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.