With Scotty McCreery’s appearance in next week’s American Idol Semifinals, the Raleigh area has, once again, found itself as a factor in a national Springtime competition. Given all of the hoopla surrounding Duke’s lofty ranking for most of the basketball season, and with UNC’s genesis once Larry Drew II mercifully withdrew from school, it looked like this area would once again celebrate another Final Four event. However this year it’s the world’s most famous Garnerian that has captivated us.
Over the past 50 years, the area has had a local competitor in a large-scale national event during 36 of the past 50 Springs, and 22 of the past 24. The only down years since 1962 have been 1962*, 1965, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1996, and 2007.
Click after the break for the detailed events per year since 1962
The Durham Bulls released their schedule several months ago, and I have finally gotten a chance to create their home schedule as a Google Calendar. The calendar features abbreviated team names, so instead of “Durham Bulls vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees”, your calendar will simply display “DUR vs. SCR”. Each event page still contains all of the Bulls’ vital info such as their website link and the link to purchase tickets.
In order to add this calendar to your collection of Google Calendars, simply click on the Calendar tab at the top of this page, scroll down to the Durham Bulls calendar, and follow the link/instructions there.
How many times has someone said something like: “Watch this show. It’s on Bravo.” or “the game is on CBS College.” Where the hell are those channels? You flip through a hundred pages of guide data and still can’t find the damned show!
Sweet relief is here now with the alphabetical Time Warner Cable channel guide from gogoraleigh. Print the PDF as a 2-sided document, fold it in half, and you have a neat little half-page alphabetical listing of the more than 350 networks included in Time Warner’s service. Remember that SD channels are those under 1000 and HD channels are 1000 and above.
This morning tickets went on sale for Mumford & Sons playing at The Walt, a 5,500 seat venue, in June. Unfortunately, according to several accounts, the event was SOLD OUT at the time the “public” sale began. It appears that all of the event’s tickets were sold during the “pre-sale” that was only available to iPhone owners earlier in the week. So a city-owned facility is hosting a public event, however only those with an expensive phone had the privilege of buying tickets.
Tickets for Taylor Swift went on sale today as well, and the presale for that event began on Tuesday. My sister reported to me that within seconds of being able to get into Ticketmaster’s sale page, only 200-level seats were available.
Honestly I don’t care about who makes the phone involved in the Mumford sale, however I do have a problem, a BIG problem, with the lack of access the general public had to these tickets in a publicly owned venue. In the past presales have included a small block of tickets, often the best tickets. However the problem of finding accessible good seats at the time of the “public” sale has gotten out of hand. Several times in the last decade I have been on Ticketmaster.com the very second tickets became available for Walnut Creek seats, yet not a single time have I gotten seats in the venue’s front three sections.
Something is going on here. Is it that Ticketmaster is shunting all of these tickets to StubHub for extremely higher prices? Are they giving all of those seats to the promoter? Are presales the only way to get decent seats now?
I don’t mind the free market deciding the value of tickets, however the free market should have “free access” to seats at the market price, especially if the ticket seller implies that the limited supply tickets is available.
Because of the unjust nature of obtaining tickets at the time of the “public” sale, I will no longer assist ticket promoters with their sham by reporting this ticket sale time in my announcements. Instead I will either post the presale times or simply abstain from posting the information as it seems irrelevant and misleading altogether. In the meantime the State of North Carolina’s Attorney General’s office should investigate Ticketmaster’s operations for possible antitrust activity with events in our public venues.
Earlier this week news outlets reported that the City of Raleigh is going to seek more parking revenues as a way to cover a larger than anticipated revenue shortfall for The City. Not only will Raleigh go after unpaid parking fines, but will also consider selling ad space in parking decks and ending the practice of free parking during nights and weekends.
"The city’s not making enough off parking and it’s obvious people don’t like paying for tickets. That’s the issue," said City Council member Mary Ann Baldwin.
During the last decade and a half downtown Raleigh has undergone an enormous resurgence that went along with a $2 billion investment from the private and public sectors. In the late 90’s we started to see Raleigh most interesting new restaurants appearing in downtown instead of in the suburbs. Popular bars in the suburbs began to fade as a bustling nightlife emerged in downtown Raleigh. In fact, almost every single interesting restaurant to open in the last 10 years has been in downtown Raleigh.
Apparently the City of Raleigh wants to ignore the role of free parking in that renaissance. The introduction of nighttime parking fees is a huge deterrent for restaurant patrons who have an alternative. If this becomes the city’s policy, expect a renaissance of its own in North Raleigh. Downtown parking fees would be a huge boon to restaurateurs in the suburbs.
