Beale Street is getting out of control

You know, when something negative happens Downtown I always question whether I should blog about it. I love my neighborhood and I want people to come down here and visit and enjoy the amenities and even consider moving here. For years I have been saying that there is no other part of Memphis which has so much to do in such a compact space; there is no other area of Memphis in which it is so easy to make friends and find where you fit in.

On the other hand, I like to paint an honest picture of Downtown. No one pays me to write this blog so I can say whatever I want on here, and I generally do. Downtown is not perfect. Sometimes pointing out its imperfections, the things that get swept under the carpet because no one wants to talk about them, is the only way to get them addressed.

Sunday at 11 I grabbed a seat at B-RAD’s bar and got ready to enjoy a Sunday without a Monday behind it. I made my usual “D-RANKS with B-RAD” checkin on Facebook then scrolled through my news feed to see what was going on. There were multiple reports of a stampede on Beale Street just before 1 Saturday night/Sunday morning. Hundreds of people ran east on Beale from Second Street, then south on B.B. King/Third. A few minutes later, people stampeded in the area of Rufus Thomas and Beale. People were injured, a police car had a window busted out, and a section of iron fence surrounding Handy Park was damaged. This happened almost to the minute one week after there was a shooting at Second and Peabody Place just north of Beale.

I was sitting there debating whether or not to talk about this, when a friend came up and convinced me that I should. So I will.

Downtown Memphis Commission: You manage the street. I know it is only temporary until you find a company to take it over. However, the time to act is now. You need to do something to get this crap under control.

The trouble is, there is really no good solution. One thing that has been suggested is an earlier closing time for the street. I hate that idea. Beale Street bars currently can stay open as late as 5; all other bars have to be closed by 3. I have many friends in the service industry who get off around 3 and go to Beale to unwind after work. They need that. I don’t want it taken away from them.

Another solution that has been proposed is to charge a cover to get on the street in the entertainment district. Maybe a refundable cover of sorts – you pay $10 to get on the street, but then are given back $10 in tokens to spend there. I don’t know… I have mixed feelings about this one. It may be the least bad of a number of bad solutions, but I do understand the claims of classism that arise from this idea, that you have to have a certain level of wealth to be able to enjoy a public city amenity.

The real problem is that parents need to teach their damn kids how to act in public, but identifying that as the problem doesn’t bring us any closer to a solution.

This coming Friday night I am having dinner at the Majestic with a couple who lives out of state, who have been considering a move to Memphis for years and have been reading my blog. They think the time may be right and they want to pick my brain. I hate to say it but I am going to have to tell them that I don’t recommend going to Beale after 9 on the weekends.

I’m just fed up. I rarely go to Beale on the weekends anyway so it’s not like I feel like something has been taken away from me. It’s just that I hate the black eye these idiots put on my neighborhood and my city.

Off my soapbox and on to the news. The Dirty Crow Inn has a special for active or retired members of the armed services today for Memorial Day. Show a valid military issued ID and get one free order of pickle chips or onion straws, and 10% off your entire bill today only.

The National Hot Dog Council says to never use ketchup on your hot dogs. I didn’t know where was a National Hot Dog Council, but I agree completely with their advise. Mustard all the way.

You can purchase a special ticket for Thursday’s Redbirds game that includes an all-you can-eat wing buffet. $12 bluff, $16 fieldbox, $19 dugout, $23 club level. The buffet will be in the left field area and will run from the time the gates open through one hour into the game.

Fun day at the Blind Bear yesterday. It was good to have B-RAD back (he was sick the previous Sunday) and the bar was filled with members of two of Downtown’s best BBQ teams, Porkosaurus and The Moody Ques. Sarah from Porkosaurus wanted to take a photo “for England” so I guess she is going across the Atlantic to visit family soon. I wedged between Sarah and Katie (not Mac) and we took the photo. “It’s a sandwich with Porkosaurus bread and Moody Ques meat!” I exclaimed, eliciting a few “ewws” on Facebook. Anyway, just a superb crowd at Brad’s bar. Stacey who works there has a shirt that says “Drinks Well with Others” and I thought to myself, that describes every person here.

A Monday where the office didn’t open at 8 and Bardog did… my kind of day! Seriously, I had people texting me at 8:17 and ask, “Why aren’t you here?” I’ve got a blog to write, people! On my way as soon as I take a shower. Five hours at Teryn’s bar sounds like exactly the right amount of time to pre-game for a cookout at our BBQ team pitmaster’s house this afternoon. Wearing my Friend of the Market shirt since both he and our vice-president are on the board of the Memphis Farmers Market. Fun weekend so far and it shows no sign of stopping!