Monday, March 02, 2009

10 Things I Love About Memphis

As we wrap up our “10 Things I Like About Memphis,” thanks to all of you who sent in your personal lists. Tomorrow, we get back to our regular blogging here, but we always invite you to send in a list whenever you feel a burst of civic pride.

From Mike Carpenter:

Here are 10, but could easily do more:

1. Our Civil Rights heritage
2. Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
3. The Orpheum
4. Shelby Farms now and what it will be
5. The Wolf River
6. Memphis International Airport
7. Amenities of a large city, but I still know someone almost everywhere I go
8. 8th Best City in America to make movies and film
9. Memphis music of yesterday and today
10. Our yet unrealized potential to be one of the greatest cities in America -- herein lies the hope

From B:

1. The fact that I-40 stops at Overton Park. Someone once rolled down their window at Broad and Parkway and said, "Excuse me, could you tell me where the interstate went?"
2. The Zoo
3. Overton Park
4. The River
5. Shelby Farms
6. Downtown revival
7. Local musicians
8. Midtown
9. The weather
10. Memphis Roller Derby
11. Memphis films and filmmakers
12. Museums - They're all great
13. BBQ, especially Central, Neely's and Cozy Corner
14. Live at the Gardens
15. The Memphis Symphony

From Smart City Memphis:

1. Smelling creativity, as well as seeing it, at Memphis College of Art
2. The Judaica Collection at Temple Israel
3. The bands of my sons-in-law, Matt Timberlake’s Rind Stars and Jeremy Shrader’s Memphis Hepcats
4. Eating lunch on a weekday on Beale Street
5. Getting a hug from Suhair Lauck with the food at her downtown landmark, Little Tea Shop
6. Knowing there’s great catfish filets within easy reach regardless of where we are
7. Looking north up the river atop The Pyramid
8. The one-of-a-kind sunset every night over the Mississippi River
9. Standing in front of Martin Luther King’s room at the Lorraine Motel, now National Civil Rights Museum
10. WEVL, especially Wednesday
11. Eating lunch with my daughter Adrienne downtown anywhere
12. The hidden gem that is National Ornamental Metal Museum
13. Projects of the UrbanArt Commission
14. Eating at a restaurant in a traditionally African-American neighborhood
15. The sassy waitresses at Saigon Le
16. Paintings by Freida Hamm
17. Jim Dickinson
18. Rhodes College architecture
19. The many young people determined to change things by having the right conversations about the future
20. Martyrs Park
21. Outsiders who continue to find this place home
22. Elvis Presley’s cars at Graceland
23. The brilliant Ben Shahn’s mosaic mural at Lemoyne-Owen College
24. The First Tennessee Heritage Collection with those remarkable Ted Faiers
25. Bridges
26. Living in a city of second chances.

And we’re just getting started…


Santo said...

Thanks for giving so much time to this dialogue. It has been very encouraging. We started the Live Where You Live campaign in part out of frustration with the tired, but overwhelming negativity that pervades here. So this concentration of positivity has been refreshing. I recognize now that affection for Memphis not rare -- and it’s not only there when we ask for it. Memphians love Memphis all the time. And even those who complain loudly often do so only because they are so affected by what is wrong with the place they love. We’re just hoping that when we face challenges, rather than letting negativity take over, we focus on why Memphis is worth fighting for.

On Saturday I took my daughter to a friend’s birthday party at the Happy Mexican restaurant near South Main. While she played with friends from her class at Downtown Elementary (which should have been on my list), I chatted with a few of the other dads. Unprompted, the conversation turned to the virtues of Memphis: diversity (we were white, black, and Indian), authenticity, friendliness, etc. All of us in the conversation had spent significant parts of our lives in other places – New Delhi, New York, Richmond, Portland, etc. – but none of us had ever felt more at home than we do in Memphis.

If anyone wants to share more, please check out Live Where You Live (go to and click on the icon in the upper left) or join our Facebook group.


Emily said...

Love these lists.