We didn’t know what to expect of Albuquerque, and were apprehensive that it would be yet another city that forgot its roots, bulldozed its history, and tried hard to look like every other place in America.
From what we have seen, not so.
First of all the town is not knit together with intersecting freeways. The major artery is calm compared to many we have seen, and the traffic is well-managed. There are no huge monoliths of glass rising from the earth, but more mid-rise level buildings that don’t impose on the landscape. And the pueblo style and adobe finishes are everywhere, blending nicely into the mountains to the east. (Even when they cover drug stores and Teriyaki restaurants.)
Maybe we were just lucky, but we didn’t see any areas of blight, and they are not hard to find in most cities. The center of town was active, but not manic. So all in all, this city of one million seems to have done it right.
We started our day at the Indian Cultural Center, which has some of the most beautiful pottery, but alas allowed no photography inside.
The old plaza is still intact, centered of course by the church. It is quiet and lovely, and full of trees with their yellow leaves falling. Though there was actually a frost here last night, the roses are still blooming, and it felt like a warm fall day.
We also went – of course – to the art museum. Again, a very sensible place which celebrates the art of its landscape and people. One of the few things that was of another place was the Andrew Wyeth next to the Peter Hurd. (Linda, here is where Karl Kuerner’s portrait lives. Or one of them.)
For lunch we went to a great upscale diner on Route 66, also discovered by Guy Fieri. The Standard was terrific, and afterwards we strolled further down Central Avenue to the famous KiMo Theatre, which has been lovingly restored to its 1930’s over-the-top southwest style. Gorgeous, and still used.
All in all, this was finally a day in an actual city that left us feeling more kindly about the urban life we have been away from for many weeks. We even treated our dear faithful car to the auto spa, where she had a wonderful hour of interior and exterior beautification while we strolled through Old Town. She is much happier.
Albuquerque, for whatever reason, looks like a city you could actually live in.
5 thoughts on “A thoroughly sensible city”
When my brother got his radio and TV engineering degree back in the late 1950’s the first job he accepted was in Albuquerque. He just loved it there. Now I can see why. If he had not been young and restless and moved on to Rapid City, South Dakota, Los Angeles, and finally Greensboro, NC, I would probably be living in Albuquerque as we speak. He is the reason I moved to Greensboro.
Albuquerque getting shedloads of publicity here in the UK because ‘Breaking Bad’ has just been a huge hit. You obviously missed out on the ‘Breaking Bad’ tour during your stay–and just spent the time at art galleries and stuff! Some people!!
The art looks wonderful–and I want to go to the Kimo. Magical!
I wonder if you can dine out on knowing two of the few people in the US who didn’t follow ‘Breaking Bad.’ I sure hope so, because otherwise we let you down badly. I tried, really I did. But I realized immediately that I was going to have a hard time watching someone else’s life fall apart, thus playing to my worst fears. Yes, I feel I am always just on the edge of resorting to starting a meth lab to make ends meet.
Besides, I need my heroes to be heroic, thus putting me in the league with much younger audiences, say those under the age of reason. My current favorite series is ‘Burn Notice,’ which satisfies all my good-guy, bad-guy standards.
Sigh. Now all my secrets are out.
Make that three people who didn’t follow Breaking Bad.
Four. I didn’t see it either. Just reporting!