Low flying clouds today and the temperature began dropping about the time I got back home. I needed an election distraction and about the only half-way interesting thing I haven’t already shot pictures of was our Paseo Arts District. Folks, it ain’t much. And it was dead quiet today on top of that. But the buildings are kinda pretty with bold colors.
Paseo Drive is one of those curvy streets in an area one mile north of downtown that drew an artsy crowd some decades back. When I was driving the cab on night shift, this was also dense population of partying young men who wanted a ride to and from the gay clubs a couple of miles away. At some point it was officially recognized as an artsy place because it started making money. So they cleaned up the buildings and painted them nice and now you can find expensive trendy restaurants, clubs with live bands catering to oddball musical tastes and very high-priced art galleries (by Okie standards).
So after ghosting around that area a bit, I headed back south through some pretty snazzy neighborhoods with names like Mesta Park and the billion-dollar Heritage Hills. Travel a mile in any direction and you can find some of the most decrepit poverty areas, but the cancer of urban renewal is pushing them farther and farther away.
The yuppies who make it big can buy real houses here. Yet, as a child I lived in two different houses just a little south of this area; one was actually a plain old house downtown. Both places are long gone, replaced with businesses. I got this picture of the old Plaza Court (above right), a triangular building now under preservation. Across the street is the old Kaiser’s Ice Cream store, now a bison burger restaurant called Grateful Bean (was once a vegetarian place, but didn’t make enough that way). Lurking behind it is one of the newer extensions of Saint Anthony’s Hospital. The original hospital is two blocks away, but they got enough financial support to start borging other medical properties and built more mini-hospitals all over the Metro.
The Plaza Court and Kaiser’s building stand on a traffic circle. To the east is Brown’s Bakery, in a building which used to be a grocery store with an attached TG&Y (dime store) in my childhood days. Down farther east on the end of that block is this little covered front where some guys are working on one of those tiny houses. The sales office now occupies what used to be a tire store, allegedly the place where Timothy McVeigh stopped to ask for directions before bombing the Murrah Building.
I’m not an urban kind of guy, but all of this downtown was once my playground some 55 years ago. It’s just personal nostalgia.