Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey


A Q&A with Reunion Tower

In an exclusive interview with D Magazine, the skyline's most distinctive building dishes on its 40th birthday and its downtown neighbors.

Hey, man, I just wanted to start by thanking you for taking some time out to sit down with me. I know it can’t be a, um, ball to discuss this. Dude. A pun? You’re really going to start with a pun?

Come on. I had to. I know, I know. That’s fair. Anyway, we’ve been friends for a long time, and, I don’t know, it’s probably time that I sort of explain myself. And you of all people know what can happen when—

Hey, no judgment here. But I want to talk about what happened on your 40th birthday, back in April. Hard to believe you opened in 1978. Yeah, tell me about it. Time flies.

OK, so walk me through what happened that night. First, I wasn’t planning anything crazy. I swear.

Really? Yeah. I mean, one of the younger guys—MT, Museum Tower—you know him, right? Well, he wanted to go over to Deep Ellum and do shots at Dot’s until we were IBC non-compliant.

IBC? Oh—International Building Code.

Ah, OK. Keep going. So, yeah, like a decade ago, when Wolfgang came to town, I probably would have done it. No, I definitely would have. I had been catching hell from people for years for being in the opening credits of Dallas, like I was past my prime or whatever. And I was like, OK, I’ll show all y’all that I’ve still got it. But, I mean, these younger guys—it’s always such a neon-measuring contest. It was exhausting.

I bet. I finally came to my senses. It just sort of hit me one day: you’re the face of Dallas. What are you doing out here? And so, since then, I’ve definitely kept it pretty chill. And that was the plan for my 40th, too. Me and Bo—Bank of America Tower?—we were just going to have a nice dinner at Nick & Sam’s. No big deal.

So, then, what happened? Ray Hunt happened. [laughs] Bo and I were sitting there, enjoying our steaks, and I hear Bo go, “Oh, no.” I look up and there is Ray with a bottle of Louis XIII and a look on his face like, “Guess who’s drinking this with me?” [laughs] I don’t know if you know this, but he and I were part of the city’s first public-private partnership when I got built.

Interesting. But, OK, that still doesn’t quite explain the photo I saw. That everyone saw, I guess. Right. OK, after a few shots of Louis, my hands came off the reins. We end up over at Midnight Rambler and, god, everyone was there. Fountain Place, the whole AT&T campus, some of those cats from Uptown. The W, but he was just drinking club soda because you know. [touches one nostril] KPMG Plaza showed up already blasted. And dressed like a nightmare. Just pattern on pattern on pattern. Who can pull that off?

OK, but— Hold on. I’m getting there. So, of course, The Statler was there, too. Stat is kind of where I was at 10 years ago. Gets a facelift, and now he’s acting like he’s 18 again. We were all looking at each other just cringing, you know? It was like seeing your mom in a bikini.

[laughs] But so that jerk—that absolute buffoon—invites his buddy Omni to come by. And Stat knows how I feel about Omni. He knows, OK? The only thing I could do at that point was drink my way through it. And when I get that drunk, I start thinking about Reunion Arena and I just—I mean, I [stares down for 30 seconds]. I’m sorry.

Hey, it’s OK. It just—it brought up a lot of feelings. So I can’t really guide you from point A to point B here, but next thing I know, I’m macking down with Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge like I’m trying to rescue a drowning victim. [laughs softly] It’s been—what?—two months or something now, and that photo is still popping up on my timeline.

I may have retweeted it once or twice. [laughs] Man, I did, too. What can you do at that point, you know? Just gotta steer into the skid.

OK, one last question: how sick did you get? Come on. I rotate. The spins never bother me.   


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