Ranting

One End To The Other

May 2nd, 2013

Cooper Young is arriving, Overton Square is reviving, Overton Park is thriving. Any of the three have plenty to attract any of us, but if the three pull together, they’ll attract all of us over and over.

And the thing that connects them, the common ground to uncommon experience, is Cooper.

As published in The Memphis Daily News, May 3, 2013, and in The Memphis News, May 4-10, 2013

CooperYoung

GET IT TOGETHER.

Cooper is on fire.

From the cougars in the zoo to the cougars in Alchemy, the viewing is best at feeding time. From the lions at the zoo to the lyonnaise salad at 1912, this is a stretch to strut in.

Whether it’s locally brewed Flaming Stone at Bosco’s or an Irish and English Black and Tan at Celtic Crossing, there’s a whole lot of flaming fabulous funkiness served up and down the street. Black tie at Brooks to black Thai rice at Tsunami. Knuckle sandwiches at Iris and lobster rolls at the Slider Inn. Knuckling down over egg rolls at Mulan and Jasmine and rolling the nine ball at Young Avenue Deli.

Cooper is different.

Free concerts at the Shell and mussel shells at Bari. Books at Burke’s and bagels at Bogie’s. Curtain time at Playhouse and coming soon at Hattiloo. Double bogies at Overton Park, doubles on the rocks at bars at both ends, and double-shot espressos at Otherlands and The Edge in-between. Studios for movies and tattoos. Remedies from Maggie’s Pharm and farm-fresh pickins from Easy Way.

Cooper connects.

If I was a bright young promoter, I’d buy a 24-seat bus, paint it fabulously funky, and start it up and down Cooper from Overton Park to First Congo, from the new parking garage in a resurgent Overton Square to the nascent parking garage in Cooper Young. I’d put somebody entertaining at the wheel, give away more coupons than Kroger, and pitch Memphis like our own World Series MVP Matt Cain.

If I’m the bright people promoting both ends of the street, I’d pull everything together and promote the whole of the wide experience. I wouldn’t do what Memphis so often does - losing opportunities by fighting among ourselves, killing the body by cannibalizing the parts, failing to see the good because we’re so often blinded by bad vision.

Come to think of it, while everybody else waits for the city to build a trolley line, or for some association to build a brand, or for some conservancy to save what we tried so hard to kill, I’d buy several of those buses, make a loop between what’s happening on Copper to what’s happening on South Main to what’s happening on Broad, and make it the hottest ride in Memphis since Elvis’ Harley.

While so many sit in houses just like the one next door on streets just like the next one over complaining to people just like them about nothing to do in Memphis, I’d give them a ride to places where very different people are doing everything. I’d give a lift to parts of the city on the rise, to the quickening pulse of places so many would give up for dead or dying, to the heart of what’s happening, y’all.

Let’s all get on board and go there together.

And by the way, CommTrans sells buses just like that. That’s a business on Cooper.

I'm a Memphian, and it’s time to play in the street.

Comments

Byron Fisher: As usual, great insights connected to great memories in your blog. I grew up on Washington just off Cooper. I have fond memories of Purdy Jester Drugstore, Burkles, Bakery, and everything at Overton Park, including ditches (we called them buoys) that connected Madison Ave to the Zoo .... these were places for adventure and a little mischief. In those days, we used to walk to school. The pathway to Idlewild Elementary and Fairview Jr. High took us along Cooper Ave. Cooper still connects the past to the present in this special neighborhood.

Joe Spake: When I am showing newcomers around, Cooper is usually the favorite stretch. The Park, the Square, the Theater, Barksdale Cafe, Easy Way, Otherlands, the Antique District, and Cooper Young... all tied together with an easy bike ride or long walk.

Joe Spake: When I am showing newcomers around, Cooper is usually the favorite stretch. The Park, the Square, the Theater, Barksdale Cafe, Easy Way, Otherlands, the Antique District, and Cooper Young... all tied together with an easy bike ride or long walk.

Carole Hanna: I live just the other side of Central from there. This sculpture on the railroad trestle is one of my favorite landmarks in Memphis. I go to Stone Soup Cafe, Soul Fish, Sweet Grass, & take people there when they come to visit - everyone loves them. Makes me very happy to see things continuing to grow & develop in my 'hood. Can't wait to have my picture made in front of the "Midtown is Memphis" arch in front of Chiwawa!

Susan Schadt: Hi Dan, Timely project . Watch for the Hop- ON , Hop-Off launch Monday! Join us on Beale St at noon. Check out CA Business section tomorrow. A speedy project with multiple partners!

Elaine D. Colmer: Please put me on your list for Rooster's Rant NOW!! Thanks!

Doug Branch: My friend Thad sent me your piece, Dan. Really beautifully written -- and so right. And just think how Cooper could be even COOLER if we could get CVS to just.....go away.

Leave a comment