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Old 04-08-2008, 07:30 PM
 
1,764 posts, read 3,853,269 times
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For me, it was the NCAA basketball tournament, back in '83.

I was in my third year @ N.C. State, and our Wolfpack had made the final four, which that year was being played in Albuquerque. It had been an amazing journey to date, winning the ACC tournament, and getting a last minute slot at the NCAA's.

It was the first year of the 3-point shot, and we had three amazing outside shooters: Terry Gannon, Sidney Lowe and Derrick Whittenberg. We were the Cinderella team - kind of like Davidson was this year. Except that we kept winning our games last minute, or in overtime, or even double overtime. It was amazing, and after every victory, the parties on campus just got bigger & bigger. Pretty soon they started trying to keep us on the campus brickyard, and off the streets of Raleigh.

We made the championship game, and were playing the Houston Cougars, also know as Phi Slamma Jamma. With Akeem Olajuwan, and Clyde "the Glide" Drexler. Their coach said the team with the most slams would win, and they really believed it would be a rout. But the Wolfpack peppered them from the outside with three pointers, and in the end, they were forced to play our game. At 52-52, with two seconds left, for the first time that night, Akeem Olajuwan was caught well outside of position, and Lorenzo Charles caught an airball thrown by Derrick Whittenberg, and slammed it home for the victory. The second NC State slam of the night, vs. Houston's 1. The team with the most slams did win.

Back at NC State, about 5000-6000 students were lining Hillsborough Blvd, and we had begun chanting "We want the street, we want the street." The chant was getting louder, and the 30 or so cops lining the street were facing the inevitable. I remember seeing one or two guys break for the street, then 20, then 50, and then the street was ours. The party went on until about 6am. This was back in the days when the drinking age was 18...back during the kindler and gentler days of the 80's, before the phrase "kindler & gentler" had even been invented. The cops on the street? They were more or less partying with us, without the alcohol, of course! Everybody was ecstatic.

Back in Albuquerque, Jimmy Valvano [our coach] had probably reached the pinnacle of everything he had ever hoped for. N.C. State was in love with Albuquerque, Albuquerque was in love with the Wolfpack, and everybody was in love with Jimmy Valvano. He was shmoozing with the press like no one had ever done before. I remember him telling the press he loved Albuquerque so much, he would name his next son Al B. Querque. No joke.

So that is my first moment of enchantment with this amazing and beautiful city. There were many more "moments" to come, but this was the first. And strangely, here I am as a resident, 20 years later.
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
No one ever speaks about it, it's never in the news, no one has been there.. that's just the impression midwesterners have.
Yep. Even the "national news" that New Mexicans believe they've made (especially in Albuquerque), it rarely is ACTUALLY national news. The Runaway Bride? I would guess most don't realize she was actually picked up in ABQ outside of the Southwest.

In the Midwest, the "sexy" states to go to, vacation in, talk yearnfully about relocating to, etc., are Colorado and Arizona. That's it. People always gab on here about moving to Denver, Fort Collins, or just generic "Colorado".

Personally, I never get quite why, as usually these disgruntled midwesterners are trying to flock from cold / snow, and I have got news for them - they aren't going to get anywhere in CO. They'll often point out "sure, it is cold there too in winter, but it is much sunnier and much drier"...ummm, yeah, but is it worth relo'ing half-way across the nation - when your motive is fleeing from harsh winter weather - to a place that can commonly see crazy blizzards in October through late April?

"Arizona" (translated to midwesterners: Phoenix [or suburbs] or Tucson or MAYBE Sedona)...with the exception of the ultra-expensive latter, do they realize they are trading in 7 months of winter for 7 months of long, blistering hot summer?

My point here isn't actually to bash or put down CO or AZ. Both states have their tremendously great qualities. I have a huge amount of family in Denver and I would easily live in Tucson. But my point is this: it is true, CO, AZ, (and even now Nevada) are the "sexy" relo spots in the West / Southwest, and they have been for some time for Midwesterners (and other northern transplants). Meanwhile, NM continues to - (now mind you, Albuquerque/Rio Rancho and even Las Cruces are rapidly growing in their own right) - really "lag" behind in terms of flockings-to from Midwesterners.

