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Old 03-04-2020, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
6,528 posts, read 9,668,658 times
Reputation: 5106

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So I am in Albuquerque for the week for job training, I live in Indiana, and I have never visited the south-west. All I knew about Albuquerque was its location and what I have seen in "Breaking Bad". I'll share a short list of my impression and thoughts on the city and partially the state. I understand many of my viewpoints may be somewhat short sighted as I am only visiting, and it's on a business trip so I have not had a lot of time to actually tour the city.


- Landing in Albuquerque International airport sure was a major change of scenery from anything out east. The mountains, the clear air, seeing for dozens of miles in every direction was amazing. The airport was very well designed, it felt modern, and very appropriate for the city and its history and culture, paying homage in various ways.
- Driving around the city I quickly noticed it was much larger than I had first thought. It's a sprawling city, but it seems to have all the nuts and bolts of a much larger city. Perhaps because it's the only major city in the state? And correct me if I'm wrong, but it's the largest city between ElPaso and Phoenix?
- The roads seemed to be in much better shape than roads I'm used to driving on in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

- On the subject of roads I noticed a plethora of bike lanes in various parts of the city, and well established trails and pedestrian friendly sidewalks. This is something that can be sorely lacking in many Midwestern cities. Already the attention to cyclist and pedestrians made Albuquerque feel more progressive than the Midwest.
- Going through stores I saw very few plastic bags. In fact most stores only offered paper bags, and many customers were bringing in their own reusable bags. Is there a plastic bag ban? Or a plastic bag tax? Either way, I'm a huge fan of that and wish that would spread to more cities.
- I knew before hand that New Mexico has the highest Latino population of any state in the country, but there is real diversity here, not just white and Hispanic, but African American, middle eastern, and a lot of mixed races. English still seemed to be the dominant language in most areas I visited.
- The architecture of the city and its buildings is one complete and coherent artwork. It seems every building is in the tan or brown pueblo design, even the high rises downtown! It's a testament to how committed the locals are to showing their history, in my opinion. However, it did cross my mind that an off color high rise in downtown would get a LOT of attention. Could you imagine a white skyscraper? Or a green or all glass building? It would be one of a kind. Part of me was a little disappointed not to see any diversity in the buildings.


I'm going to move onto a few things that I was a little unsure how to take, and some things that felt a little more negative and downtrodden.


- The city seems to have well established shopping centers, some of them very high end and ritzy. However, from what I have read about New Mexico, and the city itself, wages in the area are very depressed overall, 48th in per capita income on the state level. I was not able or really interested in viewing the poorer areas, but it struck me that there may be a serious divide in classes and wealth in and around the city.
- I took an Uber to most places. Most of my Uber drivers were friendly, and most of them were foreign born immigrants. One was from the Middle East, he had moved here from St. Paul Minnesota, he complained multiple times that the city was very poor and he was unable to start his business here, he had plans to move to Denver. I'm not sure what his business was, I didn't press on it.
- I really wanted to visit a Cafe in the downtown area, I found one on Central Avenue NW. Knowing nothing about the area I hailed an Uber and he dropped me off without finding the correct address, saying I would be able to search for it myself. Well I walked up and down Central Avenue around the 500-700 block a few times, and the best way I could describe it would be aggressively Hipster and borderline shady at 5PM in the afternoon. I saw a decent amount of activity, and a mix of people, but most of these people seemed a little rougher, a little less kind. It's hard to describe the feeling I felt, but it was a tense feeling. I was mocked by two young 20 something men walking down the sidewalk for trying to navigate on my phone, a loud car with loud music blaring had two men shout an unintelligible obscenity at me, the people hanging out on the sidewalk were mostly smoking and shot me unfriendly stares and did not try to move when I had to squeeze through a group of them hanging out in front of a brewery.


I finally found my cafe, and it was a diamond in the rough, excellent service, a kind of insulated paradise surrounded by night clubs and shady looking massage parlors with a mix of empty and somewhat repurposed buildings.



I'm curious, what's the take on the Central Avenue district? It seemed like the farther away I walked the better it got, until I reached the Central Business District, and it was 6pm, it felt like a Ghost Town in that area.


Anyway, I'll try to sum this up. I am an avid jogger, and recently ran on the treadmill here in the gym.
My hometown is about 700 feet above sea level, the thin air here is a real thing, did not realize how much it affected me until I began to run! What a difference it makes, I was out of breath way earlier.


My final impressions of the city and the area. It's very beautiful, very remote, and nature seems to be a great thing that the city and the surrounding area especially offer. The mountains especially, the clean and clear air. It feels like the city is continuing to grow in all areas, I saw a lot of new buildings, and some new construction going up as well, so people must be continuing to move here in healthy numbers. I did wonder what crime is like in the city. How dangerous it is perceived to be, and what a local's take on it is. I come from a city that has a very negative reputation when it comes to crime and safety, however many locals that live in the city of South Bend realize that most of the stories are blown out of proportion and that most criminal activity and violent offenses are criminal on criminal and gang member on gang member offenses, very rarely are random people caught in the mix. I would venture to say most cities in the U.S are that way.


I would love to come back and visit Albuquerque for 4-5 days with no work, and just spend my days crawling through Old Town, the SawMill district, and perhaps riding the tram to the top of the mountain. I'm a little disappointed I didn't have more time to visit and venture out, but I enjoyed seeing what I did. You truly have a very unique city and setting. I've never visited a city quite like Albuquerque and I don't think I will see one anywhere close. Thanks for reading my post!
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
1,663 posts, read 1,948,598 times
Reputation: 2295
There's only one massage parlor on Central Avenue downtown and it is not seedy at all. It's not a place for happy endings. It's a legitimate place for massages and has been there for years. Albuquerque is in the Southwest, an area of the country into new age and holistic healing such as Yoga, therapeutic massage, etc.

