Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I had to go into downtown Phoenix for a doctor visit yesterday.  Afterward I decided to explore my old stomping grounds of years ago and see what had changed.  What I found was EVERYTHING!

Where once only a high-rise building or two formed the downtown skyline, now there are dozens.

I had parked at the Arizona Center garage.  When I got down to ground level, this is what I found.

The Arizona Center is a huge area of businesses, shops and restaurants between Van Buren and Fillmore Streets and 3rd and 5th Streets.  I stopped for lunch at 1130 The Restaurant and ate on their cool, shaded patio.

It's a pleasant place to dine as you watch the passing crowds of office workers.  It's been awhile since I was in a metropolitan setting and I was fascinated by how many of the passing women were wearing quite high heels and how nearly all of the men had on neckties.  I couldn't tell you how many decades it's been since I had to wear a tie and they seem totally unreasonable in Phoenix' climate.

While a busy place with banks and power company offices and restaurants and shops of all kinds, much of the Center has been taken up with beautiful gardens.

There was even a fountain of artificial rapids to give a sense of cooling on the hot summer days.

And potted plants, including my beloved Hibiscus.

These were actually pink though my camera makes them look more red.

And some beautiful yellow ones.

I was struck by the old St. Mary's Basilica now surrounded and dwarfed by huge modern buildings.  Still, I like the contrast.

Then there was this ugly old building, reportedly being refurbished for a new occupant.  SWMBO said it looked like it belonged in a slum area of Cleveland or Detroit.

She didn't recognize it which was not surprising.  And she was amazed when I told her it was 1101 North Central, where I spent 13 years working in television during the 1970's and 1980's.  Here's what it looked like "back in the day".

The television station has moved to a building it shares with the Arizona Republic newspaper, both owned by the Gannet corporation.  The change in appearance brings a feeling of wistfulness.  But then much in Phoenix has changed since I landed there many years ago and most of it is for the better, I think.

So it goes for my visit to downtown.


Steve said...

Thanks for the tour. Never been there.

The Bug said...

I like to visit the hustle & bustle of a busy downtown - but I am SO glad I don't have to work in one!

Anonymous said...

I had Lunch(almost Downtown) with Stan Richards and a lady from Scottsdale many years back. I was amazed when she said she hadn't been downtown in 10 years. Now, I'm in that boat and understand.

Tom Cochrun said...

Great post. You are in a major American Metro now. So much to offer you guys and your great eye for catching good scenes. Looks like you'll have years of exploring and dining.
Shocking to see the change to KTAR (hows that for going way back?), but as you say, it is a modern new city and you've been away.
Also, I too have been amazed at how many business women are now wearing high heels. I am stunned as I traverse airports at how so many women have replaced their old flat shoes, even walking or tennis shoes while traveling for high heels. I think they look great, but man, they must be awful to wear, especially when rushing through terminals.
Some beautiful city color and greenery. Keep exploring.

Stephen Hayes said...

It must have been a bittersweet experience seeing your old building now in disrepair. Maybe someone will buy it and turn it into condos.

Lowandslow said...

Nice...Looks quite modern. I wonder if all the greenery helps bring down the temps any at all? And I look at that old building and see some loft homes in the making. Seems like a good use for it.


Thérèse said...

I only hope you were not too sad to see all these changes... Nicer during the day than at night. Don't try to go there after 8pm, it's sometimes pretty empty except for cars passing by. Hopefully the extension of the Phoenix Campus will help to bring some life pretty soon with new businesses and eateries.