It is that time of year again, where droves of fans hit the light rail and head to Chase Field for some baseball. Some fans would agree that opening day should be a national holiday. Since it’s not, some of us will be ditching work with our Pops to catch the game. The Arizona Diamondbacks will begin the season facing the San Diego Padres as Jon Garland is scheduled to face Dan Haren on the mound. It should make for an exciting game. For those that have not had a chance to attend opening day, there will be plenty of pomp and circumstance prior to the first pitch.
Last year, the Diamondbacks won their home opener, but were off to a shaky start and ended the season in last place in the National League West. Losing is never fun, but in and around Chase Field, the fun never stops. There is plenty to do before and after the game, and we’ll be highlighting some of the happenings throughout the season, as we follow the D-backs in this exciting new season of baseball.
This year, the Diamondbacks have a surprising amount of depth and talent and made some smart moves during the off-season. Fans will be pleased to hear that Baseball Prospectus (MLB’s prediction authority) has the D-backs in a close race for second place in their division. With new additions in the field and on the mound, 2010 should be an exciting year for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Thinking about heading to Chase Field for a game? Take the light rail. The stations at Washington/Jefferson and 3rd Street drop you off right at the stadium! For ticket information, head to the D-backs site.
It’s a beautiful time of year, and the Phoenix Convention Center will delight out-of-state visitors. DPJ extends its own form of hospitality by providing a little Conventional Wisdom — some insight into what Purina Mills expo-goers can find/view/sip/snack on while visiting Downtown Phoenix.
February 16-18, 2010 — Purina Mills, LLC
Let DPJ be the first to welcome you to the neighborhood! Looking over your itinerary, we can’t help but notice you’re going to have some free time to explore the heart of our fair city.
Average high: 77°
Average low: 52º
The Melrose District on 7th Avenue north of Indian School Road is 1-mile stretch rich with boutiques and eclectic restaurants, many of which welcome your furry friends and your pets. The Melrose District is a quick walk from the Central/Indian School METRO light rail station and from Steele Indian School Park. Qcumberz is an antique junkie’s paradise, but go with a searcher’s spirit. Each room is jam packed with furniture, books, artwork, knickknacks, cookware and beyond. Across the way is Paris Envy, a charming shop filled with French and French-inspired antique and reproduction household items. You’ll find lots of frill here, but substance, too. Other spots to check out are Flo’s on 7th, Retro Ranch, Hollywood Regency Vintage and Fig’s Home and Garden, just to name a few. For more on these shops, check out “Get Your Boutique On: Melrose”.
All that shopping is bound to work up a mighty appetite. Enter Harley’s Italian Bistro, a restaurant that has been a Phoenix tradition for nearly 60 years. The staff here will make you feel right at home, whether you are a regular or it’s your first visit. At Harley’s you will find generous portions of fresh, made-from-scratch sauces, pastas, hand-tossed pizza and homemade cannoli and tiramisu. Harley’s also has a small patio out back where pets are welcome to stay at your side.
If you’re craving lighter fare, directly across the way is Copper Star Coffee, a renovated gas station turned café, and self-proclaimed “Sandwich King of 7th Ave.” Here, enjoy an iced cappucino (yes, they make such a thing) with a side of free wi-fi on one of the many couches or community tables.
Phoenix dinner options span across many regions and continents, and locally grown dinner options are on the rise in Downtown Phoenix, with even more options if you hop on the METRO light rail.
Check out The Turf Irish Restaurant and Pub, where “there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met.” Serving an array of cuisine, from classic Irish fare to steak sandwiches and handmade wraps, there’s something for every palate. Stay for a pint or two at the bar, at $5.50 a pour. Unwind after a long day at the conference by enjoying live music on Thursdays and Fridays.
RailLife.com’s quick METRO light rail tip: The light rail line splits heading south into one-way streets at Roosevelt station (Central/Roosevelt) — 1st Avenue heads south, while Central Avenue goes north. When the line heads east, you’ll be traveling along Jefferson Street. When going west, it’s Washington Street. These one-way streets converge at 26th Street. Check out a map if you’re confused.
We *heart* Downtown Phoenix. Yep, we are embracing the cliche. And what better way to expound on the object of our affection, then to share the voices of DPJ. Read on for a few of our favorite things.
Note: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the list of destinations mentioned here in one handy guide.
