Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dallas in August

4:41am S. Lamar, Dallas

If you were to find yourself locked out of a warehouse building in South Dallas ten years ago, your life expectancy would have been short. This was not a nice place to be. That was before the Renaissance that has swept through the industrial district south of down town, before the DART Rail stations, and the new Dallas Police HQ building, just a block from where I am sitting on this warm, August morning.

This is the prelude to a live broadcast from Standard & Pours Coffee &Stocks, a coffee house and pastry shop with free WiFi and live music in the evenings. I am sitting at a metal grate table on the side walk in front of the store, awaiting the manager who will open up this morning. It must be 80-degrees out here.

The Southside on Lamar Lofts is a collection of small business and residential spaces now inhabiting what once was the Sears & Roebuck warehouse. I figure the building was built around 1913, according to two iron boiler lids with that date on them, on display at one end of a polished concrete mall that runs through the center of the building. There are artsy shops along this mall, with sculptures made from Red Bull cans, life size wooden figures embracing one another, and the usual, eclectic forms with oddball shapes and colors that say “a-r-t,” if nothing else.

There’s a model railroad club that has leased space at one end of the mall. There’s only one wall; the rest is glass, which gives you a grand view of four or five scale model railways in various stages of completion, all depicting railroad routes around Texas. In one corner is a scale model of this very building.

It’s not a bad spot for a coffee shop, and that’s where Pascal Hall has located Standard & Pours, in the basement of the old Sears warehouse. About every ten minutes, the crossing guard arms for the DART line start to clang and wink and drop down the block, delivery trucks are rumbling past on their early morning routes, and a police chopper just left the pad from DPD HQ, and is now hovering in the distance over some crime scene in the city. It is peaceful, in a downtown urban kind of way.

I’ll see you in a few hours on the Radio.

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