Archive for the ‘Downtown’ Category

Phoenix Mercury Win the 2009 WNBA Championship

For the second time in three years the Phoenix Mercury rise to the top of the WBNA. With the championship series tied, the Phoenix Mercury returned home for the final game against the Indiana Fever and won 94-86 to finish with the trophy. It was a sell out crowd of 17,313 and Diana Taurasi, the league and finals MVP, didn’t disappoint scoring a game high 26 points during Friday night’s game.

Congratulations to the the ladies of the Mercury and to the city of Phoenix for another championship win. To celebrate, the Mercury will be holding a championship rally at 6pm Monday at the U.S. Airways Center Pavilion.

Light Rail Show Tunes

While riding from Tempe to Phoenix for the Night Rail event, a group of people started singing show tunes. There were about 10-15 of them and they even had their own piano. The car we were in was so jammed packed that it was the perfect setting for an impromptu singalong.

Quote of the Week

Downtown Voices Coalition is a group of about 90 stakeholders that work on issues affecting downtown Phoenix. They had a recent article on their web site about Dwell Magazine naming Phoenix Exurbs such as Verrado and Anthem (I think my home turf of Goodyear counts as well) as some of the “Worst in the US”.

The quote that caught my eye? had this to say about the recognition:

We hesitate to even call Phoenix a city; the decentralized home turf of Allied Waste would be best described as a 400-square-mile monument to sprawl, water waste, traffic bottlenecks, and crystal meth. Urban planning sometimes seems esoteric, but Phoenix offers a real-world reminder of why we need it.


Almost, Almost Irish…

The title is from a song by Ceann called Almost Irish. The lyrics are pretty accurate to my situation as 3rd generation 1/2 Irish:

‘Cause I’m almost, I’m almost Irish
And I hope almost, is good enough for you
And I’m mostly, I’m mostly Irish
OK mostly I’m American it’s true
Maybe the little bit of Irish in me
Could be the little bit of Irish in you

What does this have to do with Phoenix? Because Phoenix has a large Irish population and a Celtic music scene.


The Grass is Always Greener…

…in cities where they have grass. That said it appears that many cities are considered “greener” than Phoenix, 31 cities to be exact. has issued their 2008 rankings for sustainable cities and Phoenix did not score well. Out of the 50 most populous cities Phoenix was ranked 32nd.

There were 3 major categories: front-runners, hitting their stride, and trailing. In the first category, claiming the number 1 spot was Portland followed closely by San Francisco. Phoenix fell in the middle category due to the light rail project and water re-use. And the worst city on the list? Mesa, Az was ranked 50 out of 50. Pretty embarrassing.

Theatre for Short Attention Spans

Looking for something “different” to do this weekend? Check out Space 55 Theatre Ensemble and their 2nd Annual Ten Minute Play Showcase. Seven new plays by Valley playwrights will be presented – each no more than 10 minutes long. Tickets are $7 at the door and curtain is at 8 p.m. The showcase will run Sept 18th, 19th, 26th and 27th at Space 55┬áin downtown Phoenix.

A strong presence in the downtown theatre community, Space 55 also hosts acting and improv classes as well as a playwright’s workshop. They are at the forefront of the independent theatre scene in the Valley and are definitely worth checking out.

Sin Aesthesia at the Firehouse

I am sitting here in a fog of tired, after having a very long and hot, but very fun weekend. As I mentioned earlier, I made plans to go to First Fridays.

I picked my fiance up from work, and we had some time before we needed to be there. Dinner was a priority, and after being unable to secure parking at the Cherry Blossom Noodle Cafe, we decided to go to Macayo’s flagship restaurant on Central. I polished off a Pollo Espinaca Enchilada, and Chris enjoyed his Chipotle BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad. We split a Strawberry Margarita, and even then didn’t finish it.

We ran to Borders at the Biltmore for some items, then looking at the time, realized we better get to the Firehouse. We had difficulty finding parking, and by the time we did, we were about 3 blocks away-by Burton Barr. I was feeling tired, so we skipped wandering the galleries, although I saw that the Fair Trade Cafe on 1st Ave & Roosevelt was quite busy. This was definitely a busier First Fridays than July 4th was. (more…)

Yesterday’s Lunch

Yesterday, my department at work had a lunch meeting at one of our favorite places, Pugzies Restaurant. It is located at Highland and 16th street and really easy to get to from the 51. I had a Greek salad yesterday, but I frequently get their turkey sandwich and chicken noodle soup. I was introduced to the place only a few months ago, and it continues to impress.

