We have a problem here. A problem I bounce around in a post from time to time but never take on directly.
What will it take for Fresno to be considered a cool city?
If you’re thinking “Hey, but wait, I already think it’s cool!” I don’t disagree with you, but we both have to acknowledge that we are in the minority, chief.
How do we make Fresno appear cool to an outsider? This is what I’m talking about. To a Fresno State grad, we lost to brain drain? What can we do to win that person back? It’s a question that Fresno creatives have been wrestling with for many years.
First. The Immovable Object.
We are land locked, no getting around that. Except that we are not as landlocked as Denver, or Boise, or Dallas, or Every City Not On The Ocean. We can go to the beach for a morning surf session and be back in town for a late lunch.
So while this is tough, we have workarounds, it could be a lot worse.
The air sucks. It does. But, the past couple years, it feeeeels like it has gotten better? And if California can (continue?) to lead in clean air…stuff and things? Maybe I’m being naive but I feel like future technology and regulations will make the terrible air a thing of the past. But we definitely need to be a lead-city on clean air initiatives.
Booze May Be An Answer.
Here might be a cool city suggestion we can work on:
I'm totally with you on NE Fresno aka Clovis West. Rooftop Whiskey bars S of Fulton would liven up the place like they did in DT Denver
Rooftop whiskey bars, eh? I definitely like the idea of rooftop things – like the pic at the top of the post from a Phoenix rooftop bar. And adding a niche element like whiskey is the kind of thing that pushes something from being “Oh that, you can find that in every city.” To “Oh that is rad, I wish we had one of those in our city.”
That unique, “can’t put my finger on it why it’s cool but I just know it’s cool” thing is really what we need to get at here in Fresno.
Touting our agriculture backbone. Being sunny almost every damn day. Embracing our sports, like the soccer community that gets bigger every year:
We’re just spitballing here.
The Cool Roots Are Taking Hold.
We have things already going for us. Not many cities can boast that they are a “basecamp city” to three National Parks. One of which, Yosemite, is considered by many to hold the most beautiful place in the world, Yosemite Valley – and I am in complete agreement with that.
There are other signs of coolness brewing as well. Bitwise pushing Fresno into the tech and startup scene is a big one. The rising craft beer and coffee scene. Branding ourselves as the Capitol of Tacos. These are the kind of things to ride into the cool town sunset.
So let’s tally up some of the cool stuff we got and the stuff we can do more of:
Craft Beer – even more breweries.
Bitwise and tech.
Sports – including soccer.
Leader In Clean Air.
Outdoor city – more trails, parks, and owning the Sierra Nevada closeness.
This is but a humble start of a list by a blogger that only went as far as Fresno City College – a great community college, btw. I know only bits and pieces of things. So I choose you to comment and help.
What are some of your suggestions? Leave a comment! On the August episode of Flowing With Famous, myself and Joshua Tehee will parse them out and talk about them on the podcast.
First, they felt it necessary to uselessly and embarrassingly insert God into the Fresno Council Chambers. Now, Northeast Fresno has managed to stop California law and the will of the rest of Fresno (well, most of) by getting spineless Fresno City Councilmen to vote no on legal pot.
It’s time we let NE Fresno go, guys.
They don’t really like Fresno and the rest of Fresno doesn’t really like them. It’s like we’re in a relationship that neither wants to be in but both of us are too nice to dump one another. I’ll be the asshole here. “Sorry, Northeast Fresno, it’s not us, it’s you. Can you please find a place to stay tonight?”
Go away, NE. You have way too much power for a bunch of track houses and strip malls.
We don’t need ya and you don’t like going into the Tower District or Downtown anyway. Plus, you don’t even know where Sunnyside is anymore, nor do you even know what we’re up to over in NW Fresno because I see you taking Avenue 9 to go out to Highway 99 and not taking Herndon like you used to.
It’s cool. Just take your stuff and leave.
You can have River Park and Yosemite Ranch. That one Vons. The boring Sequoia’s. The shitty Wassabi’s. We’re good. Except you can NOT have Woodward Park, that has to stay neutral territory.
But What Should We Name NE Fresno?
If you’re no longer going to carry the Fresno name, we have to think up something new for you.
Ohhhhhh. I know. It’s been hiding there all along: Clovis West. The prominent high school in the area is already named it. It’s all Clovis School District. You all wish you were in Clovis anyway. Let’s do it, it has been decided. The town of Clovis West.
So, take care of yourself, Clovis West. I’m sure we can still be friends. Just don’t stalk us on Instagram, ok?
As we all watch the construction, there has been lots of debating that Fulton Street Mall is not going to be large enough for two cars to travel down it, once they’re done asphalting.
DEBATE OVER! … sorta.
As you can see, the asphalt will be where your car goes. Cement is where your car will pay a meter to park. And yes, there is technically enough room. But barely.
Like, if you look at hot fireman (or woman) walking alongside your car and don’t pay attention to the road for a second BLAMMO!: Fulton Street Fender Bender. BTW, Fulton Street Fender Bender is a really hot local pop-punk band, look for them in 2017.
K-Jewel like, came back, or moved to 105.5 or something and that “Rewind” station got canceled or moved or, I dunno. Podcasting is the new radio so I can’t keep up with these dealings in frequency. I did see that the station owners got a new “One Put” sign. #branding
Since we’re downtown picturing, John Rupe posted a nice shot of Downtown just before dawn:
Grizzly Fest tickets are now a thing you can buy. The whole lineup is not announced yet and it already feels like it’s going to be the biggest Central California music festival of the year. Go Chuk!