Increased parking revenues from downtown lots also would be a big boon to McLaurin Parking Company, the company that operates these parking structures. You may also know that company as…the inlaws of Mayor, Charles Meeker.
Nothing lasts forever. Hillsborough Street’s nightlife scene in the 70’s rivaled Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street. North Raleigh saw a ton of great restaurants open in the 80’s. The popularity of downtown in the last 15 years is a delicate thing. If the City of Raleigh wants that momentum to continue, it must proceed with extreme caution. As it is, downtown is not perceived as convenient to where people chose to live, it isn’t perceived as an easy place to park, and it’s wave is nearing the point where we’ve typically seen nightlife/entertainment cycles end in Raleigh’s history.
It’s NCAA tourney time and you guessed it! Gogoraleigh is your source for importing calendar events for all of the games. It is a Google Calendar which contains all 36 First Round games. Keep following it, though, as the next round games will be added as soon as they are determined. Subscribe in Google Calendar, on your Android Phone, iPhone, iPad other capable device!
The two area teams playing include:
- UNC vs. Long Island – Friday at 7:15 pm (CBS)
- Duke vs. Hampton – Friday at 3:10 pm (truTV)
This year’s tournament will be broadcasted on four different networks for the first time. The games will appear in Raleigh on these Time Warner Cable Channels:
- CBS – 3 and 105
- TBS – 34 and 302
- TNT – 26 and 301
- truTV – 44 and 313
- CBS – 1105 and 5.1
- TBS – 1302
- TNT – 1301
- truTV – 1313
Fast-Mex outlet Chipotle is coming to Hillsborough St. The site will be near Jimmy John’s and Duncan Donuts, either in the free-standing building that was home to Sylvia’s Pizza or on the corner where GoPaks Bazaar was. At this point construction has not begun, but in all likelihood the store will open in the summer.
This is a major blessing for Hillsborough Street. A strip that has been dotted by junk food and forgettable local food is showing signs of life to a Denver-based company that takes site selection very seriously. Hopefully it is the sign of more good things for the area. The company is also expanding into Fayetteville, showing another positive sign about the economy.
If you haven’t had Chipotle’s carnitas on crunchy tacos, then you are really missing out. Try the trio with a different salsa on each, plus cheese and lettuce. It makes one fantastic lunch.
Today the ACC released the complete schedule for the upcoming football season. In typical fashion, gogoraleigh has compiled the schedules into a formats that are easy to import into almost all calendar applications. Included are not only downloadable files for the UNC and NCSU schedules, but also files for the entire ACC conference schedule.
Google Calendar users will find that the existing feed for each of these schedules has been updated, so there is no need change anything if you are already subscribed.
TV has not had a chance to affect the schedule, so the dates are not final and times are not set.
If you have been to a “Starve Dana” party or the equivalent, no doubt you know what it is like to seek food toward the end of the night in Raleigh. Here are some of the best options for late night eating on a Friday or Saturday night. They fall into two main districts:
- Buku – (11pm full, Late Night 2am kitchen)
- Sitti – (Midnight kitchen)
- Humble Pie – (Midnight kitchen)
- Raleigh Times – (2am kitchen)
- Market – 11pm
- Busy Bee – (2am kitchen)
- Jibarra – (11pm kitchen)
- The Pit – 11pm
- Sauced Pizza – 3am
- The Diner – 24h
- Coquette – 11pm – (919) 789-0606
- Vivace – ~10:30p – (919) 787-7747
- Mura – 11pm
- Ruth’s Chris – 11pm
- Sparians – 2am (bar menu)
- Midtown ~11p
Also of note: bars will close at 2am as per N.C. State Law.
While the NHL has prepared a fantastic week of hockey-related activities for this year’s All-Star Game, it also is a great time to take in some of the local experience that has made the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) one of the best places to live in America. The food, architecture, and entertainment events here are more than enough to handle, certainly in a weekend. We’re a lot cooler than you think. We just don’t talk about it.
The Triangle experience is unique, but in a subtle way. We don’t have a expressly tourist district. We don’t have centuries-old ethnic customs. Rather, the Triangle is a great place to raise a family and live a normal life.
When the Hartford Whalers moved to Raleigh, the team was adopted at a moderate rate. However the playoff series in 2001 against the New Jersey Devils cemented this team in many Triangle residents’ hearts. The team’s popularity grew in the ensuing years until 2006 when the Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup. Ever since the Canes have been a universal success, and found their way into the hearts of even the area’s most die-hard college basketball fans.
