Court Square park a block from my apartment building finally does appear to be turning around. I went to the first of their new music series last Wednesday, and it was well-attended, maybe 200 people. I talked with people from the Center City Commission and they hope to have the park entirely full by the end of the summer.
The event runs from 5 to 7 each Wednesday evening, and then will move to a different downtown nightspot each week. Last week the after-party was at Swig, and they were handing out coupons good for a free appetizer at Swig. Not a bad deal. I keep meaning to sample more of their menu, but for some reason I always seem to come back to the fried olives.
They were also handing out other goodies, in particular pedometers with the Definitely Downtown logo on them. The downtown hot dog vendor and a snow-cone vendor were there, and they were selling beer, although I think $4 is a little pricey for a 16 os. cup – not even Beale Street charges that much.
A few days later, on Saturday, I walked past the park and saw something I had never seen before. People were in the park, sitting on blankets, picnicing. Even a couple of families. It’s so nice to see some activity in the park that isn’t the bum-and-pigeon show. Didn’t see anyone with a laptop trying out the new wireless, though. Of course, it was in the 90s outside and laptops shouldn’t be used in that kind of heat. It may be September before it’s laptop weather in the park.
Other downtown news: Wang’s Mandarin Bistro is now open at Main and Gayoso, and it’s a nice-looking place. Haven’t been in to eat yet, just peered through the window. And there’s now a Corky’s Express location at Third and Peabody Place, in the Hampton Inn where the beignet shop used to be. Catacorner to the Hampton, a Hooters is scheduled to open next month. And two new clubs are supposed to open on Beale by fall.
Meanwhile, I’m finding that I don’t even have to leave my building to get a good meal. Was walking through the lobby the other day, when I ran into a caterer/professional chef and his family who just moved in. “Paul, are you going to come eat with us? We’re grilling sea bass on the roof and we have plenty.” I already had dinner plans with a chef – Boy-ar-dee – but I decided plans could change. It was delicious.
All right, that’s enough for now. I’ll try to post a little bit more regularly to make up for the lack of material the past two weeks.