Last year I posted a handful of local business reviews at Yelp as Clyde the Crank. Most of them were about Hillsborough Street businesses that are still open and well worth your patronage. I accentuated the positive but I meant every word.
Here are my Hillsborough Street restaurant reviews:
"The Hillsborough St. Char-Grill is a core icon of Raleighwood culture but one that I only hit occasionally...It was name checked in Sonic Youth's song Chapel Hill and its fans represent the full range of Raleigh's citizenry."
Cup A Joe
"Cup A Joe's on Hillsborough St. is the original of this mini-chain and its opening was a big deal for those of us who are into coffeehouse culture. A unique assortment of Raleighites roll through on a daily basis and the staff is always interesting to observe."
El Rodeo Mexican Restaurant:
"Part of a respected local chain, this location looked like a true dive for many years and I stayed away for that fact. But, after a fire a while back, they did an excellent upgrade to match the quality of their food and I'm now definitely a fan."
Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro
"I was so happy when Jasmin opened a couple of years back...Jasmin strikes a fine balance between quick service and well prepared, tasty food. So far, very tasty food."
"Amore's is in my hood and a spot where I pop in to get slices to go. The slices are great but every time I go in, I'm reminded that this would be a great place to hang out...About a year ago they added a full bar with liquor which is kind of a big deal for a business in that stretch of Hillsborough that stays open late."
Raleigh nightlife coverage tends to focus on places for 20 somethings or rich people or people who live downtown but I think it's time to recognize the full diversity of Raleigh night life starting with the question:
What's the Best Bar in Raleigh Where an Aging Drunk Can Feel at Home?
I'm voting Sadlack's with some spillover to the Player's Retreat for those in need of hard liquor. But, if you've been to Sadlack's, you know that's just too easy a call.
I'm betting there are some unknown gems in Raleigh where an aging drunk can feel right at home even when they're down on their luck.
Please offer your suggestions in the comments and maybe this will become the first category in Best in Raleighwood, NC!
Note: I know this category will overlap with Best Bar at Which a Vaguely Attractive Female Can Draw Way Too Much Attention but, hey, no reason Sadlack's can't sweep!
I'm sorry I missed it. By the time I got there most of this crowd had dispersed. But now I can see why they were so easy to hear from my apartment.
It was pretty peaceful for a "riot" but I like the fact that the year is included in the title of this video. It will make it easier to find but it also makes one wonder if this could become an annual event!
Update: More videos are showing up on YouTube via a search for ncsu rave. But check the date to make sure it's the right one!
Silly me. I kept checking Google and YouTube for student coverage of the NCSU Flash Rave that took Hillsborough Street after being kicked off the Brickyard (not sure how that transition worked but later coverage will clarify, I'm sure). I should have been checking Twitter instead as you can see from the timeline below featuring selected tweets and a couple of links to photos taken in the streets, most likely with cellphone cams.
NCSU Flash Rave Twitter Timeline:
I heard from @The_Tad that 3000 giants are congregating at NCSU's brickyard tonight...get on that!
#BRICKYARDRAVE at #NCSU is in like an hour. Everyone get ready...
I just got back from Hillsborough St. where the police have shut things down while a flash rave mob continues to disperse from around the NCSU Bell Tower. By the time I left, there was no more than a hundred people, most had wandered away and things were pretty subdued.
It's 1:30 am, Monday morning, and about a half hour ago, maybe a little more, I heard a crowd that sounded really big, chanting "Wolfpack" and on the move. I first quickly checked to see if there had been some big sports event that State had won and then, when there didn't seem to be anything that would relate to a sports riot, I quickly got dressed and headed over to Hillsborough which is just a few blocks from my home.
What a number of students told me was that a flash rave had come together on the brickyard in front of the library, they didn't have a permit for music and were forced to leave or chose to leave [still figuring that out]. They then began marching and eventually took over Hillsborough St. and massed up at the Belltower. At some point the cops came and by the time I got there the cops were all lined up on the median (so that's what that's for!) and everybody else was casually hanging out in front of the Belltower or across the street watching the scene.
The students all seemed good natured and just out for some fun. They weren't harassing the cops from what I could see and the cops were plenty visible, having shut down the street with their cars, but not getting aggressive.
Basically the cops shut things down longer than did the students but, based on what one said, they were doing the public safety thing and I guess once they got there they had to make sure that things stayed cool, based on their procedures. In any case, I didn't see anything out of hand and, if you didn't know it was happening, I doubt there will be much of a trace tomorrow though I would expect lots of photos and video from news and folks on the scene.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Letting the kids have their party on campus in a big open space like the Brickyard, even if problematic and without proper paperwork, would have kept them off Hillsborough St. and then kept the street open rather than ending with the cops shutting it down longer than the students did.
But that would take a flexible response from people working on a Sunday evening and you don't get responsive leadership at that time of night from people whose bosses are at home resting up to second guess you the next day.
ON FURTHER CONSIDERATION: Though I do feel the opportunity to keep college kids on campus and off Hillsborough St. was lost due to inflexibility, I also got the general impression that the police handled themselves with restraint in what must have initially felt like a potentially serious and risky challenge. That's a very good thing and I wanted to make sure I mentioned their professional behavior. Thanks guys!
I'm trying to keep a relatively light tone here at Raleighwood, NC so I won't have much to say about the Travesty in Progress that our city planners, and we the people, are currently foisting on Hillsborough St.
That's some idiot nonsense, imho.
Raleigh Boy says he's "(cautiously) optimistic" about Hillsborough St.
But this statement from Bob pretty much reveals the damage done:
"Consider, too, that many of the street's needed ingredients are hidden in plain view, like the old Varsity, a marquee movie house back in the day that later showed porn flicks and then was turned into a McDonald's restaurant....now, it's a stripped-down student bookstore that, like many other locations, awaits its new life as part of a new main street for Raleigh."
No, Bob, it doesn't await anything. Walk around back. Do you see the missing part of the building that used to hold the stage?
They destroyed that a long time ago and that's how I feel about Hillsborough St.
I'm not saying it won't come back or that things can't improve or that businesses won't find a way to make things work. I just can't feel good about a future engineered by city planners that don't get the concept of mass transit and only care about getting white people downtown.
I just don't trust good old boys that love white bread, even if they're Yankees with PhD's. Know what I mean?
Note: Comments are welcome. I could be wrong about the theater but that's how it looks to me. "Yankees w/PhD's" is a metaphor. I won't attack you for disagreeing with me. I look forward to thousands of flowers blooming in the rubble of those roundabouts!
2010 Update: I've been talking to some folks I know who have convinced me that the turnabouts may well be a good thing. And, though Hillsborough St. will never be what it was, maybe something great for our time is emerging. I would like that because, at heart, I'm an optimist.