Cover letter to DGI

by Brian Clarey

To the board of Downtown Greensboro Inc.:

I am writing in regards to the advertisement I saw on your webpage. After you hear me out, I think you’ll agree that I should be the next president and CEO of DGI.

I have lived in Greensboro for 13 years, and have researched and written hundreds of stories in and around downtown Greensboro. In the early years of the last decade, I worked out of an office building that stood on what is now Center City Park. Back then, walking to my car after dark was a lonely experience.

I watched the district come to life, notebook in hand, over the ensuing years. I remember one night, on assignment for Triad Style shortly after the opening of Natty Greene’s in 2002, when I saw for the first time more bodies on Elm Street after midnight than there were during the noontime lunch rush. I knew then that something remarkable was happening here.

An as an informed insider, I have lots of plans and schemes — uh, I mean ideas — that can be implemented as downtown Greensboro matures.

True, I don’t live downtown, nor do I currently own any property there. Perhaps some might see that as a problem, but I consider it an asset: an embodiment of the notion that we are all stakeholders in downtown Greensboro. Property and business owners certainly have a substantial role, but our urban center belongs to everyone who works and plays there. The city is an organism and this is its nucleus. Everything is interconnected.

And because I’ve lived in other big cities, I have valuable urban experience.

I lived for three years in the French Quarter of New Orleans, on Burgundy Street (you say it with the emphasis on the “gun” — ha ha!). Every year an enormously popular event called “Southern Decadence” took place in my neighborhood, and I think it can be successfully replicated here.

Also, when I was 14 years old, I was arrested for truancy in Times Square. I’d love to talk about this more at the interview, but needless to say I feel it ups my street cred considerably.

As you can see from my résumé, I meet most of the baseline requirements for the job. I have a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in sociology.

And that bit in the ad about “progressively responsible experience in downtown redevelopment”… you’re not serious about that, right?

I have served in a managerial capacity for eight years without getting fired, usurped or sued (not yet, anyway! Knock on wood!). And I have personal relationships with many, many prominent figures in politics, business, culture, entertainment, arts, media and nightlife.

Imagine the connections I could make if it were my job to just kind of “hang around” downtown all day and talk to people! I used to do that for free!

In addition to being a living conduit through which all the various currents of downtown life flow, I also see the role of the DGI president as that of a visionary. We need some new ideas, and I’ve got new ideas coming out of my, um, ears.

For starters, we should have a free concert in Center City Park every Wednesday evening — and none of that hippie crap. We need some guitars and drums and horns and turntables out there, with beer and vending and food trucks and bodypainting and rollergirls cruising around.

People love that stuff!

I also think we should have an annual re-enactment of the Woolworth sit-ins. Every Feb. 1 we could get a few NC A&T University students to trace the steps of the Greensboro Four, in period dress, as they made their way from their dorm to the Woolworth’s on South Elm Street and sat for justice.

This is gold, right? Of course, Woolworth’s is the Civil Rights Museum now, but I’m pretty sure they’d be interested. Give me half an hour with Earl Jones and I’ll get him on board, especially if I can rustle some interest from the national news. They love this kind of thing on “Good Morning America.”

Here’s one more for you that I can sum up in just three words: World’s. Biggest. Waterfight.

You feel me on this one? I’ve got lots of ideas like this, some even better. This is the kind of mojo you get going when you put a guy like me at the helm of the bobsled.

I’m going to need a big office, at least 15 floors up, though I’ll rarely be there because when I’m not meandering through the downtown streets I should probably be on “fact-finding missions” in the nation’s greatest cities. It’s my understanding that this is a legitimate part of the job, and also my understanding that I won’t have to pay for this travel personally. Pretty sweet deal, especially when you throw in all of that big-time CEO cheddar, amirite?

I look forward to hearing from you so we can discuss this opportunity further.

Sincerely, Brian Clarey Editor, YES! Weekly