Si Robins, DPJ Managing Editor
1. Grilled vegetable sandwiches at the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar
2. Urban kickball at Conspire
3. Free nights at the Phoenix Art Museum
4. Urban infill at Plus Minus Studio
5. Retro duds at R&R Surplus
6. Virtually any cocktail at SideBar
7. The sheer potential of a space like Fractal
8. Environmental friendliness at Civic Space Park
9. Live music at the Lost Leaf
10. Tammie Coe cookies
11. Cornhole at Local Breeze
12. Biking in Encanto
13. The buzz at Suns playoff games
14. The relaxed vibe of Third Fridays
Yuri Artibise, Staff Writer
1. Business meetings at Lola Downtown
2. Chatting up tourists on the Metro Light Rail
3. Co-working at Lux Coffeebar
4. Buying unique housewarming gifts at Frances
5. Lusting after jewelry by Heidi Abrahamson
6. Discussing ‘infill development’ at After Hours Gallery
7. Having breakfast for lunch at Matt’s Big Breakfast
8. Stretching out on the grass at Roosevelt Park (3rd Ave, south of Roosevelt)
9. Searching for ghosts at the Hotel San Carlos
10. Winding down with a cookie and coffee at Royal at the Market
11. Getting disoriented in James Turrell’s light sculpture “Mohl ip” at the Phoenix Art Museum
12. Participating in the Critical Mass bike ride
13. Noshing on chilquiles verdes at Gallo Blanco
14. Sampling the rotating tap at Roosevelt Tavern
Kenny Bump, “Sips & Grub” Blogger
1. First meal at Gallo Blanco in the Clarendon Hotel
2. Watching The Swell Season in the Orpheum Theatre
3. Roosevelt Tavern
4. Tuck Shop
5. Jimmy Eat World’s Secret show at Modified Arts
6. The PHX Brew Party hosted by communitas
7. The view of Downtown from the top of After Hours Creative
8. Phoenix Design Fair in the Anchor Building
9. Dear and the Headlights during Star Swim on top of the Wyndham
10. Playing my first gig at the musical opening of fractal
11. St. Francis
12. Lux Coffee
14. The first First Friday I attended and knew that I didn’t want to leave
Janessa Hilliard, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Paddle boating in Encanto Park
2. Tea at the Japanese Friendship Garden
3. The view from the top of South Mountain
4. A picnic in Civic Space Park
5. Spending a day lounging by the rooftop pool at Hotel San Carlos
6. Biking around Downtown
7. Taking a tour of the State Capitol. Can you name the five c’s of Arizona?
8. Matt’s Big Breakfast – Why cook breakfast the morning after when you can just go out for it? Almost always worth the wait.
9. Cibo — It’s like your neighborhood diner, except with an outside patio that’s oh-so-romantic.
10. Paisley Town — If you want a variety of shopping & great food at one adorable, cohesive location.
11. Sweets & Beats on Grand Avenue — If your sweet tooth needs satisfying while adding to your record collection.
12. Lost Leaf — If you love a low-key atmosphere where the conversation is stimulating and the music isn’t overpowering.
13. Tammie Coe Cakes — There is nothing more beautiful — or delicious! — than these amazing creations.
14. The Compass Room at the Hyatt — The rotating dining room view is totally worth it, if you’re willing to shell out a pretty penny.
Deona Smith, DPJ Staff Writer
1. Local Breeze – My place away from home where everybody knows my name! This is hands down the best patio to chill out at in Downtown Phoenix.
2. Civic Space Park — Whenever I need to get away, I walk to this park and enjoy the grass and view of the city.
3. The Willo District — Whenever you want to take a Sunday drive and check out some historical homes, this is my favorite place to do it.
4. Central Ave. — You might be thinking just Central Ave.? Yes, just Central Ave., I love driving down it to get home, the view of the city just over the bridge warms my heart.
5. Carly’s — Anytime I am craving smoked mozzarella I go to Carly’s for my favorite sandwich in town…The Europa. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
6. The Roosevelt Tavern — Warm, cozy and friendly… The Roosevelt is my favorite place for happy hour and the coldest beer on tap in the city.
7. Roosevelt Row — I live in the neighborhood, I can’t help but love it!
8. Bikini Lounge – Who doesn’t enjoy a great dive bar? Bikini is the place to be especially on a First Friday.
9. US Airways Center — Let’s face it, I am a Suns fan and love going to the games!
10. The Sheraton Hotel — Just this location in general is my favorite part of Downtown. I love the feel of “Downtown” and this makes me feel like I am in the heart of it.
11. The many locally owned coffee shops in Phoenix — From Fair Trade to Lux, each place offers a unique atmosphere plus great coffee and teas to be had!
12. Two Hippies — Beach House, Magic Mushroom Burgers, Pita House and Breakfast Joint, oh my! Great atmosphere at each location and awesome eats!
13. Heritage Square — It hosts the Matsuri Festival, one of my favorite yearly events. Not to mention, Rose and Crown and Pizzeria Bianco!