Why is that? Well, part of it is of course that AZ has PHX / Tucson, CO has DEN, NV has Las Vegas / Reno, etc. So things like big city draws and pro sports, etc., adds exposure that NM doesn't have.

Furthermore, I think as dominos fall, the "word of mouth" factor really takes hold. As we see so commonly in the Midwest, people here REALLY don't like to leave their friends/family/social-safety net of the Midwest. Thus, for the real cooks like us that actually do (and say, move to Phoenix), you can bet your bottom dollar that the next cook is going to move somewhere where they can still have semi-semblance of a social safety net - following their kind to the same area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
I wonder why? We hear so much about every other state. Why do we hear so little about NM? I put NM in the same boat as Utah, Vermont, New Hampshire and perhaps a few others. Those states that you never hear about and that you never think about moving to.
Yep, I would agree with you - in the Midwest, these states would be way up there. Maybe lump in states like Montana, Idaho, Wyoming; maybe some plains states like Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma. But the ironic thing is that most of those states don't have a city nearly as large as the MSA of Albuquerque metro (850K) or as prominent nationally as Santa Fe; I am serious, I think half of the folks in this area think Santa Fe is in Arizona.

There is even a prominent car commercial going on TV right now where a car stuck in a cold, northern, snowy snow-bound parking lot (belonging to a business traveler) and in the car is the pamphlet of said business traveler - it shows "Santa Fe" and has an accompanying photo of huge saguaro cacti. I roll my eyes yet again, as the only "known" national New Mexican commodity - SF - is again pictured as it belongs where Scottsdale currently sits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
But if someone asked me 6 months ago what is the first thing I think about when someone says Albuquerque, I would say brown and hot and boring. I have no facts to back that up. No hearsay to back it up... nothing. That is just the impression I have without every visiting or hearing about it.

I have no idea why I feel that way. I think the national impression of NM and ABQ in general is brown, hot and boring (for those people who haven't visited and don't know anyone that has).
Well, hey, at least 6 months ago (from your point of seriously considering relo), you HAD a perception of ABQ - even if it was a false one!

Honest to goodness - and I am being completely serious - I think I am at least a semi-intelligent fellow...intelligent enough to get through 4 years of college successfully, etc. And I have always had at least a semi-keen interest in geography, always knew state capitols, etc.

However, when I struck up my interest in New Mexico (based upon that aforementioned interest I had sparked by...yep...Arizona and Colorado...) and was especially interested by the big city in the middle of the state (which I always observed on the Weather Channel has having just fantastic weather) - Albuquerque - I had ZERO perception of Albuquerque. None. Nada. Zero. Zip. Well, maybe one...I thought it would be a lot weather-wise like Phoenix since it wasn't too far north of Phoenix.

Seriously. I guess even though I watched Bugs Bunny as a kid, I didn't even remember his "Albuquerque" references (didn't know about this until well after I moved to ABQ). I didn't know about any balloon fests. I did watch a ton of COPS episodes, but I guess I never paid attention to them filming often in ABQ (which they did because the producers liked the weather so much - not because of it being any better or worse crime-wise than any other big city they went to).

It started by me one day asking my wife's aunt from Denver "hey, do you ever get down to that state below you? That New Mexico place? You do occasionally? What is that city Albuquerque like? What is that city Santa Fe like?"

Then, I started to research and research and the more I knew, the more I was fascinated more and more so.

So I give you credit, jrod, for at least having SOME perception! I had none at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
So my question is why? With a dry mild climate and mountains and so much to brag about,
Believe me. For months and months...every time we drove somewhere in ABQ and saw the vistas / the mountains, etc., or a spectacular sunrise / sunset, etc., or enjoyed the 350 days of pleasant outdoor weather per year, I asked my wife the exact same thing - why oh why oh why wouldn't people be flocking here???! Why go and spend 3-times as much money to live in brutally hot Phoenix versus nearly-perfect weather'd, perfect-sized, good-cost of living ABQ? WHY?!! Still doesn't make sense to me why ABQ is such a nationally hidden gem / secret (even though over the past 10 years - and especially 5 - that has been changing rapidly)...but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
why doesn't ABQ and NM try to create a more colorful fun public image? I understand the ABQans want to stay small and keep their paradise a paradise.. but the fact is that growing is a part of evolution and if you aren't evolving you are dying off (see Detroit).
I think you'll understand this / get this the longer you have spent time in ABQ.

