October 26, 2016 – Sun, 80 degrees
Miles Today: 44
Miles to Date: 18,493
States to Date: 45
Scottsdale is stylish money, Boston is old money, San Jose is tech money, New Orleans is fun money, La Jolla is laid-back money, Altoona is hard scrapple money, East St Louis is no money. Dallas is simply money – lots and lots of money. One of my hosts, who’s lived here thirty years said, “I can never get over how much money there is in this city.”
Indeed, my trek from Uptown, along Turtle Creek, through Highland Park, University Park and Preston Hollow, Northeast Dallas and Vickery Meadow, Plano, Allen and finally McKinney took me through miles and miles of million dollar homes. There are subtle differences among these neighborhoods. Closer in, architectural styles vary, but symmetry rules. Order conveys power.
Further out, everything is vaguely English and arbitrarily asymmetrical. Roofs have too many gables and hips to count. On one street, every single house had a turret. Which, of course, neuters the whole idea that turrets define corners.
Rich people in Dallas buy what all America’s purchase with their money: privacy. As a result, it is rare to meet an actual human. Houses are self-contained and air-conditioned, garages are attached. There are few parks, few sidewalks, no place for a cyclist at all. People walk their dogs in the morning and evening, and offer uniformly pleasant greetings. Canines remain humanities best hope.
Of course, with money comes excess. Why place a pumpkin on your porch when you can scatter enough along your curb to feed an entire village in the developing world.
Before you decide I’m too harsh on The Metroplex, I will mention two things I absolutely love about Dallas.
First, Steel City Pops, Lower Greenwood that serves up frozen concoctions for a mere three dollars. I will long remember my creamy pumpkin treat. At first bite you think, ‘I wish Steel City was everywhere.’ Then you realize, no, you are glad there are only a few locations for this unique experience.
Second are Dallas’ commanding street trees: huge dome-shaped bouquets with wide arms that often span across the pavement. The best streets have one huge tree on each front lawn. In subdivisions of low-slung mid-century ranches, the trees create a canopy that links the shallow roofs. All Dallas really needs is for the citizens to come outdoors, sit in the shade of their magnificent specimens, and chat. It won’t happen; there’s no money in that.