Downtown Albuquerque is undergoing its biggest resurgence ever and is in the middle of a massive transformation. That area on the west end of Downtown Albuquerque around 8th and Central has indie art galleries galore, restaurants, bars, vintage shops, tattoo parlors and various other hipster-type establishments.

The $25 million boutique Arrive Hotel project is soon to start at the old Hotel Blue at 8th and Central and various new establishments are getting ready to open nearby, including Modities vintage furniture shop and Oni Noodles ramen restaurant.

Downtown Albuquerque is like any other downtown in a bigger city, it has homeless people, vagrants, young punks, shady characters, occasional outbursts of violence, etc. And just like any other downtown area in a bigger city it has lots of stuff and establishments that are not anything like that. It has ultra chic areas and uber hip establishments like the Ibiza lounge located in the luxurious Hotel Andaluz.

The 505 Central food hall is under construction at 5th and Central and a new project has just been revealed to be going into the old Kress Building.

On the eastern end of Central Avenue downtown the One Central development is adding restaurants and entertainment facilities, including BATL, an ax-throwing franchise that so far is only located in much bigger cities than Albuquerque. The $25 million Hilton Garden Inn/Homewood Suites hotel is also going up at the eastern gateway to Downtown Albuquerque at Broadway and Central.

Downtown Albuquerque has tons of nice restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries, etc. What was the name of the cafe you went to?


As for what your Uber driver told you, Phoenix is actually the place that most people from Albuquerque move to for better opportunities, Denver is a distant second. But then people from those areas move to Albuquerque as well. Overall, though, it's a very small percentage, we're talking hundreds in net gain for Phoenix and Denver from Albuquerque over the last few years. Below is a quote from a post I made a few years back in another thread where someone from Denver was trying to gloat over the supposed exodus of people from Albuquerque to Denver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQalex View Post
Below are the exact numbers of people moving between the Denver and Phoenix metros and the Albuquerque metro from 2011-2015. All are directly from the Census Bureau as well:

Albuquerque to Denver - 1,258

Denver to Albuquerque - 1,102

That's a net Denver gain of a whopping 156 people!

Albuquerque to Phoenix - 1,880

Phoenix to Albuquerque - 1,433

That's a net Phoenix gain of 447, which is indeed bigger than Denver's gain from Albuquerque. So I guess Phoenix is the close, bigger city that attracts Albuquerqueans rather than Denver. It gains a whopping 291 more people from Albuquerque than Denver does. LOL!

Source: https://flowsmapper.geo.census.gov/map.html
Keep in mind that these numbers were for 2011-2015, which encompassed the worst years of our local recession, yet the numbers still aren't outrageous. Again, we're talking about less than 600 people here that we lost to Phoenix and Denver in those years.

The Census now has numbers going up to 2017, so I'll have to come up with the updated numbers now that Albuquerque has improved economically, since about 2014.

Albuquerque and New Mexico's economic fortunes are improving and we're well on our way to an economic boom. Thousands of new well-paying jobs at places like Sandia National Labs and Intel are keeping people here and enticing newcomers.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Old Town
1,975 posts, read 3,460,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQalex View Post
There's only one massage parlor on Central Avenue downtown and it is not seedy at all. It's not a place for happy endings. It's a legitimate place for massages and has been there for years. Albuquerque is in the Southwest, an area of the country into new age and holistic healing such as Yoga, therapeutic massage, etc.
This is correct. I work in Downtown, just a couple of blocks from Downtown Foot Massage. I have been there several times and well as most of my coworkers. They are of Chinese decent that run a legitimate massage business.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:45 PM
 
3,593 posts, read 5,251,096 times
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Yes, Albuquerque recently placed a ban on single-use plastic bags, that's why you saw people with their own bags or stores using paper bags.

I'm a runner and this city is one of the best for running. People come here to train from all over the world because of the altitude and excellent weather year-round. It is seldom too cold to run in winter, and summer mornings are beautiful in the 60s-70s. Almost always dry. You would quickly adjust to the altitude after another week or so.

Do come back to explore more, there is much more to see in the city and within an hour's drive from here. I moved here 30 years ago from the East and still find it endlessly fascinating. I don't know any city that has the varieties of landscapes (mountains, volcanoes, mesas, a river with a cottonwood bosque) that also incorporates recreation so well. And if you want snow, you can have it in the mountains without it disrupting life in the city.

Also explore other cities in the region, they are all worth the time and will help you understand why people enjoy the Southwest.
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:08 AM
 
Location: The High Desert
8,588 posts, read 4,710,923 times
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I moved here from the Midwest and discovered the desert, mountains, the unique cultural blend, SW history and architecture. Very seductive.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:52 PM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
26,392 posts, read 44,000,457 times
Reputation: 30712
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
I finally found my cafe, and it was a diamond in the rough, excellent service, a kind of insulated paradise surrounded by night clubs and shady looking massage parlors with a mix of empty and somewhat repurposed buildings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQalex View Post
There's only one massage parlor on Central Avenue downtown and it is not seedy at all. It's not a place for happy endings. It's a legitimate place for massages and has been there for years. Albuquerque is in the Southwest, an area of the country into new age and holistic healing such as Yoga, therapeutic massage, etc.



There is more then one massage parlor in the ABQ area...

https://www.yellowpages.com/albuquer...massage-places

Last edited by Poncho_NM; 03-06-2020 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Silver Hill, Albuquerque
945 posts, read 968,223 times
Reputation: 1466
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
There is more then one massage parlor in the ABQ area...

https://www.yellowpages.com/albuquer...massage-places
Sure, there are lots.

But there's only one on Central downtown, which is the point that everyone you're quoting is making...
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