The tradition of college basketball runs deep here, and the area has become known in the basketball world as “Tobacco Road”. This is an unfortunate moniker, however, as it so inaccurately paints the Triangle lifestyle picture. The Triangle is about education and tech. The only industrial component to our history lies in Durham’s history in producing tobacco products, but those are days long gone.
Because much of Raleigh’s growth has happened in the last 45 years, there is a strong suburban component here that has been attractive to hundreds of thousands of transplants. While there is plenty of Anywheresville stuff, there is more do to and enjoy than most have the time or money to do. Eat a southern hot dog, some barbecue, and a hot doughnut as you ride around and take in the area that so many people decided to call home.
While we have a lot for which to be thankful in Raleigh, there is more work to be done! Here is my list of 30 things Raleigh needs:
- A sexy CAT Bus system. This means rolling out Android and iPhone apps that consider your location and your destination, and suggest routing options and times of route service that are based on real-time bus location data…for all routes. Right now the R-Line reports its bus locations to the web, but this doesn’t cut it. The free TransitGenie app on the iPhone does what I am describing and makes using Chicago’s bus and rail system very easy and actually fun to use. Each CAT bus should be spotless, have internet access, feature news and ads on video screens, and should be lit with something other than fluorescent lighting. Would you rather fly on this airplane or on this one? Here is a private bus company with their comfy bus.
- Walnut Creek and/or RBC Center bus shuttle on every night there is an event. The Caniac Express is fine, but has been poorly marketed. Parking is nearing the $20 point, and if we add that to the $12 per head, at least, for a minimal concession stand meal, that means that my wife and I will spend at least $40 above the ticket price to go to a hockey game. Wouldn’t it be better for me to spend that money in downtown restaurants, use a shuttle that skirts traffic, delivers us near the RBC North Entrance, then returns to downtown after the game? You never know, we might just want to go have a drink downtown after the game. If we cannot have a downtown arena, then we can, in effect, have one with an express shuttle service. The buses, by the way, must play the Hurricanes or Wolfpack’s pre/post game broadcasts on their intercoms.
- Lingerie Football (link to Chicago Bliss). notreally
- An outstanding restaurant that almost has no service. Essentially think of a Zoe’s Kitchen concept that serves food like Bloomsbury Bistro. Each order could be handled online, via a mobile webpage or Android or iPhone app. One could set up an account, and order on their way to the restaurant. Simply pick up the food upon entering and eat. Pizza Hut’s iPhone app works almost this simply, but you still have to pay when you pick up the food. There is a growing number of people like me who just want good food, and we want a drink refill when we want it, not when someone happens to give us permission to get one….and we don’t want to be constantly interrupted…nor do we want some failed comedian trying to entertain us. Just give us the food!
- A really good fast-food Indian restaurant. I visited Chutney Joe’s in Chicago, and it is almost exactly what we need; a Chipotle-level fast-casual restaurant that serves Indian food. The key is to not make the food too hot, which is a weakness of Chutney Joe’s.
- A great, quick taqueria downtown.
- A 5,000 seat indoor concert venue.
- An El Pollo Loco location
- Milepost designations for Glenwood Avenue. Much like those used on the Outer Banks, mileposts for Glenwood Avenue, from Morgan Street to the Durham County line would help to regionalize the 14 mile-long spoke. Businesses could advertise that they are "between mileposts 11 & 12", for instance.
- A place to buy fresh-made corn tortillas
- To fold A Taste of the Triangle into Raleigh Wide Open, and make it the premiere food event in the south.
- A ferris wheel at Pullen Park. When that’s a success, add a wave swinger.
- To convert Dorothea Dix into a State government office park/urban park. The downtown Raleigh amphitheater should eventually be relocated to the sledding hills so that the skyline can be appreciated by concert-goers.
- More non-country and non-rock live concerts. Walnut Creek should be booking more events centered around Broadway reviews, light jazz, Oldies, world music, and traveling symphonies, like WolfTrap is booking. Many of these events should have lawn rules conducive to families spreading out, allowing short chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, and wine. Sorry, but people are just fed-up with paying for $15 beers and bad food, and are just not choosing to attend events now. The concert industry needs to win us back.
