West End in Dallas - When Godzilla welcomed visitors to Planet Hollywood and a day full of divisions could be found inside the West End Marketplace. But it was a ghost town when I visited in 2006. Oklahoman archives.
Today’s Main Street column has me thinking back to the West End – back when it was in its glory days.
Some would say it peaked with the opening of a Planet Hollywood, but I’m not too sure of that. I may be biased toward the early 1990s. I had just graduated from college and I always had a place to crash in Dallas thank to an old college buddy who had done well enough in advertising to afford a condo with a guest bedroom.
On any given weekend spring through early fall, it seemed as if a group of us could drive down from Oklahoma City and enjoy a free outdoor concert in front of the West End Marketplace.
As Chuck Davis noted in 1989 (read today’s column), West End had plenty of restaurants and clubs. I always liked the way the neon Dallas Alley hung between the giant brick warehouses, marking the entry into the club section.
But I also loved the geeky diversions – the 3D art gallery, the fudge shop where production of the treats doubled as entertainment, and of course, the miniature golf course and arcade.
The Marketplace closed two years ago. The West End Association had to lay off all of its staff a year ago – another sign of the district’s continued decline.
It’s difficult not to look at West End when discussing the long term prospects for Bricktown. Afterall, the Dallas entertainment district in many ways has the same feel – the same look – as Bricktown. And the district was an inspiration to early Bricktown developers.
West End – both its past glory and current decline – is mentioned a lot by Bricktown merchants who worry about escalating property values and continued disagreements over pricing of the district’s parking. City leaders have reacted by hiring consultants to look at everything from parking to long range planning.
But let’s go beyond these comparisons …
Bricktown is thriving, and it does boast a lot of attractions that easily top anything that anchored West End in its glory days. Sure, West End had a Planet Hollywood. But Bricktown has the canal and ballpark.
I’m still struck by the sights and sounds of almost 20 years ago. So I’m wondering – is the Bricktown we know today better than the West End I remember? What do you think?