Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top five things the outside world is learning about Charlotte

With the DNC convention rolling into town in (only) 14 days, just about every national news organization has dispatched someone to Charlotte to tell their readers what they should expect when they get here. And it seems like the city can all be summed up in just a few themes.

That’s not to say they’re incorrect or misleading. A number of the publications tapped local (or semi-local) reporters to unveil the Queen City. But they are undoubtedly interesting.

Here are the unofficial top five things the outside world is learning about Charlotte, ranked by number of mentions in the city profiles I’ve found.

1) It’s the second-largest financial center outside New York. No, the Bank Town moniker hasn’t faded a bit. Yes, Bank of America is headquartered here, despite rare appearances from CEO Brian Moynihan. Hugh McColl will sometimes make a bonus appearance. (Boston Globe, New York Times, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Huffington Post, Associated Press(x 2), CNN)

2) This is the “New South.” We have skyscrapers, we care about more than Nascar and Billy Graham, we’ve outgrown tobacco and textiles, we compete with Atlanta. We even have a museum devoted to it. This storyline often gets mixed up in a discussion of North Carolina as a swing state, rapidly urbanizing yet keeping a rural core. The recent gay marriage constitutional amendment, which Mecklenburg County voted against, is Exhibit A. (Boston Globe, National Journal, Tampa Bay Times, Associated Press (x 2), Washington Times, National Journal, CNN, Huffington Post)

3) There aren’t many unions here. North Carolina is the least unionized state, and Charlotte is its business hub. Labor unions are mad Democrats picked here to host their convention. (Tampa Bay Times, National Journal, New York Times, Associated Press, Huffington Post)

4) Amelie’s is a cool place. No local establishment has gotten more attention than the trendy-cool NoDa joint. Price’s Chicken Coop is probably in second. (Boston Globe, New York Times, CNN, Associated Press)

5) We’re a little insecure. Charlotte is a city that hasn’t quite found its footing. We have an “inferiority complex,” and we’re even a “debutant.” Only a few publications went straight out and said it; it’s often couched in the banks’ struggles and the city’s reinvention. (Washington Times, Associated Press, National Journal)


--Andrew Dunn

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

No 3 is the most important one of all!

Anonymous said...

You know that old saying, "It's a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there"?

If a lot of the comments on DNC stories are any indication, the so-called outside world is going to find out Charlotte isn't even a nice place to visit.

Skippy said...

My top 5:

-The CRV are liars
-The CO are liars
-The OWS useful idiots will be
fun to watch again.
-Obama will giving his speech from
BoFA staduim not the Charlotte
Panthers stadium
-There will be zero windfall.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:54 pm: You know the old saying, "Don't let the screen door hit you in the rear on the way out"?

Anonymous said...

"outgrown" tobacco and textiles... The world economy is cyclical in the long term, let's hope no one completely forgets the things that built this state. We may need them again some day.

J said...

A little insecure? That is the understatement of the 20th and 21st centuries. I have lived in or visited a lot of large municipalities. None come even remotely close to Charlotte for constant, irrational obsession with what other cities think of us. If I had a dime for every time I read about whether this or that thing makes Charlotte "world class," I could buy all of B of A's buildings.

I wish we didn't have the insecurity or the inferiority complex with Atlanta. Charlotte is an excellent place to live, there is plenty to do, and aside from the unbearable summers, the climate is great. We shouldn't worry about what others think of us or whether or not we're equal to Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to all of the Uptown crowd, but I still don't get the draw of Amelie's other than it is open 24/7. I make better lattes etc. at home and I didn't think the brownies were that phenomenal. Sure it has a nice vibe, but I have had better pastries, etc. elsewhere. To each his own however.

Anonymous said...

Unbearable summers??? Welcome to the South!! It is much worse further south trust me. Charlotteans are so whiny about the weather. Obviously not being from here, I don't get the obsession as to whether the city is world class or not. Look at the companies that you have here, the direction you are trying to go- you are hosting a major political convention for goodness sakes!- and forget about what the outside world thinks. You don't have tons of conventions here- playing off of the story featured in the CO recently- BECAUSE you really don't have nearby draws of things to do aka like New Orleans. Honestly, the lack of confidence indicates the fact that Charlotte comes across as a pretty soulless place. Who are you? What are you? Hard to know when the city is constantly reinventing itself, building up to tear it down in a decade or so. It is what it is and Charlotte isn't a bad place to live. Yet just as with people, you need to know your own identity and feel comfortable in your own skin to truly be all that you can.

