Downtown Ft. Worth has Changed -- For...

Downtown Ft. Worth has Changed -- For the Worse

Posted in the Fort Worth Forum

Since: Jul 09

United States

#1 Jul 23, 2009
I first arrived in 1979 and stayed at the YMCA downtown for one year. What a difference between then and now. Oh yeah I know how everybody thinks it's so wonderful that Bass fixed up downtown Ft. Worth and Sundance Square, etc. Until recently I might have even agreed with you. But from recent experiences of going downtown, I say bring back the good ole days. This is from the perspective a 52-year-old.

Back in 1979 Ft. Worth was a lot more "hick" in appearance and culture. Monnings Department store was downtown and lot of other small shops like shoe stores. You could go out late at night to Richelieu Grill and get something to eat. This was just a kind of greasy spoon café. There were unique places you could go like the Metro Center Hotel or the old Blackstone Hotel. And there were the modern places too. Tandy Center was fun to visit. I would just walk over and watch the people ice skate, and sometimes flirt with the girls that worked there. The cafeteria in the Tandy Center was a good place to eat. There were a lot of shops there including custom tailor shops. I liked the appearance of the old library before they gave it that hideous facelift and made it harder to access. There were furniture shops downtown and warehouses. You could get a job just about anywhere. There were no bicycle cops riding around watching your every move. I liked to go over to the old Burnet Plaza Park (7th & Lamar) and just hang out. There were street people there, but back then they were allowed to sleep at the park. I would just go there to relax for a while.

Now fast forward to 2009 30 years later. The Bass Brother's influence in downtown has been significant and with anybody that has a lot of money there comes a lot of control. Mostly gone is the "hick" feeling of downtown Ft. Worth. It has been replaced with a lot of "hip" restaurants, dance clubs and sports bars. There are more modern hotels and small shops. Oh yes a lot of the buildings are still the same, but have just been given a face lift. One could argue that the buildings aren't all that new, but the Ft. Worth powers that be wanted to modernize downtown. This meant that the YMCA residence hall had to be closed (get rid of those bums) and made a sports complex. It meant that the transients could no longer sleep at Burnett Plaza Park. In fact nobody is even allowed to hang out at Burnett Plaza Park after sundown. I've been kicked out twice now by bicycle cops. In the old days, nobody cared. Burnett Plaza Park was once a beautiful park with lights decorating the trees, water fountains flowing everywhere and a very peaceful and quiet park. I would see couples there at all hours of the evening and morning--sometimes just laying right in the walkways making out. But now the bicycle cops are on you quick if you go there. The numbers of bicycle cops and Bass security people seems to have increased dramatically and they are also more aggressive. Downtown on week night and weekends is swarming with party type beer drinking 20-somethings and 30-somethings. There are no lack of clubs for them--8.0s, Fox & Hound, Flying Saucer, City Streets, The Library, etc. Downtown really seems more like College Avenue now than a downtown.

The Water Gardens was a much nicer place before it was castrated and sanitized a couple years ago. I would go there at all hours of the night and morning and see couples hanging together up behind the trees and on the walls. The police mostly didn't care if you went swimming or wading during the day. Heck, I even jumped in the hole of the big active pool once.

I guess to my way of thinking, it was a much freer and more open place to live. It was quieter and more peaceful. With all this modernization there seems to have come a lot less freedom.
john kinch

Blackburn, UK

#2 Dec 3, 2012
stayed at the blackstone in 1980 always eat at the richeliu great days

Fort Worth, TX

#3 Jan 9, 2013
time marches on
progress is a good thing

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