Saturday, July 21, 2007

Raleigh Wide Open

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the re-opening of Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Fayetteville Street is Raleigh's main street and was closed in 1976 to automobile traffic and re-opened as a pedestrian mall. Big mistake. People tired of having to park their cars and walk several blocks to get to the pedestrian mall where shops and restaurants struggled to survive.

Downtown Raleigh was dying a slow death until Fayetteville Street reopened in 2006. The city decided to celebrate this auspicious occasion by, well, shutting the down street again for the day. Yes, I know how ironic this is - shutting down the street to celebrate opening the street.

A respectable crowd turned out to celebrate, note the capitol building in the background:

Fayetteville Street is also home to the Briggs Hardware Building, the only 19th century commercial building remaining in Raleigh. An interesting note, our church originally met in this building on Sundays 90 years ago before the sanctuary was finished. The building is now home to the Raleigh Museum.

The street festival was full of music and haute cuisine:

You may wonder what is in a "monkey nut" drink - my street research yields that it is some sort of fruit concoction served in a coconut shell. I don't care if it is non-alcoholic, you should never drink anything bigger than your head.

Congratulations Fayetteville Street - live long and prosper!

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