Anonymous said...

Man Forget Atlanta. This is a real Southern city baby! We know how to act and Atlanta is a bunch of crap that should be dropped in the middle of the sea. Forget this world class stuff as well. Just be a nice city that can be self sufficient. "World Class" means more crime, too many people, high taxes, and more issues with liberals.

Anonymous said...

I hope they learn what a bunch of crooks and idiots our local leaders are-- everything from the county, to the city, to CMS, to CMUD, to Center City Partners, To the CRVA to Duke Power. Corrupt crony capitalism is what we have here.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I think it's mostly vibe and the hours of operation that are the draw. I live uptown and am the target crowd (23y.o.) and have only been once. Still, if we're going to have a business promoted on such a scale, I'm glad it's Amelie's. They have strong outreach operations to the community and help employ people who may find a hard time getting a job otherwise.

Pamela Grundy said...

For a hangout place, vibe is everything, and Amelies has a great one. Plus the food is good. Try the lavender lemonade, skeptics!

Anonymous said...

Number 6: Charlotte is a city of transplants. I know, because as a native Charlottean, I feel like a stranger in my own city. Very sad that no one sounds like me and almost no one knows or can relate to what was in Charlotte 10 years ago, much less 30 years ago. Yeah, Charlotte is all shiny and new but most of its Southern soul is gone. And what passes for Southern food around here is laughable. If people want the real Charlotte experience, they need to talk to a Charlotte native (if they can find one).

Rita said...

I'm one of those who came here from elsewhere (38 years ago)... and I love it here. I do recall how it used to be, I miss so much that has been torn down for highways and progress -- and yet parts of Charlotte are still charmingly small-town.

My thoughts have always been: it's a great place to live, but not much to visit for. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Just because two lame rag papers believe that "Charlotte hasn't quite found its footing"....DOESN'T meant that Charlotte hasn't quite found its footing. F them.

Anonymous said...

You misspelled debutante. Clearly you are not one.

Anonymous said...

1) NASCAR is great, just don't build a museum about it.

2) This is actually a suburb of Buffalo, NY.

3) Billy Graham just won't die

4) Traffic is our favorite pasttime

5) The more social conservative you are, the more likely you have a mugshot on file with Meck County.

uncledeano said...

What??? No mention of our newly acquired motion picture production facility? How can they overlook that? Golly Gee

Anonymous said...

'Rita at 4:50 pm' nailed it on the head - Charlotte isn't a great place to visit...but it is a great place to live!

I am proud to call myself a native. I was born here 40 years ago (almost to the day). I am well travelled, fairly well educated, and have lived in Florida and Indiana. In my mid 20's I came back to Charlotte (realistically, at the time I wanted to move out West but never got the opportunity), and I haven't regretted my decision to stay once. I've seen this sleepy Southern town grow. Now, as with all other cities, there are negatives to Charlotte. But quite frankly the positives outweigh the negatives tenfold (although you wouldn't know it from reading most of the readers' comments on this site). Folks, you live in a great town. World class? Who cares! Insecure? Maybe. Then again, who cares. Safe, clean, with hospitable, friendlier-than-normal people? FOR THE MOST PART, YES. You could do worse. Much worse.

I didn't want to end this post like this but I will....if you are lucky enough to live in Charlotte, you should be thankful. I am.

(Negative half-fullers, let they whining commence! Ya ain't bringing me down though!)

Anonymous said...

"lack of confidence indicates the fact that Charlotte comes across as a pretty soulless place"



TRUE

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 3:01 p.m.:

You're one of the ones I'm talking about. Take your own advice.

Anonymous said...

For those of you throwing off on Charlotte... If you live here and are throwing off on it, move somewhere else. If you don't like the city, don't move here or visit here. If you don't live here, you have no right to comment on it because you don't know enough about it to make an educated comment. Myself, I picked this city and couldn't be happier. All good Southerners know "If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all."

Anonymous said...

"New South"? I guess, if your "new south" is full of half backs.

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scott davidson said...


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