Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Video on Downtown Raleigh

Just noticed this today, not sure how long it has been up. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has a nice video talking about everything going on in downtown.


It should be on the home page.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sneak Peek at RBC Plaza Condos

On one of the hottest days in Raleigh, a few YSU agents braved the heat to venture up into the tallest building downtown. Still under construction, closed shoes and hard hats were required. So while we all made fun of how each other looked in fancy suits and sneakers, it was certainly worth it to get a sneak peek at some of the best views in town.

Special thanks to Andy Andrews for taking us on the tour, and to Jackie Savage and Neal Hussy for helping arrange it.

The elevator ride took us up the east side of the building and we stopped first on the 23rd floor where the condo living begins. The walls were studded out and you could see the layout of the whole floor, including the individual units and the common areas. The highlight, of course, was going out onto the 23rd floor patio area where the pool will be. The pool is a big round hole right now, but in 95 degree heat, we were all wishing it was finished.

The floor to ceiling windows were amazing. The corner units are going to have spectacular views and tons and tons and tons of light.

After checking out everything on the 23rd floor, we went to the very top - the 33rd floor. The interior walls were not built out yet, so we had sweeping 360 degree views of Raleigh and a great breeze. The north view was my favorite, looking down on the capital, the museum and the green square at the legislature building. Very pretty.

It was exciting to get to see the condos under construction. I can't wait to see the finished product this fall. Check out all the pictures here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cyclists - Voice Your Opinion

Bike to work? Or would you like to bike to work and not get killed? The City of Raleigh is revamping their Comprehensive Bicycle Plan and is looking for feedback.

I drive into downtown just about every day and I see more and more cyclists on the road. I also see lots of drivers who don't really know how to behave around cyclists, which makes for a lot of close calls.

I was biking downtown a few weekends ago (on a Sunday) and as we were signaling to turn right, I thought to myself, why am I signaling with my arm? I bet none of the drivers behind us even know what this means. So part of my feedback to the city will be to also educate drivers on bicycling 101 so that they know how to behave around a cyclist.

So if you bike downtown and have frustrations with certain roads, areas, etc, voice your opinion at this site. The comment form is a survey, but you have a chance to write in feedback.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Night of Culture and Rickshaws

For Christmas I bought my special someone tickets to the NC Symphony. I selected Friday night, the 18th, because they were highlighting jazz. More on that later..

For dinner, I wanted to try The Mint. This evening was, after all, a present, so a fancy restaurant was justified. I couldn't really judge the place until experiencing the food. Thinking that I didn't need reservations for a 6pm dinner, we just walked in. Note to self - make reservations next time. So we ate at Riviera, still one of my favorite places. The pistachio crusted trout was very tasty. The salad was simple but had lots of flavor, and the wine was great as usual.

We skipped dessert and decided to have a beer at the new Landmark Tavern before heading to the concert. The place was very crowded, it was opening night, but from the outside you could see the smoke. We opened the door and sure enough, the odor was too much. On another night perhaps we would have braved the smoke, but I really didn't want to sit in a nice concert hall reeking of cigarettes. It makes me feel so old to say something like that, but I just can't deal with smoke anymore. Sorry. I look forward to Landmark - I've already heard some great things, but I think I'll be visiting during the week when there's not a big crowd.

Since we still had about 30 minutes, guess where we went? Back to The Mint! I decided to try that $14 glass of chardonnay. And I have to confess, it was really, really good. The bartender let me try all of the wines before selecting one, but like any good bartender, he started with the good stuff and I just couldn't say no.

The concert was good. The highlight was the talented Jubilant Sykes. I was expecting a lot of jazz music, but as a celebration of African American composers, Mr. Sykes sang quite a few songs. His range was amazing. What an incredible voice. You know, it's nice to go and do something you would never normally do. It keeps the mind fresh. This evening was definitely a treat for us. Raleigh has some great activities to choose from. Step outside your comfort zone! Do something different one weekend.

Speaking of doing something different, the best part of the evening was the ride back to the car in the rickshaw! I've seen these guys everywhere but never needed a ride. I think it's such a great idea and I am so impressed by the athletic ability of pulling 300+ pounds on a bike. So we hailed one after the concert and enjoyed a nice ride for 4 blocks. Great ending to a nice evening.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Mint is Open

For months now, those of us at YSU downtown have watched the progress across Fayetteville St. The alley beside One Exchange Plaza was turned into a lovely outdoor seating/patio area. And finally, The Mint opened.

We knew it was going to "upscale southern cuisine." And from a few peeks in the window, the interior looked to be quite plush. So we couldn't wait to go. Last night at 5:30 the office shut down and the whole gang walked across the street for a drink.

As mentioned in several articles, the building used to be a bank. And at the main entrance is the vault door. But once inside, and maybe I was just too overwhelmed to notice, the interior didn't feel anything like a bank. My favorite were the huge, high-back, tufted booths. It seemed the perfect place to hang out with friends and enjoy a fabulous dinner.

We were just there for a drink, so we headed up the spiral staircase to the bar. I would hate to have too many drinks and have to go down those stairs. The pattern on the carpet combined with the spiral stairs could make for a nasty accident.

Anyway, the bar is spectacular, with several high tables and a lounge area. The whole place is very impressive and once you see the menu you'll know that you're in a unique place. The wine seemed a little pricey. I'm a chardonnay drinker and used to paying $7-9/glass, but the "good" chardonnay was priced at $14/glass. So I opted for the $5 Amstel Light. They don't really have appetizers that you can share at the bar. We did try the crab cakes, and while they were tasty, they were the size of a 50 cent piece and you only got 2 to an order. So, what I'm trying to say is that this place is fancy.

I love a good restaurant, and upscale is fine, but I guess I'm just disappointed that it's not going to be the kind of place I can stop by regularly after work. It's just too expensive. I think it will be a destination restaurant, for special occasions and entertaining business clients. Riviera, The Globe, and several other places have many entrees for less than $20 and they have really good food. Having said that, I hope it does well. Especially after learning how much we all paid for it.