Saturday, March 15, 2008

A city that always sleeps

Recently I had to take a business trip. I traveled to the largest city of that particular state. Wanting to get a feel for the city, I stayed at its downtown.

I arrived on a Sunday. After checking into the hotel I ventured around. I needed to buy some deodorant and I had wanted to grab a drink. Essentially I wanted to take in the local color of the city.

Having had the pleasure of living in Indianapolis for eight years, I had grow accustomed to a vibrant downtown. Downtown Indianapolis really has all the essentials of a quality urban existence. There are good restaurants, museums, hotels, and parks to be had. I had grown so used to these attributes I had forgotten that for most cities, this is not the norm. It was especially not the norm for my recent visit. There were no stores to be had. There were no bars and no restaurants. I realize it was a Sunday but there was nowhere to go in that town. Nowhere. Nowhere to even buy deodorant.

I did see some potential development. This city was building a rather large building for condos (although why one would wish to live downtown there is beyond me). The city was also expanding its convention center and had just built a very nice museum of art. They apparently have some vision and are beginning to foster it.

It reminded me of my first trip to downtown Indianapolis. I first went there in 1994. It was a shell of the place it is now. I remember the Circle having no lighting and the city's core looking like a war zone. Of course it looked like a war zone because of the development of Circle Centre, which later changed the make up of downtown. The only thing to do, I mean the only thing, was to go to Union Station. Then Union Station was dubbed a festival market place.

Now look at the city. There is really isn't much you can't do downtown. And still there will be more: the new stadium and all the development that will come with it, the Penn Center, the development on South street, and the expansion of the convention center. The city is only going to get better. I have always loved Indianapolis for its constant expanding vision.

When I lived in Indianapolis I heard several people moan and complain about the city. I have traveled to most of the large cities in this nation. They have all had their pluses but none have so surpassed Indianapolis that I could never think of it as the place I wanted to live. Indy has its faults but it has certainly come a long way in the 14 years since I first visited it and is only going to get better. There are many places, including where I visited recently, that are just now starting the vision Indy did years ago.

If that positive thinking does make you feel better about Indy at least realize you can buy deodorant downtown when you need it.
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