Today, At Least, Downtown Dallas's Super Bowl Hustle and Bustle Lacks Both Hustle, Bustle

Categories: Cover Story
ColdPigeonsDowntown2.jpg
Photo by Patrick Michels
Cold pigeons outnumbered cold people in Downtown Dallas this afternoon.
Somebody get on the horn to Jerry Jones (or Tom Leppert or Phillip Jones) and tell him to send in those gazillions of folks who are supposed to be handing over their wallets to downtown merchants, bar owners and restaurateurs. Dallas awaits them. As in, service industry folks, retail associates and hotel workers are literally standing around waiting for something to happen.

Patrick Michels and I popped down to the City Tavern for some pulled pork and chicken fried chicken around lunchtime, and the half-full downstairs bar appeared to be the busiest place in the neighborhood. We talked to a guy named Marty who lives across the street. We had some beers. We ate some meats. And then we set out to find the great influx of monied Midwesterners throwing cash around willy-nilly, hoarding designer shoes and high-end cocktails.

And, well, there were some people eating peanuts at the Adolphus bar. Did you know it is Wild West themed? Now you do, and now you can be properly embarrassed. Though the lone guy perched on a bar stool downing a Bloody Mary didn't seem to be bothered any by the surrounding kitsch. Across the street at the Magnolia, folks scooted in and out to grab hot coffee from Starbucks, but the upstairs lounge was as silent as a sanctuary. Not, you know, that we ever hang out in sanctuaries.

Surely Charlie Palmer at the Joule would have some action, right? After all, it's even got a fancy lunch special. But when we half-walked, half-skated in, we were greeted by a pretty hostess and an empty restaurant. The hostess told us weekend reservations are booked solid -- and they've got 101 check-ins on the books for tomorrow. But today? Nothing doing.

Down at Neiman Marcus, we were the only customers. After standing at the coffee bar for several minutes watching a couple of baristas try to figure out the espresso machine, we gave up trying to get their attention. They never even looked up. On our way out, we passed more mannequins than people. It felt like we'd accidentally stayed past mall closing time -- exciting to think about when you're a kid, real depressing to think about when your city's kinda broke and could use its share of that $202-or-however-many million.

Forecast says it'll stay colder than a titch's wit until the Super Bowl, but there's a good chance the downtown ghost town will change come tomorrow. By then, four-night minimum stays will keep folks through Sunday and air travel should pick back up to normal. I'll be out there, powering through cocktail after cocktail, bringing you Friends the latest in highfalutin daydrinking. For now, I'm back home in ultra-quiet Deep Ellum, and I'ma take my pants off, pour myself a Bloody Mary and do some hard-hitting journalism about my couch. Over and out.

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17 comments
scottindallas
scottindallas

I can't imagine that Green Bay, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, PA are the biggest spenders among the various NFL teams. They may have more loyal than average fans, but they don't strike me as the type to money-whip you. Actually, they are both pretty classy organizations and fans, as much as I hate to admit it.

let'sgetreal
let'sgetreal

Hosting the Super Bowl is a great opportunity. However, what often happens is the cities involved overplay there hand, including the leader of the Band - Bill Lively and speak of numbers that are inflated. I took a cab from DFM airport a few weeks back. The driver was so excited that 1,000,000 people were coming to the area for the Super Bowl. I told him having attended 4 Super Bowls in major market cities, that while the Super Bowl will indeed draw those attending the event, NOT ONE CITY has ever reached the numbers promised are "marketed". Dallas will be no different.

Don't get me wrong, it will bring in those attending, media and a few want to bes, but you are talking about maybe 150,000 to 200,000......

Folks attending the NFL Experience - are mostly locals or in the DFW metro area.....

It is so sad to see how Bill Lively, Phillip, Mayor Leppert and a host of others.....talk so much hype.

The convention business in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington and now Irving have much more of an economic impact than the Super Bowl, I don't understand why the Mayors of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington and Irving aren't on a planes tomorrow seeking out that business.......they have collectively invested over a billion dollars in facilities to support that business.........the Super Bowl will only come around once in a while.

