Christmas Day in Downtown Knoxville

So Christmas has come and gone, once again. What is it like to experience Christmas in the city? Of course, like anywhere, that depends on the person you ask. For everyone downtown, it’s pretty quiet. The streets are empty for most of the day. A soft snow-mist fell for much of the morning before turning to more proper flakes by noon. Few cars passed in the street. In my home the day meant sleeping late, opening gifts with family and enjoying brunch around noon. It was exhausting and, of course, called for a nap. Not much different than the suburbs, right?

I was the lonely recycler.

Mid-afternoon I took a walk to check the pulse of the city. First, I walked to the recycle center to drop off our boxes and used wrapping paper. I was happy to see I wasn’t the first to deliver the balls of festive, useless paper to a new life. I took a shot of a little additional urban blight as I left. These buildings could be great. I wonder how they play into the vision of Marble Alley.

State Street blight or Marble City makeover?

Homeless friends panhandling on Christmas day.

Walking down Gay Street, I found these guys. One said he was from Morristown looking for what to do next. The woman kept laughing uncontrollable and the guys told me she needs to take her Haldol. I cautioned them about panhandling in the same spot where Bill and Jake were previously accosted. One of them had a harmonica which he played sporadically, so I guess they could take the busker defense.

Christmas movie goer, Regal Cinemas, Downtown Knoxville, Christmas day

Regal Cinemas had three workers to one customer when I looked, but they claimed to have had a pretty busy day. They were one of the few businesses open. The ice skating rink was open and had about twenty skaters when I looked. I hope it has done well this year, but I’ve looked several times when it wasn’t very busy.

Twenty ice skaters skating, Knoxville, Christmas Day 2010

James Park Home, Christmas Day 2010

I walked down Walnut Street and took a pretty good picture of the James Park house. James Park was Knoxville’s second mayor. The foundation dates to 1797 with the actual structure going back to 1812.  It’s pretty remarkable that it has survived. It’s one of the oldest houses in Knoxville.

Umoja Abdul-Ahad, Knoxville, Christmas, 2010

I kind of hit full-cycle by the end of my walk when I met Umoja Abdul-Ahad. He was kind enough to stand for this picture as he prepared to walk the city, himself. Omoja, I learned, is the executive director of Global Recycle Summit, an organization that promotes recycling. I was relieved I recycled my Christmas wrapping paper rather than trashing it. I would have felt a bit guilty.

Dirty Guv’nahs’ New Year’s Eve Show

So, the action was slow, but I made a new friend. Not a bad outcome of a little walk in the city. As I turned back onto Gay Street, ice pellets fell heavily and the chill had deepened. I walked past the Bijou marque announcing the upcoming Dirty Guv’nahs’ New Year’s Eve show. I realized it was a farewell walk to a year that is ending. It’s been a good year for our city and here’s hoping the next is even better. Starting it with the Dirty Guv’nahs at the Bijou would be a promising beginning, indeed. I certainly plan to be there.

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