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Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends

Hello Enthusiasts –

I have a few new places to write about, but those will have to wait because … here it is!  My brand spanking new website.  Complete with a freestanding URL, and some pretty kick ass design, if I do say so myself.

Isn’t it obnoxious to brag about the design of one’s own website?  Not in this case, because I had nothing to do with it.  The story behind this new website made me reflect on the story behind this blog and, really, the story behind today’s Downtown.  So, fair warning:  this is one my ‘big think’/quasi cheesy posts.  Just go with it – you know you love it.

You see, a few loyal readers of this little vanity project happen to own a great graphic design shop called Dragonfly Design Group.  They’ve followed a few of my recommendations, had some fun with it, and always give me nice feedback.  After my last post, I get an email out of the blue from Paul, one of their lead designers, basically saying “I love what you write but as a designer, the quality of the writing doesn’t match the quality of the visuals so, as my gift to you, here’s a header that I think reflects what you are trying to do.”  Which is the header you see at the top of this screen.

Wow.  That is such an incredibly nice gesture.  But, now I have a problem.  The rest of my website doesn’t match my now-very-cool header.  So I ask them how much they would charge me to put together a new website that can stand on its own.  Understanding that, of course, I’m an AMATEUR Enthusiast and all.  It’s not like I monetize this thing (against the advice of most everybody).  The next email comes from Peter, the founder and chief decision maker in the joint.  He says “We want to help with your culture sharing.  Just show us a decent Downtown night out, and we’ll make it happen.”  DONE!

And … voila.  The site you’re now reading.  Incredible, right?

So what does a couple of design guys hooking me up have to do with this blog, or even about Downtown, really?  In a word: Everything.

You see, a lot of people have responded fairly positively to this little endeavor.  And I honestly believe that’s not (only) because I try to clue you in about cool new bars and restaurants.  I think it’s because it reminds people of community.  Of shared experiences, of lasting friendships, of mutual discoveries.  It’s about finding the new and supporting the old.   And it’s about realizing that we’re all in this City together, and we better make it work together.

Real life example:  just a couple weeks back, a friend asked for a suggestion for where a group could hang out on a Friday afternoon, maybe grab a couple beers, talk.  I suggested a place, and ended up joining them – and it turned into a great time of ideas, laughs, and reminiscing … and now, it might even become a weekly ritual.  The point being that the blog, and the place, was really a conduit to something bigger and cooler and more human.

And that’s what today’s Downtown is.  It’s not pretentious rope lines and people trying to outdo each other.  It’s not a competition for who can be the coolest or newest or even the best.  Everybody supports everybody.  Businesses want to see each other succeed and mourn when they don’t.  In Downtown, people share culture – they don’t try to hide it or hoard it.  They realize that one bar or one restaurant can transform whole neighborhoods (and, indeed, have), so if one succeeds, we all benefit.

So thanks, Dragonfly guys (and I have to give Gary a shout out, who did the heavy lifting!).  You had my back; this is my little way of trying to have yours.  The way we do it in Downtown.

Happy travels.  Stay tuned for more posts to come soon with a couple of “just out of Downtown” places to try…