And the Dallas Observer is trying to find the Super Bowl Fan - look in your living or media room on Sunday - that is where you will find most, if they are not at Cowboys Stadium.

Craig
Craig

Ha-ha

Love,

Nelson

Ellum08
Ellum08

I'm sorry Andrea, I fail to see the point of this post. You pick one of the coldest days of the year, one where quite a few downtown businesses are still closed or whose employees still can't get into work and you decide on a field trip. For what?

I'm sure all the other Unfair Park malcontents are probably giddy that the weather sucks and is affecting all Super Bowl activities. This really sticks it to Mayor Tom, doesn't it?

I don't recall reading where much activity was planned for the Wednesday before the big game, but I could be wrong. However, as you say, things should start picking up tomorrow and be in full swing Friday.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I can already tell you that the city will do a study after the Superbowl and magically find that money and "buzz" brought in from the game will exceed the amount we shelled out. Don't think the weather will keep them from massaging those numbers to their favor.

Rooster
Rooster

Wow. Those are some well fed pigeons....

Nick R.
Nick R.

That pigeon looks remarkably similar to my pose at my desk

Anonymous
Anonymous

No one is giddy at the region losing money. What we are sick and tired of hearing is how we need socialist convention center hotels, Calatrava bridges, and who the hell knows what else to attract the out of town tourist crowd. So you sell them as the engine of your economy and adjust spending accordingly. Meanwhile, you forget that people who live in Dallas have ideas about how their own tax dollars might be used for programs or services that actually improve their quality of life.I think the Superbowl will still be a net benefit from a strict money spent vs money received standpoint. I just think that, like every other aspect of professional sports, it has distanced us from the values we SHOULD have.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

I'm sure all the other Unfair Park malcontents are probably giddy that the weather sucks and is affecting all Super Bowl activities. This really sticks it to Mayor Tom, doesn't it?

Yes I am and I think we need to start a ONE and DONE Group.

The main point will be Lets have an area wide vote before we allow this bunch a chance to touch the collective Pocket Books of the region.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Indeed -- I asked Andrea to see what was going on downtown. How are the outta-towners spending their frozen-in-Wednesday before The Big Game. She called in. Said she couldn't find any. I said: Look harder, ask hotel conciergeseseses where they may be. And she did. Still drew a blank. That, my friend, was the point of the piece.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Blame Wilonsky. Post was his idea. Sorry you had to read it.

Constantirritant
Constantirritant

Nah, they only look fat. That's just blurring from their shivering.

Ellum08
Ellum08

I hate to tell you this, but until the 'people who live in Dallas' start voting people into office who are against all the things you are against, nothing is going to change.

I guess elections affirming both the Convention Center Hotel and the Trinity project aren't enough, are they?

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

Well, all the 'outta-towners' must be in Arlington. There is no way the Superbowl committee or the politicos would have LIED about all the fat, dumb, money-dripping tourists would no flock here for the game. Next you will tell us that all the Arlingtonians who voted Jerry all those tax bucks on the promise of a big payday when the big game comes to town were mistaken. There is no way people would give big bucks to a billionaire to build a venue for millionaires to perform for sky-box seated millionaires without the rest of us getting our John Wylie Price-like percentage or equity, is there?

RandyGibson
RandyGibson

Robert, thanks for assigning Andrea this post. I always enjoy the notion of her pantsless and drunk.

Ellum08
Ellum08

I knew I should have blamed Wilonsky to begin with. Sorry you had to shiver and skate around downtown.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Yes, people in Dallas are dumb - you couldn't look at the city council and believe otherwise. Just pointing out the reason Unfair Park readers feel vindicated when the power brokers cash checks before the money is in the bank and a huge snowstorm hits to change up their plans.I'll be interested to see the next time the game comes back here. Miami is looking like a much better option right about now.

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