too. So many misperceptions out there…

Firstly, the game will not be played in Dallas. It will be in Arlington, which is among the “mid-cities” between Dallas and Fort Worth. (I heard one NFL announcer describing Arlington as being “crammed in” between Dallas and Fort Worth.)

Arlington is peeved that everyone is talking about the Super Bowl in Dallas. They are trying to get everyone to use the term “North Texas.” We also call this the “Metroplex,” a term invented by an ad whiz back in the 1970s.

Of course, the new stadium—we call it Jerryworld—is practically a city in itself. A very expensive city, and it’s gonna be even more expensive for the game. According a story in the The Dallas Morning News, people will pay “$10 for a 16-ounce Miller Lite beer, compared to $8.50 at a regular Cowboys game; $7 for a 32-ounce soda in a souvenir cup, vs. $6; $10 for a Southwest barbecue chicken sandwich, vs. $8.50; $6 for a hot dog, vs. $5.50…”

People also paid $200 to stand in the parking lot and watch the game on big screens, which sounds loony to me. I hope the weather is pleasant for them. We’re expecting temperature in the teens this week. Betcha didn’t know that happened here, did you?

ESPN  is broadcasting from Fort Worth’s Sundance Square in front of a mural of a cattle drive. Fort Worth comes by its cowboy reputation honestly—it was on the Chisolm Trail and its Stockyards entertainment district is in an actual former stockyards. I love both Sundance Square and the Stockyards. Nothing wrong with them. But Dallas’ popular cattle drive sculpture on Pioneer Plaza is disingenuous. Dallas has always been banking and wheeler-dealering. The sculpture was controversial when it was commissioned in the early ’90s, but powerful developer Trammel Crow wanted it, so there it is. Dallas is more W Hotel than home on the range. It’s more Prada than Wranglers. It’s a little bit J.R. Ewing, but it’s Erykah Badu as well.

People who skim the surface of the Metroplex often come away with a crazy impression of it as either 1) all cowboys (because that’s what they look for) or 2) nothing but highways or 3) devoid of culture beyond bluebonnet paintings and twanging guitars. And titty bars, of course. We have a lot of those. Blech.

But really, with a little effort, you can find cool. The New York Times ventured into a couple of areas that are coming into their own, coolness-wise: the Bishop Arts District in Dallas and West 7th Street in Fort Worth.

I’ll toss out two insider tips for visitors: my  favorite places to meet friends for cocktails are the snazzy retro Belmont Hotel, near Bishop Arts, for a dazzling  view of the Dallas skyline; and  Tradewinds Social Club a friendly dive you would never find if you didn’t know it was there. I’ll share a few more suggestions through the week and am happy to take questions as well. Just post ’em here.

(BTW, A couple of years ago, I visited Door County, Wis., which necessitated flying into Green Bay. I flew over Lambeau Field during a game and was dazzled by the crowd. It was my introduction to that hometown passion, and for that reason alone, I am rooting for Green Bay. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less. Actually, I’m leaving town Super Bowl Sunday…)

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Don't Cry!

Though the year’s dreariest month is about to visit, distractions abound. Here, some photos I snapped of bright or enjoyable or, even, flat-out happy moments from around the U.S. Have any you want to add to the pile? Share links in the comments or feel free to send a jpg my way at jenna@jennaschnuer.com and I’ll post some of them here.

A night out at the Carter Family Fold.

A wall in Los Angeles. Twenty-three percent of all buildings should be painted aqua.

Mac (the curmudgeonly bunny), the finest of all the animals that spin round Chattanooga's Coolidge Park Carousel.

The Iditarod is just over a month away.

When all else fails, there's always shave ice at Matsumoto's.

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