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Is Fort Worth Really ‘The New Austin’?

The Times of London tells us it's now the coolest city in Texas.
McConaughey photo by Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

First, here are all my disclaimers and caveats and equivocations: Fort Worth is definitely a city on the rise. Over here in Dallas, we acknowledge its grooviness. In 2016, in a D Magazine cover story that was a guide to Fort Worth, we called it “the best little suburb of Dallas,” but we were kidding! Just like we were kidding when, last summer, we said the city’s new marketing slogan (“The Unexpected City”) was uninspiring and confusing and contained an awkward Latinate. Got all that? Now on to the high-level commentary:

The Times of London today published a travel story titled “The Coolest City in Texas? It’s No Longer Austin.” The third paragraph asserts the following: “The fastest-growing metropolis in America last year, [Fort Worth] is drawing so many young creatives it has been dubbed ‘the new Austin.’” The story goes on to say that the Bowie House Auberge is “an easy lasso toss from the world-class Kimbell Art Museum.”

What the heck? I’m not sure when, exactly, Austin stopped being the coolest city in Texas, but this year, when it let the U.S. Army sponsor the South by Southwest Festival, Austin let the rest of the country know that it long ago became about as cool as Mitch McConnell wearing jorts and river sandals at a Nickelback concert. Presumably the marketing departments of Walmart and the American Concrete Pavement Association turned down SXSW’s sponsorship opportunities.

Deserved or not, Marfa probably has the reputation for being the coolest city in Texas. Or Fredericksburg. Or San Antonio. Or The Colony. Or White Settlement. They’re all cooler than Austin.

Now then. Who has dubbed Fort Worth “the new Austin”? I googled “Fort Worth” and “the new Austin.” The second result is the selfsame Times story currently in my crosshairs. The first result is a 2015 blog post written by a guy who’d just moved to Fort Worth because he didn’t have a job. He was so new to Fort Worth that he called it “Ft. Worth,” which is like calling the beverage “Dr. Pepper.” That period ruins your credibility. Point is: until Matthew McConaughey or Nolan Ryan calls Fort Worth the new Austin, it hasn’t been dubbed as such.

Which brings me to this business about the lasso. Have you ever tried to lasso something? I have. There’s no such thing as “an easy lasso toss.” This is a phrase clearly employed by a British wanker who parachuted into town for a weekend and has no idea what he’s talking about.

(One last disclaimer: the author of that Times story is Jonathan Thompson. He is, in fact, a Briton, but he has lived here for seven years. You should read his Times story, which quotes Tim Love, and you should read the last story Jonathan wrote for D Magazine, about the photographer David Yarrow. I consider Jonathan a mate, which is what Brits call friends even when they live in East Dallas. He’s about to become a first-time father, so I wrote this post to stiffen his upper lip and give him practice at remaining calm and loving as he confronts a foul mess that belongs in a Diaper Genie. He’ll need it.)


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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