On Saturday and Sunday, there were traffic jams in the Arts District, and for once they weren’t caused by cars. They were the result of hundreds of people flowing from Klyde Warren Park and wandering across streets with the leisurely attitude park-goers have. These hundreds of people had no place to sit and settle, to imbibe an adult beverage, enjoy brunch, or just people-watch over a cup of coffee.
That’s because the Arts District seems doctrinally opposed to restaurants, even though every venue was losing money by not providing space outside to serve alcohol, cappuccinos, and food. Contrast that to Buenos Aires, a city that understands human beings. Across from almost every park in that robust, people-friendly city, space has been reserved for restaurants — as many as seven or eight lined up together with large umbrellas sheltering diners from heat and rain. In Dallas, if there is any restaurant at all, it is commissioned to one provider, just as Klyde Warren has done with its soon-to-be-finished place. In Buenos Aires, the attitude is to let a hundred umbrellas bloom — Italian, French, Argentine, pizzerias, sushi, anything your heart desires. Why do we insist on one brand, one style, one menu? Let the park’s restaurant be only one of many scattered around the Arts District so that wanderers have a place to wander to.
Oh, beloved Arts District people, how many times do I have to say it: alcohol and coffeeÂ are your friends. Embrace them. Use food and drink as welcoming arms to invite people to your mini-fortresses of Art. Klyde Warren Park has given you the gift of people. Open up your gates to them!