They seem to have an emphasis on good food fast, a reasonable price point- I spend between $8-$14 on lunch there, and a lot of room. I have never tried the drive through.

Just a couple of minor negatives. The bathrooms are outside and a bit of a walk to get to. The ordering system, while expertly managed, creates congestion and confusion around the registers. Other than those things and a weirdly striped parking lot, I have to recommend it for anyone looking for a good place for a business lunch or to meet a friend near downtown.

From their website:

Pugzie’s was established and opened for business on Sept. 23, 1981.
Two sisters, Lynn Pugliano and Lisa Pugliano-Wright, with the help of their parents, converted a service station owned by their father into the original sandwich shop. The restaurant was named “Pugzie’s” as a shortened version of their last name. The toucan bird was selected as a logo of their tropical garden atmosphere. Their goal was to provide fresh, healthy lunches with friendly, fast service.
After 13 years of continued growth and 3 expansions on the original building, there was no room left to expand. A 12,000 sq. ft. office complex adjacent to their property was purchased and 6,000 sq. ft. was remodeled into a new restaurant with inside seating for 282 people. They also added a drive-up window for phone and fax orders and a beautiful courtyard for outdoor eating. The original restaurant was torn down and converted to customer parking for the new building.
Lynn and Lisa, along with Lisa’s daughter Gina and several original employees, recently celebrated their 26th year in business.

First Fridays keep on changing

Artlink Phoenix hosts an artwalk known as First Fridays in Downtown Phoenix. According to the Wikipedia Article:

Since 1994 the monthly First Fridays artwalk has grown to become the largest monthly artwalk in the United States. Increasing interest in this area has prompted Rooselvelt Row to becoming more pedestrian-friendly and is supportive of small local independent businesses that give downtown Phoenix character.

That is an uncited bit, so I have a sneaking suspicion it was placed by a promoter. I have attended First Fridays a couple of times, each time concentrating on a different area of downtown. When I first started going last year, there was a map available online. Now you have to find one at a downtown business. I think Burton Barr has them. Now I mainly stick to Roosevelt Row.
There has been a lot of controversy in the last couple of years, and that has affected the feel of the event. Phoenix Metblog Author pho_william spoke about his experience here. I have observed the changes from the controversies myself.

The first time I went, it was like a big street fair. I loved it. Crowds, vendors, art and fun! I contrast this to when I went on the 4th of July and there is a significant change. During July’s artwalk, you could barely tell there was an event going on. People were there, but they tended to attend just one little area, gallery, or concert and stay. It might have been the heat, but it the first time I went it was warm too.

The Phoenix New Times has covered the issues with the street vendors.

The reason The Bird and others gravitate to Roosevelt on First Fridays is for the very libertine, Fellini-esque atmosphere that the Esser-Delgado axis wants to kill, not to ogle the pricey baubles at Esser and partner Cindy Dach’s boutique, MADE.

I have to agree with that. On the plus side, the galleries and performance spaces are still awesome. This Friday I will be at The Firehouse. They have frequent shows, a coffee house and a performance space. I will be there to see good friends, who are also fire spinners, do their second performance as Sin Aesthesia. I would love to see you there, and you will be hearing more from me.

Sin Aesthesia at The Firehouse

Sin Aesthesia at The Firehouse

Sonoma Coffee Cafe

I’m back! Because I’ve been out of town so much recently I haven’t had much time to post anything. But I’m back for the summer so I’ll try to pick up the publishing pace.

I went to a Diamondbacks game with a friend of mine last week and checked out the Sonoma Coffee Cafe downtown (corner of Van Buren and 1st Street). Now I am not a coffee drinker or even a fan of coffee cafes but I had a few great reasons to like the place. First – with a decent selection of microbrews on tap it’s just as much a bar as it is a coffee shop . And right before a ballgame it’s a much more chill place than most other bars around the ballpark.

But most importantly, there is secret free parking in a garage right next door. Unfortunately you’ll have to find that on your own (but it isn’t that difficult). We did however, pay for a pedicab down to Chase field. But even that was less expensive than parking near the park.

The beer prices were comparable to anywhere else downtown if you’re not counting domestic bottles served from a trough. And although I’m no connoisseur my friend Jason believed the coffee selection and prices to be about the same as Starbucks.

I spoke with the owner briefly and they have other coffee franchises under construction in Scottsdale and California.

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