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.