- A slew of free, artsy concerts in the new amphitheater that are free. Local big-band jazz bands, talent show winners, world music performers, etc should get exposure using this facility. Fans should also be able to bring their own food and wine onto the grounds. See my statement about venue price gouging above.
- To make US1 past I-540, and US64 west of Cary limited access highways. Access roads should be the only way the businesses can be accessed. These are major arteries, not portals for parasitic business that will turn each stretch of road into the nightmare that is Capital Blvd.
- To move forward with Dan Douglas’ Capital Blvd plan
- A combined Hopscotch Music Festival, Artsplosure, Downtown Live, and Raleigh Wide open as one week-long extravaganza. The experience at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, complete with an excellent iPhone app that allows one to plan the events they want to attend, far exceeded the experiences of these combined. This is something that the Arts Commission would have to organize.
- To commission great pieces of public art for both Moore Square and Nash Square. Pieces like the Bean in Chicago find themselves constantly pulling people in. Each could define the squares and offer a very different experience in each, but complement each other.
- To cut down half of the trees in Nash Square. There needs to be some shade, however Nash Square is extremely uninviting and boring.
- Better mobile food truck sanitation monitoring. This is the job of the state, however, do you know that the conditions are sanitary?
- Twice-a-week garbage pickup in the summer. The days are up to 4 hours longer, so each truck could run two shifts. Add Monday service in the Summer, too. The smell of rotting diapers and shrimp is terrible.
- A Mexican cafeteria
- Great pieces of art for the Hillsborough Street Roundabouts.
- A blimp festival
- A concerted effort to corral all of the area’s Soups of the Day. This would allow one seeking a particular soup to know which restaurant to visit.
- A local DCI drum corps contest.
- A better technology statement throughout the city. Parking in decks downtown should have a “vacancy” sign, and that data should be integrated with a web client that allows people, in real-time, to see where parking vacancies are in the downtown decks. [essay]
- Minor arteries to be rezoned to have small commercial clusters, like Five Points and Oberlin/Fairview.
- Traffic lights to flash red/yellow during lightly travelled times of the week.
- A city where there is more to do than I a) have time for and b) can afford.
- The RBC Center. Until the 1986 opening of the Student Activities Center in Chapel Hill, the Triangle did not have an air conditioned space that could hold more than 2,300. The Smith Center is difficult for attendees and cannot be operated without major government subsidies. The RBC Center is an excellent, comfortable, convenient venue that made it possible for the area to have its first major pro sports franchise.
- The 440 Beltline. Sure it acts like a sieve to outer/inner traffic transitions, but if you ask Charlotteans they will talk at great length about how hard it is to get around a city with just city streets.
- Clean water at a good pressure piped right into my house. How much harder would our lives be if we had to boil river water any time we needed it?
- Live sports on an HDTV. I love watching basketball, hockey, and football on a big TV. In some ways it is better than going to the game.
- A strong Y-Guides Program. Several decades ago the Raleigh YMCA established a local Indian Guides program which gave fathers and sons chances to do projects and spend wholesome time together. The program was a wild success, adding a father/daughter program. Together they are, by far, the largest Y-Guides programs in the nation. Dallas’ is a distant second.
- Lex Alexander. Many years ago Lex Alexander established a small grocery store in Durham called Wellspring. It was such an excellent outlet for ingredients for chefs, that it acted as a magnet, attracting chefs such as Ben Barker and Scott Howell to that are. The roaring success of Durham’s restaurant scene has spilled over giving Raleigh its own chapter in the area’s nationally recognized dining market.
- Everett Case, Dean Smith, and Mike Krzyzewski. These three weren’t the only factors in making the Triangle the capital of college basketball, but they were the most important at each of the area schools.
- Excellent shopping options. Whenever I travel to a smaller market I am constantly stunned by how few shopping options there are. If there is a good retail outlet, it is often the only one of its type in a small market, leading to delays if the item is out of stock. Sure, there is interesting stuff in the major shopping markets, but in the modern era I don’t find myself coveting retail finds in major markets like I used to.
- Strong youth sports programs. While the odds of becoming a professional athlete are slim for an area child, the opportunities offered by Raleigh Parks and Recreation, the YMCA, American Legion, and Boys and Girls Clubs are an important opportunity for children to learn how to work on a team and hone a skill.
- A great variety of music venues. In the area we have a plethora of music venues that is as good as almost every other market in the country.
- Downtown festivals. Annual events like Artsplosure, Sparkcon, Hopscotch, Raleigh Wide Open, and more are doing an excellent job of attracting people downtown and allowing them to create their own experiences. These events are important in building a sense of community. (the chalk drawing to the right was just one of the many fantastic works that appeared during SparkCon.)