Truth-be-told, Gov. Richardson (I am not a huge fan of his politics but certainly think I can be objective here), has done a lot of hard work towards this end. So has the Dept of Tourism, etc. HOWEVER...

ABQ is going to grow no matter what it does or doesn't do. In this information age, it is just inevitable. The snowball is already rolling down the hill (population is rapidly growing)...there won't be any stopping it any time soon here in this prime piece of the Sunbelt.

Yet, there is this big part of NM and ABQ that just wouldn't be NM and ABQ if it kind of wh*r*d itself to the US general populace like Phoenix / LA did, etc. And again, I am not ripping Phoenix as I could live there if I had to, but Phoenix's history was that it TRIED so hard to get big. ABQ didn't. And if you ever end up living in ABQ, you'll be glad that it didn't.

ABQ and NM are still so unique, so individual, so cool in their own ways. It is so nice that it is still there. And part of the charm is that when NM tries to appeal nationally, it does so sometimes kind of in a clumsy way. Then it reels itself in again. Unlike most areas / states, the area / state isn't the one that goes out and sells itself to the general populace (say, like Vegas or Phoenix do); the opposite is the truth - it takes a keen, astute, researching type to CHOOSE New Mexico or Albuquerque. And with a state filled with either locals or those that chose NM / ABQ, it makes the experience all that much more worthwhile.

I do disagree somewhat with the "grow or die" thing RE: Detroit. There are many examples of "grow too much and die" too, like what Phoenix and LA are teetering closer and closer to. Sure, you've got a Detroit or a Buffalo, but you also have so many bastions of stability that don't grow by leaps and bounds, but they remain stable / constant / rocks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
It just sounds like NM and ABQ could be not only great vacation spots but also great places to live. And as our economy gets more global it is becoming easier and easier to pick up and move. I think a lot of money is coming from the NE and MW to the south. If I was NM and ABQ I'd try to take advantage of that. I know too much growth too fast is bad but sustained and healthy growth and tourist dollars are always a good thing.
I admire your enthusiasm and entrepenurial spirit here jrod and I totally get where you are coming from. Probably in 2003, I would've said much the same thing. And frankly, tourism-wise / vacation wise, I actually agree that ABQ needs to do more. However, again - maybe it is because towns like Phoenix and Dallas are so near and dear to so many Albuquerqueans - I think there is this real almost fear of growing like a PHX or a DFW...becoming huge, sprawling, REAL crime filled, polluted masses - with a complete lack of the character, flavor, culture, etc., that make ABQ so much of what is ABQ.

I really truly don't feel that ABQ is anti-progress or anti-growth. As much as I differ with Mayor Martin Chavez on some issues, I admire his pro-growth initiatives in ABQ. Same again with Gov. Richardson. ABQ realizes it is going to grow whether the citizens like it or not. But I think they respect that with the huge influx without even a mass "sell" to the US public, they'd better have their own internal stuff in order (eg: infrastructure / roads / water, etc.) to justify additional growth.

I use one example: Albuquerque has very restricted watering governance. The local government really doesn't want wasteful watering practices and uses law / guidances to govern that. Water is treated as a respected resource in ABQ because, well, especially with the growth in the desert - it is! Tucson, AZ - a city of nearly the same size - treats water similarly. Yet, Phoenix, a massive 4+ million metro with brutally hot, dry, long summers, often treats water usage like sand usage - that it is an unlimited resource, one that flow freely as milk and honey. Is that sustainable for the long-term in a huge (and still growing) desert metro? I guess we'll see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod2828 View Post
Anyways, EnjoyEP your point about never hearing about NM and that it seemed like a foreign country that no one spoke of, really struck a cord with me. That is the exact same thought I had when my wife and I were researching places with good temps and came across this odd place called New Mexico.
Yep jrod, it seems like you and your wife are in a very similar spot to where my wife and I were in 2003. I really wish you guys the best of luck. ABQ isn't for everyone (thankfully), but for those that it IS for, it is a darn good spot - and remember, if you fall into that latter category, you'll be darn happy that YOU joined the others that researched, chose and found ABQ, rather than being led almost like a blind sheep to where "everyone else goes"!

