Monday, April 24, 2006

What WAS That Thing Uptown?

Attention, uptown folks: What WAS that? Or downtown folks. Doesn’t matter what you call the place. What WAS that thing I saw on Sixth Street last Thursday?

It was the carcass of what can best be described as a critter.

It lay on the south side of East Sixth, in the block east of College Street, sort of across the street from Brixx. It was brown and furry, with a rodent-ish face, and a furry tail. It was the size of a beaver.

The size and the fuzzy tail ruled out rat, possum or beaver and, based on a quick Google search, muskrat. It wasn’t a rabbit or hare; its ears were small and round.

Is it possible we have groundhogs – a.k.a. woodchucks, as in "How much would would a woodchuck chuck," etc. – in uptown Charlotte?

"Fried, roasted or stewed woodchuck can be tasty," a Canadian Web site, Hinterland Who’s Who, tells me. No mention of woodchucks having become urbanized like raccoons and possums. Even so, it looked more like a groundhog than anything else, though I’ve only seen them dead on the highway, or standing sentry beside mountain roads or being fêted at the Nature Museum on Groundhog Day.

Any theories, anyone?

Speaking of sights
And speaking of uptown sights, can there possibly be a less distinguished-looking county courthouse than the new Mecklenburg County Courthouse at Fourth and McDowell streets?

One last thought
One last uptown thought: ImaginOn? Love the building or hate it?
My quick take – it’s seriously suburban, with its odd scraps of useless lawn out front. And that grassy berm out back looks as if it was modeled on some suburban buffer in Weddington. It has no place in an urban setting.

Maybe someone with a competitive streak figured if Dallas has a grassy knoll, then Charlotte needs one, too.


Anonymous said...

My take on ImaginOn:

It costs government bureaucrats $40 million to build a 1-1/2 story empty box with some books and computers in it.

Contrast that to the privately built 22 story Park condos with over 100 luxury condos and fitness center. The cost of that? $36 million.

Yet another boondoggle. You could have built 2 or more NEW high schools for the same money.

What a complete waste.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least ImaginOn looks different from all the other boring neo-traditional architecture this city loves. I think the colors and the funky lines add a little life to the city scape. I'm indifferent to Mary's whining about the grass out front. At least it gives a place for the woodchucks to play.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last comment. It's about time the architecture in this city is starting to change.

Rick said...

"I'm guessing that thing was a groundhog in the city. Man, we must be a HICK town if we've got groundhogs in the city. What kind of classy, new-urbanist mecca has groundhogs in the city? That just can't be true - can it?

How can I say this is a terrible setback for world class city status without upsetting my environmentalist friends who support light rail and probably LOVE groundhogs? I've got it! Subtly, act like I don't know what that horrible little furry creature was lying dead there on MY street.

It must have been lured there by that tacky suburban ImaginOn with all of its green space. Oh wait, I like green space, so I can't say that. If only it were a park paid for by public money. Oh wait, it IS partially a public library that was $10 million over budget, AND it's only 2/3 the originally planned size. Better not mention those things about ImagineOn.

When will this city get it right?"

-Thought process to figure out how to bash a groundhog while getting in a couple more jabs on tacky suburban living and at the same time avoiding obvious government waste.

Anonymous said...

Rick, I'll have to admit...THAT was funny.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but have any of you actually been inside of the building, taken a child to a program, attended a special event, seen the bus-loads of school kids attending programs/events and all having a wonderful experience centered around books and literature???
ImaginOn is a specail place with wonderful opportunities for families to have a meaningful, interactive experience instead of sitting home in front of the TV and not talking to each other.
You should experience it before you slam it!

rebecca said...

IMAGINON is GHASTLY. The ugliest building I have ever seen. it makes me ashamed every time I pass it. It looks like something my kids built in the woods out of scraps of castoff crap they found laying around. ICKY.

Rick said...

Last Anon,

NOBODY slammed the IDEA of ImagineOn, so don't try to twist these criticisms into something their not.

That's totally different than bashing the architecture, or bashing the ridiculousness of bashing the architecture instead of bashing the government cost overuns.

I'm sure it's wonderful, and yes, I do see the bus loads of kids every day when I walk through the grassy knoll by the building on my way into work. I bet they have a wonderful time.

Feel free to enjoy away, but realize your tax dollars were not used effectively while creating the wonderful place you enjoy.

The Arena is GREAT, and I'm sure the NASCAR HOF will be AWESOME. That doesn't mean they justify wasting tax money.

I'm sorry if pointing out reality takes some of the luster off your enjoyment.

Anonymous said...

did you pay for a hotel in charlotte or a rental car? if you are a charlotte resident mostly likey you didn't pay for the arena, thanx very much, but you know what, imaginon is great looking, I love it, its different its a breath for fresh air for charlotte, it does look like something a child pasted together and painted, but isn't that the point??? and the exterior is very le corbusier and the front is very philip johnson, I love it we need move buildings like this, has anyone seen the new rendering for epicenter? that is a breath of freshair, I love it.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what brainiac took the children's room out of the Main Library and moved it two blocks away into ImaginOn. Parents would love to have their kids quietly reading in one of the snug cubbies in the Main kiddie room while they could browse through the new books, fiction, etc., right across the lobby. Now that the two functions are literally blocks apart, I will take my kids to Independence or Morrison for our Saturday morning date with the books. I'm not dragging myself into ImaginOn nor my kids into Main.

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