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Winston Wool and Greensboro Goggles

In developing the cover story this week, which was both enjoyable and frustrating all at the same time, it was hard not to think about how different the two cities – Greensboro and Winston- Salem – operate. I’m not leaving High Point out of the mix for any particular reason other than it’s sort of the middle child as it relates to this conversation.

Greensboro can’t seem to differentiate between its uptown and downtown, mainly because if you call one part of the city “uptown,” you will most likely run into someone who has a different perspective and refers to your side of the city as the same name. There’s so much confusion. There’s so much collusion. And there is so little conclusion.

It’s almost as if Greensboro is afraid of being cool, or that the people who once thought it was cool for different and dated reasons are so hung up on that old mindset that they won’t allow it become a new type of cool, which attracts and keeps young people in the city for reasons other than the nearest thing to an IV-drip of Natty Greene’s beer.

Events like Rock the Rails and Dance From Above are innovative. They are put on by people who see a different future for Greensboro and are doing what others have attempted without the support of people who can facilitate change. Jack Bonney and the bookings at DFA are doing what low-level clubs in major cities have been doing for years, but it’s a big deal here. Ryan Saunders and the crew at Rock the Rails are developing a concept for outdoor festivities that shakes up the norm, in a good way. Greensboro, you deserve these things. You deserve the chance to hear new music. You deserve the opportunity to watch a vocalist belt out lyrics over the melodic rumble of a train. In a metaphoric way, that’s the Greensboro of old leaving the station as the Greensboro of new stands before you, singing, dancing, and anxiously waiting for you to embrace it.

For Winston-Salem, which gets enough attention because of all this new techy, innovative-y, and research-y stuff, it’s more about keeping the momentum alive and growing with change. But all that shiny stuff doesn’t come without fault.

The thought that gentrification will infiltrate the south side of the city more so than it already has is a scary thought that, for all accounts, could displace a lot of families. As the Innovation Quarter extends its footprint north, property values will rise, and although for some developers and real estate owners that’s a good thing, it’s bad for the families who are struggling check-to-check to make ends.

But one word was repeated to me by several sources that have absolutely no connection to each other: Vibrancy. Winston-Salem is vibrant. Every other day a new mural is being painted, blasted around social media, and talked about in various social circles; outdoor concerts in new parks are promoted long in advance giving people enough time to plan and execute their weekends around them. Hell, even the breweries are setting things into motion (Foothills will be having a grand opening of it’s tasting room at the main production facility and will feature nine years of Sexual Chocolate – NINE YEARS!) that are attractive to all demographics.

It’s not really a contest between the two cities anymore. Each city has their own great ideas, and whether or not one is implementing them at a faster rate is irrelevant.

A close friend of mine, who happens to live in Greensboro, said that I have the “Winston Wool” pulled over my eyes. I moved to Winston-Salem just shy of two years ago, and it’s been a blast watching the city develop before my eyes. To some degree, I guess he’s right. However, I argue that he’s got “Greensboro Goggles,” which prevents him from seeing all the things find so much more enticing about Winston. We can argue this all day, but at the end of it, we are both in the wrong.

What we both could use, and perhaps everyone in the area, is just a single “Triad Monocle.” It’s OK to appreciate and have pride in the city that you live in, but it’s better for everyone if you take the time to appreciate all that both cities, and even High Point, has to offer.

The Blues Festival this past weekend is one thing that Greensboro has on Winston. Point.

Artivity on the Green and the frictionless road to its completion is one thing Winston has on Greensboro. Point.

Rock the Rails is an event that could really eclipse a lot of events in Winston. Point.

Bailey Park will be hosting The Wailers and that park is near some regularly traveled train tracks. Point.

This could go back and forth all day long, but there’s no point anymore. I’m sure there are people here who could argue until the tobacco dries about which city is better, but while they are doing that, the rest of us would be better off just supporting each other.

I have friends less than 25 minutes away that I see once per week because we are too stubborn to drive that stretch of highway, and that’s something I want to personally change. I mean, I make the drive everyday to Greensboro anyway to sit at my desk and read articles, contact sources, work with our expanding pool of freelance writers, and edit photos. Sometimes I do it twice per day.

We get to preview a lot of events here in YES! Weekly, what between Be There, Local and Live, all the concert calendar advertisements, and even our editorial previews of upcoming shows, so we here at the office stay pretty on top of it. We also give away tickets to baseball games, concerts, festivals, and just about anything we can get our hands on our Facebook page.

To us, engaging the community is important, but it’s all for nothing if you’re not going out and supporting your friends, peers, and the people who keep Greensboro interesting and Winston innovative.

I’m not trying to pull any kind of wool over your eyes, nor am I trying to say, “can’t we all just get along?” I’m just trying to get you guys to come hang out with me, or at least entice me to come hang out with you. !

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