You'll also learn like I did: "Viva Albuquerque!"
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Chihuahuan Desert
2,575 posts, read 5,229,131 times
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Hey Tim, your post above was most timely....they started talking about this particular game at lunch today (at work), and I was able to follow along and even comment intelligently - thanks!
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregW View Post
sometime it is just easier to quote yourself from a couple of days ago:
[/color]
GregW, actually it was in reading your earlier post and another mentioning the same kind of moment that had me wanting to post this thread. Your original post really struck a chord with me because we had both been there, in White Sands in the morning figuring it just can't get much better than this. Thanks for the inspiration! Enjoy some rep.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnjoyEP View Post
There is even a prominent car commercial going on TV right now where a car stuck in a cold, northern, snowy snow-bound parking lot (belonging to a business traveler) and in the car is the pamphlet of said business traveler - it shows "Santa Fe" and has an accompanying photo of huge saguaro cacti. I roll my eyes yet again, as the only "known" national New Mexican commodity - SF - is again pictured as it belongs where Scottsdale currently sits.
You'll also learn like I did: "Viva Albuquerque!"
Great post, EnjoyEP. Just thought I'd kill a myth while I had a chance. There are no saguaro's in New Mexico. They're in the Sonoran desert, found in Arizona, Mexico and South/Baja California.

A while back Bill Richardson had an outside firm create an advertising campaign that featured saguaro's in a cartoon southwestern landscape. There was a huge local backlash.

You mentioned Sedona. I always thought it was an American Indian name. It was actually the name of one of the settler's granddaughters.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Originally Posted by ziaAirmac View Post
Great post, EnjoyEP. Just thought I'd kill a myth while I had a chance. There are no saguaro's in New Mexico. They're in the Sonoran desert, found in Arizona, Mexico and South/Baja California.
Thanks zia!!

On that whole saguaro thing, you are totally correct - saguaros are native to the Sonoran desert - as you say, low Arizona, Mexico, and South/Baja Cali. Albuquerque (and much of central-through-southern NM) is in the Chihuahuan Desert (ABQ generally considered at the far northern-most point of the Chihuahuan) and that desert, a higher altitude desert (which also includes Las Cruces, El Paso, etc.) is where saguaros are certainly not native.

However (as a bit of a NM cacti-geek), believe it or not, there are at least a decent amount of saguaros now in New Mexico, living and thriving. Of course, these saguaros were TRANSPLANTED (sort of like the commonly grown "palm" yuccas [yucca faxonia] you see used in ABQ cultivation...they were actually native to West Texas, not NM) and again, not native, but you'll find them semi-commonly thriving and doing pretty well.

Common areas that you'll find saguaros in yards is certainly the Las Cruces area where you'll find a decent amount (actually a startling fairly high number in El Paso, TX) but even some scattered ones in places like Deming, Truth or Consequences, etc.

Even in Albuquerque, I found 2 saguaros growing (that were both there for over 10 years and doing extremely well) - the "infamous" one is the one in a yard near 2nd and Rio Bravo - over 15 feet tall - which has been there for years and just chugs along doing well. There is another one I saw in the NE Heights around Commanche and San Mateo in a front yard - old, but only about 5 feet tall - the owners will throw a thick blanket over it during nights where a freeze is expected.

So you WILL find saguaros in New Mexico...but zia's point is well taken...they certainly are not native of the area and shouldn't be used as a symbol whatsoever, as that is Phoenix / Tucson - hotter lower deserts - not NM (and surely not Santa Fe, where a saguaro would have zip chance of surviving even a month of a winter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ziaAirmac View Post
A while back Bill Richardson had an outside firm create an advertising campaign that featured saguaro's in a cartoon southwestern landscape. There was a huge local backlash.
I remember that! Too funny. Also, wasn't there a recent Balloon Fiesta official poster that pictured saguaros dotting the ABQ desert landscape?? Also created a bit of a stir!
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Saguaros in a Balloon Fiesta poster?! Classic. I missed that one. Thanks for the trivia.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
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Really liked your post, EnjoyEP. Though I've never lived in Duke City, I've visited several times and love it. Never understood why ABQ never became the "it" place to move to like Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, South Florida, Asheville NC, etc., have become over the years.