14. Burton Barr Central Library — The best library in Arizona. The architecture, the smell of a library, several quiet places to read and the helpful staff — the Phoenix library is simply awesome.
Today I let myself get upset about something that I don’t care about. I was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and saw his expose of John McCain’s flagrant flip-flop on the medieval Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that is now being debated in Congress (by the way, for a great synopsis of McCain’s “opinion” on the matter, go to PoliFact).
I’m not sure if it is the pressure from his upcoming primary challenge from local blowhard and intellectual broccoli J.D. Hayworth, or if he truly despises gay people, but McCain’s reversal of opinion on the draconian military policy — in the face of every leader of the Armed Forces asking that the ban be lifted — is at best inexplicable, and at worst inexcusable.
There’s only one problem. As a person whose political and economic philosophy is somewhere between Ludwig Von Mises and Emma Goldman, I am completely opposed to the very existence of an organized coercive force like the military. I shouldn’t be offended by a ridiculous opinion about a military that I don’t really even think should exist. Yet somehow I am. Sure, I could wrap it all up in a bow of justification by saying that I see the change in the policy as a reflection of a general change in society to be more accepting of gay people. This is precisely how I found myself so unhappy with the results of gay marriage propositions in several states like Arizona and California, and happy with the results in places like Iowa. In my deep philosophical core, I don’t believe that a coercive state should have the ability to place its imprimatur on any relationship, gay or straight, but I still see these decisions as a reflection of society’s acceptance (or lack of acceptance) of gay people.
This has turned so-called gay issues into a guilty pleasure. Not a guilty pleasure like listening to Lady Gaga with the sunroof open, but a sort of philosophical guilty pleasure — a chance to feel like I am part of a play that is taking place on a stage that I don’t even believe should exist.
I do the same intellectual tap dance every time I ride public transit. I absolutely love the convenience of getting on the train and taking it where I need to go. But, I can’t help but think that every time I get on the train, I am actually pulling a couple of dollars out of the public till in the form of subsidies from the government that are required to keep the trains running. If it were up to me in my mad Austrian world, John Galt and I would form a private company to provide fast, clean transportation through the city at a market rate. Alas, that isn’t the world I live in. Instead, I live in a world in which I get on a train that is paid for by the tax dollars of a family in Missouri trying to make a house payment on one income because a family member lost a good-paying job at a factory. Now that is an odd ethical dilemma for a single, financially OK, city-dwelling guy like me.
Call it cognitive dissonance or just the ravings of a madman, but I have somehow figured out how to live out a few guilty intellectual pleasures while maintaining my sanity, and getting to Downtown without the need to drive through the First Friday hullabaloo.
This week I finally broke down and bought an iPhone. I bought it because it just works. For the last few months, I have been rotating between Android phones, then bought an iPod Touch and a Verizon MiFi so that I could have an iPhone-like experience without actually giving in to the AT&T machine. By the time I put my phone, iPod Touch, MiFi, my wallet and my keys in my pockets as I walked out of the house, they were literally overflowing. God help me if I tried to squeeze a Metro pass or some change in there.
Sure, my Android phone plus iPod Touch plus MiFi combination had the features I needed to check in on Yelp, read Facebook posts and check my Google Voice messages, but it was a real pain in the ass to find a place for everything, not to mention the trouble that went into managing three different sets of batteries.
This electronic experience caused me to reflect on my recent post about why people move away from Phoenix to places like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. I think the reason people move from Phoenix to these cities is because, like an iPhone, they just work. In Portland you just jump on the streetcar to get wherever you want to go in the central city. Need to go further? Hop on the extensive light rail system. Restaurants, bars, and shopping are all oriented around public transit and dense neighborhoods. It just works.
In Phoenix, things are a bit more like the Android phone, iPod Touch, MiFi combo. Sure you can make it to a dense neighborhood, but that is a rare experience, and almost considered an oddity by those who aren’t committed to the city’s central core. Public transport connections outside of the single light rail line are sparse and unreliable. And don’t even get me started about the light rail segment between Phoenix and Tempe, on which I am generally asked to disembark and get on the next train at least 30% of the time.
Is this a standard Phoenix bitch session? Not at all. There is a charm to the Android ecosystem. It is complicated, it asks a lot of you and you feel clever when you master it. But, it is a hell of a lot easier to just get the phone that everyone has, that everyone has apps for and just works.
The goal of a thriving Downtown in Phoenix should be to make our town an iPhone. Get businesses, people, leaders, kids, neighbors and friends talking about how we can make living, working and shopping Downtown an enjoyable experience. And, for the love of God, let’s keep the trains running on time.