Something Not To Forget
And finally, here [arthouse benefit] is something that looks cool and good that I will totally forget about once the day comes and say “Oh shit, that was tonight wasn’t it?! Oh well.”
Respecting the Bee’s People’s Choice Awards, I have my own asshole blogger version. Welcome to The Fresnans. Some random Fresno junk that was SO Fresno for me this year.
Top Street: Bullard. Yep, that’s right, BULLARD! Sorry, I am no longer a Tower District person, I am a NW Fresno person (with much love and respect to South of Shaw), and I used the HELL out of Bullard this year.
Best Fresno Beer: I am tempted to say Tioga’s Sequoia’s “All The Mornings” but I have only had it twice so that really can’t count. Full Circle made a nice New England style IPA. Pine & Palm keeps getting better. But my “go to” has been Mt. Whitney XPA from TS.
Best Coffee: My coffee-maker. Look, man, I don’t have time for that Dutch Bros drive-thru or to find a local place. I need my caffeine quickly and nothing performs better than my coffee-maker and some Coffemate French Vanilla creamer.
Food Dish: Dude. Have you had a L.A. Roll at Edo-Ya before? Holy crap. If you are into sushi AT ALL, this is the greatest thing ever. It took me 20-years of going to Edo-Ya before I tried one (I have been very slow to try sushi) and it is amazings.
Worst Traffic Light: We could be here a while with this one. Pretty much every single one that doesn’t have a turn arrow, for starters – that’s dangerous, ya know. But personally, it’s Fruit & Bullard. If you have ever tried to get through the light while traveling on Fruit, before 8:00 in the morning, you know what I mean. The fucking thing takes five LONG minutes to change and gives no shits that you are late for work.
Best District: I kinda want to say the “Taint District”. What is the taint district? Well, it’s the area around Willow & Nees, Herndon & Willow… you know… the “taint” of Fresno & Clovis (thanks, Bells). House of Pendragon and Kuni Sama did rather well for me this year, in the Taint District. But that’s too North Fresno/Clovis to be cool so I’ll just say South Of Stadium in Downtown Fresno.
Favorite Fig Garden Village place: I went to or picked up food at Jack’s a lot this year. In fact, I suspect they are still in business because of me.
Fresno Band Of The Year: It still has to be Light Thieves. Even with a couple Fierce Creatures reunions, I’m still like “Meh. Give me Light Thieves, dammit!” Following close behind might be Le Wolves. Really like their latest:
Drive Thru Of The Year: No we should not be all about drive-thrus here. But, we are. I spent a lot of time in the Palm Foster Freeze drive-thru, so I will go with that one. The Bullard & West Dutch Bros fascinated me all year but I rarely used it. I miss the Taco Bell drive thru at Barstow & Blackstone.
Local Media Person: I want to say Joshua Tehee of the Fresno Bee but he is a friend and fellow podcast host so that doesn’t seem right. Evan Onstot seems pretty cool so I will choose him. Shout out to Bill Mac getting back into his Bee-ness.
Biggest Fresnan Post: I took a couple or three years off of blogging. This year I could not help but come back. I am glad I did, even though sometimes I have trouble writing about… things. But, by more than double, the most read post of 2016 for The Fresnan is 5 Most Annoying Parking Lots In Fresno.
Tweet Exchange Of The Year: I have never had the pleasure (I assume it’s a pleasure) of meeting Mayor Ashley Swearengin. Maybe one day. I look forward to it. In the mean time, I treasure exchanging Tweets with her that involve my Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones nerdness:
Well, I could go on forever but let’s save something for the 2017 awards. Looking forward to expanding The Fresnan’s reach in 2017 (whatever that means) and following what happens to Fresno (like the Fulton Street opening up) in the coming year.
Thank you so damn much for reading this blog! Cheers!
If you have followed this blog for some time, I hope it’s obvious to you that I love Fresno. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see issues with the city.
There are things Fresno can do without. Things, if I had a magic wand, I would get rid of. One (or two or so) things I would edit out. What would that be?
I know there are mountains around here somewhere
The bad air. Right now it would be the bad air. Sorta obvious, with the August temps, California fires and the Valley being a natural bowl.
But honestly, I don’t think it would be my choice in the Spring, Fall or even the chimney smoke-filled Winter. I probably would choose something else. I’m one of the lucky ones (knock on wood) that isn’t physically bothered by the air.
Of course there is also strong poverty here. That would be the human thing to remove and would kick up Fresno’s economy. But that’s something an adult might do. A good person. Not sure I’m your guy.
What about little annoying things?
People that block the lane and don’t leave you space to merge onto the street from a parking lot.
Train crossings. Trains are cool for my kid to watch, but are annoying when you’re late for soccer.
Trying to beat the ‘churchies’ to your favorite breakfast spot on Sunday morning. … now I’m not saying to edit out churchies, just don’t let them into my breakfast haunts until my hungover-ass is done eating.
Sprawl/Being too spread out. Have you ever tried to get from the Fig Garden Loop to the Airport, Tower, or (for some dumb reason) Clovis? It blows. Herndon should have been a freeway.
Theses are some things I would not mind editing out of Fresno. What about you? Leave a comment on your choice. But let’s not get to crazy negative. Remember I am STILL a Fresno lover; smoke-filled skies and all.