That's not meant as a knock on those places, just sheer wonderment why Albuquerque is not considered in the same league for most people. In fact, many turn their noses up at it even though they might admit to liking Santa Fe. (Isn't there a famous anti-Albuquerque quote in the novel "The Right Stuff"?) Though, like you, I'm sort of glad people do think negatively of it because it can remain a nice, little secret that much longer.

In some ways, it's the perfect place in terms of what people say they want in a city:

1) With around 800,000 in the metro area, it's big enough to have most of what one would need

2) But it's small enough to still be somewhat manageable

3) It has bear perfect weather with none of the (admittedly enjoyable) monotony of Hawaii or Southern California yet also having little humidity and not a ton of snow most of the year while still getting a sense of four seasons.

4) Less risk for major natural disasters with no tornadoes or hurricanes and, compared to other Western states from what I've read, less risk of earthquakes as well.

5) A unique culture that isn't replicated anywhere else.

6) Gorgeous setting even if the mini-mall-lined streets don't always take the best advantage of it.

7) Relatively low cost of living

8) Access to all sorts of phenomenal recreational opportunities in winter and summer.

Granted, I know the issues some have with the area. They're well documented on this board: fear of crime; the public schools; low wages; no pro sports, etc. But these are issues that many of the other cities have as well yet many of them still manage to capture public fascination, even if only briefly.

As much as I like Albuquerque, I'm not sure I'd be totally happy there as I really like big cities and what they offer. But since so many people -- just judging from the comments on city-data -- don't want a big city, Albuquerque would seem to offer what they're looking for. Maybe there needs to be a CSI: ABQ. Hey, it worked for Miami in the 80s with Miami Vice and South Beach boomed. But, then again, that's probably exactly what most of you don't want.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
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Hey, it worked for Miami in the 80s with Miami Vice and South Beach boomed. But, then again, that's probably exactly what most of you don't want.
Equally very nice post TrueDat - thanks for it!!

Yeah, I have never been an ornary old coot that is anti-growth (at least I never thought so), however, I - along with many lovers of ABQ or residents - shudder at the notion of ABQ growing to where a Miami or a Phoenix has. It would kill the city for many of us. Driving up housing costs (making it as unaffordable housing-wise as many other sexy big cities now are), cramming in ultra-traffic congestion and pollution, etc.

I don't mind a city of a metro 1.7 million-ish like Milwaukee is where I am now. But not much bigger. There are enough Phoenix's, DFW's, Miami's, etc., and surely they serve a major purpose / role for many in the US. However, for those that like less traffic / commute times and actually wish to be afford a house with a yard, etc., ABQ is a perfect size.
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Chihuahuan Desert
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You'd be surprised where you can find saguaros these days.....largest one I've seen (easily over 20') was in my neighbor's yard in Tampa. And the biggest prickly pear was also in Tampa - looked like a tree! People bring back the little cactus gardens from visits out here and toss them out in the yard. With the FL sandy soil, dry winters and rainy season in the summer, they explode. Too cool.

I didn't have a moment of enchantment that convinced me to move here. I came, I saw, I liked well enough, and figured if I got a job beforehand, that would decide the city. ABQ came thru, so I moved. But now that I'm here, almost every day has a moment of enchantment. It's the sound of the wind in the trees. It's the quiet before snowfall. It's how everyday sounds are so much softer in the higher altitude, so I can hear the birds over everything. It's how somedays the Sandias are covered in powdered sugar, and other days it looks like freezer burn up there. Or how the hedge at my house grew two feet overnight after a few hours of rain (I swear it did!). It's seeing all the people walking and biking and enjoying where they live. It's taking a couple of minutes every morning to laugh at the prairie dogs in the village at the park 'n ride, on my way to work. It's stopping for a few minutes at night to enjoy the view of the city lights (I never tire of that view). Every day brings something new, and if it doesn't, it's because I didn't take the time to look or listen.

Yeah, I'm hooked.
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