- A stock of old buildings. Raleigh never had much industrial growth so its stock of old buildings, whether office or industrial, is not large. However the city has done an adequate job of of keeping its stock, offering some variety. Many other cities have torn down all of their old buildings resulting in a lack of character.
- The beach is only 2 hours away. Think of how many nice areas to live are within 2 hours of an ocean. There aren’t many!
- Stadium seating in movie theaters. I’m not the tallest person, and now I don’t have to crane my head because some giraffe is sitting in front of me.
- Ubiquitous internet access. The growing coverage of Wifi in Raleigh and the competing cell phone networks have made our options for communication, music streaming, and news reporting mushroom. The thought of listening to terrestrial radio is so foreign to me that I can’t remember relying on it.
- Chick-Fil-A. People who live in an area without a Chick-Fil-A are missing America’s best fast food experience.
- Cars and light traffic. I honestly love being able to get out of my seat and get to a post office, a hardware store, and a computer store on my terms, quickly, and comfortably. While I-40 is something I don’t like, traffic in the Raleigh is generally pretty good, especially inside the beltline where there are numerous options for moving from point A to point B.
- RDU Airport. We are lucky to have an excellent airport in the area. Movement through the terminals is efficient, they are clean, and the routes offered a good for a city this size.
- North Hills. The North Hills Mall was in terrible shape when John Kane purchased it. His speculative plan to replace the mall with a lifestyle center serves as an excellent example to other developers that something other than a boring strip mall can survive here. North Hills isn’t perfect, but it is outstanding compared to the other renovation/replacement ideas that were being considered.
- Plumbing! “Pipes the $%^& right out of your house!” (History of the World)
- Civil obedience. We want Raleigh’s crime rate to be lower, but generally we live in a society that respects others’ rights, property, and authority. Without those we have no value.
- The Wake County Public Schools. It’s been a rough couple of years, but in all honesty the school system here is as good as the child and his/her parents want it to be. Not all cities can say that.
- Curb & Gutter and Sidewalks. There are some excellent neighborhoods in Raleigh that don’t have curb and gutter, and I wouldn’t consider living in any of them. Sidewalks really make a neighborhood valuable.
- Local blogs. I honestly appreciate all of the other local-based blogs, and am very upset when one shuts down. We all have our own approaches, and no one site can do it all. Luckily we have quite a collection of interesting sites like (in no particular order): The Raleigh Connoisseur, Goodnight Raleigh, Raleigh Skyline, NewRaleigh, The Downtown Living Advocates, Raleigh MSA, Raleighing, the Raleigh Downtowner, Triangle Modernist Houses, VarmintBites, OvertheTop/InsidetheBeltline, GlutenFreeRaleigh, LiveWorkPlay, ITBInsider, The Independent, and many more! (If I omitted anyone, it is an accident. Please let me know because you are all important to our experience here in Raleigh!)
Recently the Wake County School System released their official calendars for the 2011-2012 school years in PDF format. In fine fashion gogoraleigh has converted these calendars into numerous downloadable formats. Now readers can easily import their favorite school calendars into Outlook, iPhones, Blackberrys, Android phones and more.
Even better, though, is the addition of all of these dates to the existing Google Calendars that gogoraleigh sponsors. If you subscribe to these, then all of the dates have been automatically added to your calendars.
For more information see the Calendars tab at gogoraleigh.
- North Carolina Loses The Great Teacher February 9, 2015
- City Lays Markings for Currituck Obstacle Course February 4, 2015
- History Making Heels and Wolfpack Prepare for Battle January 14, 2015
- 25 Predictions for 2015 January 5, 2015
- Raleigh’s 10 Biggest Stories of 2014 January 2, 2015
- 2014: The Rain Year January 2, 2015
- Tupelo Honey Sets New Casual Standard December 1, 2014
- 2013 Predictions. A Look Back November 18, 2014
- Wicked Taco Bringing Fresh-Mex to Western Blvd November 17, 2014
- DOT Unveils I-440 Widening Plans November 12, 2014
- County Power Shift Brings Major Changes to Raleigh’s Future November 5, 2014
- Jarrett Bay Store Coming to Crabtree September 25, 2014
- FirstWatch Coming to Glenwood Avenue September 9, 2014
- Big Shindig Releases Set Times September 5, 2014
- Appearance Commission to Review Residence Inn September 3, 2014