Monday, January 21, 2019

America's City (Part 1)

I cannot believe we're coming up on 4 years in Dallas!  We love living here and there's always something to do . . . sporting events, art museums, botanical gardens, roller coasters, street festivals.  We've not even scratched the surface of all that Dallas has to offer. 

I think one of the things about Dallas that stands out to me is just how cosmopolitan of a city it is!  I was pleasantly surprised on one of our first house-hunting trips to discover a beautiful, sophisticated, cultivated, diverse city. 

Elevation: 430′
Population: 1.341 million (2017)
Metro population: 7,233,323 (4th)
Did you know: Dallas is the ninth-largest United States city by population (1,341,075)Average annual snow days: 1.3Average rain days: 81 days  The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington MSA consists of 12 counties: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise and has a population of 6,954,330. The Dallas-Plano-Irving MD (metropolitan division) is slightly smaller with a population of 4,604,097and is composed of 8 counties: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall.

Dallas is located in the Central Time Zone in North Central Texas, 35 miles east of Fort Worth, 245 miles north, northwest of Houston and 300 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

24.9 million annual visitors to the City of Dallas, with 48.9 million visiting the Metro area.  There are more than 30,000 hotel rooms in the city of Dallas with over 78,000 available throughout the area. 

Dallas is centrally located and within a four-hour flight from most North American destinations. It is served by two airports; Dallas/Ft. Worth International and Dallas Love Field that combined provide more than 2,200 flights daily. AMTRAK also provides daily service to Dallas via Union Station.

The Dallas area is home to 21 Fortune 500 companies including Exxon Mobil, JC Penney, AT&T, Texas Instruments, and others. 

Dallas is home to five professional sports teams: The Dallas Cowboys (NFL); Dallas Stars (NHL); Dallas Mavericks (NBA); Dallas Wings (WNBA); FC Dallas (MLS) and the Texas Rangers (MLB) plus NASCAR and Indy racing. The area is also home to more than 200 golf courses.

Dallas Fun Facts

  • The frozen margarita machine was invented in Dallas
  • The integrated circuit computer chip (which became the microchip) was invented in Dallas in 1958
  • The 52 foot 'Big Tex' statue that greets visitors at the annual State Fair of Texas is the tallest cowboy in Texas.
  • With the roof enclosed, the entire Statue of Liberty could fit into the Cowboys Stadium.
  • During the winter holiday season, the Galleria Dallas is home to the country's tallest indoor Christmas tree.
  • The largest permanent model train exhibit in the country is on display in the lobby of Dallas Children's Medical Center.
  • The Dallas Arts District is the largest urban arts district in the United States.
  • The Trinity River Corridor Project, when completed, will be more than 10 times the size of New York's Central Park.
  • Highland Park Village Shopping Center, developed in 1931 has the distinction of being the first planned shopping center in America.
  • The first convenience store, 7-eleven, got its start in Dallas and the corporation is headquartered there today.
  • Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League and son of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, was a noted Dallas resident when he coined the phrase 'Super Bowl'.
  • A few celebrities from the area: Angie Harmon, Luke and Owen Wilson, Nastia Luikin, Lee Trevino, Norah Jones, Erykah Badu, Jessica Simpson
  • A few of the movies/TV series filmed in the area: Dallas; Silkwood; Places in the Heart; RoboCop; Born on the Fourth of July; Walker, Texas Ranger; Prison Break (more listed at http://www.dallasfilmcommission.com/)
  • The Dallas area is the largest metropolitan area in the nation not on a navigable body of water.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth Arlington Metroplex is the No. 1 visitor and leisure destination in Texas.
  • The Dallas Public Library permanently displays one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, printed on July 4, 1776, and the First Folio of William Shakespeare's "Comedies, Histories & Tragedies."
  • The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to 23 of the richest Americans. 
 
Dallas is a clean, walkable city with several great parks, botanical gardens and plenty of green space and lots of hidden gems.  So, over the next couple of days I've decided to highlight some of the wonderful attractions Dallas has to offer. 
 
THE GIANT EYEBALL
I love weird quirky attractions and the Giant Eyeball is one of my favorites! 
 
The eyeball popped-up in August 2013 on a cleared vacant lot in between Main and Elm Streets, across the street from the Joule Hotel. Since then Tony Tasset’s sculpture, a massively enlarged replication of his very own eyeball, has been the focal point of plenty of conversation. Mayor Mike Rawlings praised it as an indicator of the kinds of things that could help boost energy downtown. Dallas's Glenn Hunter aptly made the comparison to the glaring, ever-fixed gaze of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg in The Great Gatsby, an advertisement that functions as a kind of ambiguous symbol of a moral universe, ante-uping Pascal’s Wager, so to speak. And in the wake of the NSA surveillance revelations, they eye could be seen as a tongue-in-cheek reference to an ever-watching Big Brother.
But not so, says artist Tony Tasset in this interview with Interview Magazine in which he discusses the piece at length. The eye, he argues, is just an eye:
“People have been so conditioned to not understand art that when something’s obvious they feel like they’re missing something,” Tasset says. “It’s a big eyeball.”
But even if we accept the artist’s insistence that there is no symbolic or metaphoric intention with placing a giant eye in downtown Dallas, that hasn’t stopped the eye from instigating a range of peculiar reactions:
Tasset’s focus is in pinpointing objects that are widely recognizable, easily construed by anyone. As far as spurring reactions, Eye seems to be working: On one end, a homeless man wrote an enraged screed proclaiming the Eye was a false god; on the other, Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne shared the pithier sentiment “…fuck yeah!!!” in an Instagram of the still-under-construction sphere. “I was quite honored,” admits the artist.
That’s where Tasset’s eye becomes interesting.  Where it occupies this space between intentionality and interpretation, a sculptural positioning achieved merely by utilizing objects that can’t help but carry allusive qualities. Similarly to Claus Oldenburg, who re-positioned our apprehension of consumer products by monumentalizing mundane or toss-away items, Tasset’s piece is about exploring the inclination of the perceptive mind to extrapolate meaning from a thing, subtracting intent so as to reveal any particular interpretation of the object as a projection of meaning by the perceiving viewer. The eye, then, as the dominant sensory tool of perception, is an appropriate symbolic tool. And like Oldenburg’s work, it’s a form that carries both symbolic weight and surrealist humor.
 
“So, you put in a 30-foot eyeball and it turns the downtown into this surreal, funky set, and it makes you, the viewer, a participant in this weird stage set,” Tasset says. “An eyeball is just a classic. I try to make work that kind of keys into things that are already familiar. They know what an eye is like. There’s no mystery to it. Still people ask, ‘What’s it mean?'” 
 
 
I love this section of the city because it's super close to everything . . . the Majestic Theater, The Joule with it's amazing cantilevered pool, Dallas Chop House, Main Street Garden Park, Iron Cactus Mexican Restaurant and Margarita Bar, Pegasus Plaza, Belo Garden, Neiman Marcus, The Adolphus Hotel and the Statler.  A short walk down Elm and you're at the Grassy Knoll and the Sixth Floor Museum. 
 
 

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