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Deep Ellum, Texas


For the past week I've been in Dallas, Texas for a work conference. I was excited to visit this city, thinking I would be serenaded by handsome cowboys playing acoustic guitar. Big belt buckles, cowboy boots, wide brimmed hats. This was my perception of Dallas. In reality the city is a complete hellhole, filled with many loiters. There's absolutely nothing to do here and I'm very happy to be back in beautiful, green Virginia. I found only one interesting area called "Deep Ellum," which is located in east Dallas.

1. Deep Ellum has an interesting past. In 1914, Henry Ford picked Deep Ellum as the site for one of his early automotive plants. The plant was built specifically for assembly of Ford's famous Model T. The plant remained in Deep Ellum until the late 1930s. However, Deep Ellum's main claim to fame is that it was an early hub for the Dallas music and arts scene. The neighborhood became a hotbed for jazz musicians in the 1920s and to this day there are many live music venues in the area. Walking around you will still see many musicians carrying instruments and there are several recording studios here.


2. The height of the Deep Ellum scene was the early 1990s. During this time there were almost sixty bars and live music venues in the condensed area, along with many tattoo parlors, funky retail shops, and expensive loft spaces. In the early to mid-2000s the landscape of the neighborhood began to change. Businesses started closing, more loiters moved into the area and the live music scene began to decline. Today Deep Ellum is perceived as being a high crime area and it is in fact very sketchy. I would not walk around here at night. I've never seen so many people walking around with these huge keyboards. But this guy was nice enough to sing to me :))


3. Deep Ellum also is known for its beautiful wall murals and graffiti. It's everywhere and you will never forget where you are because "Deep Ellum" usually appears somewhere in the painted scene.


4. I've already mentioned that I like this type of art if it's tastefully done so I'll share a few images with you. This one is very strange.


5. The painted scenes appear on the sides of buildings, on stand alone creations and on many structural elements. There are major highways in the area and it's very shadowy due to the bridges and other road columns. Strange lighting conditions and difficult to shoot for me.


6. Some stand alone creations.




8. The railroads are also part of Deep Ellum's roots. The Houston and Texas Central railroad tracks ran through the region. But the growing availability and use of automobiles killed these lines by the mid 1950s. This cool mural pays homage to the area's railroad history. The Deep Ellum sign which is depicted in the cover photo for this story also appears in the mural.


9. This is perhaps the most relaxing area of Deep Ellum, with benches and individual seats carved from trees. Very peaceful and clean (a rarity here) and there's a private flower garden.


10. I took a quick break in this seat to cool off and have some water. Very warm in Dallas, about 30C each day.


11. It's no secret that Americans are open people. It seems we like to place signs everywhere, explaining everything. Here we're informed that the murals and general landscape are a joint effort between Keep Dallas Beautiful and the Texas Department of Transportation.


12. Even trashcans in Deep Ellum are artistic, but perhaps they should spend some time teaching the locals how to use them. Dallas, in general, a very dirty and grey city. Trash everywhere. Who is so lazy that they can't place rubbish in a bin when they are everywhere? Shameful!




14. Sex in public, well sure. It's exciting and romantic on some secluded beach or forest. But in the middle of Deep Ellum? I don't see the appeal and always complete disgust when I see condom wrappers thrown on the sidewalk or public walkways. At least the used condom isn't there.


15. Here the Dallas police welcomes visitors! And the Russian police - they would post such a friendly sign?


16. The "Welcome" mural was actually painted by a local police officer. According to the inscription, it's a reminder that police officers and local citizens are all part of the same community.


17. Deep Ellum also is home to a very large dog park known as "Bark Park Central."


18. Dogs run around and chase each other. Daily exercise for all!


20. When they need a rest, the dogs take turns sniffing each other.


21. Some budding romances, kisses, whispers. Russians seem to prefer cats. I will never understand why. Dogs are more emotional, loyal, care in the eyes. Cats sneaky!


22. Beauty! But they would not look at me.


23. The dog park also has many murals.


24. Ummm, interesting bench!


25. The key to any civilized society is individual responsibility. Here, we try to make it pretty easy. Trash cans everywhere and poop bags to keep the dog park clean. The park is closed every Monday for maintenance. In my area, there are many dog owners and these bags appear on numerous sidewalks to help keep areas clean from dog crap.


26. Dog walkers. Probably every country has them now - people who are paid to regularly walk dogs.


27. The only good thing I will say about Dallas is that there's excellent and tasty food there. Very fine steaks and burgers. I ate at this place.


28. Cute and colorful waitress.


29. This place was very funny, including the menu. You can order a "burger in a bowl" but you will be considered a sissy. :) It's a slang term for being a coward or overly scared. I ordered a regular burger, covered with cheese and onions. Delicious!


30. This guy made my burger. Happy to pose for a photo.


31. Interesting decor. I guess it's a bull. Whatever it is, it needs an eyebrow wax as you can't even see the eyes. Creepy.


32. My main food phobia is pickles. I hate them more than any other food. I'd rather eat an insect than a pickle. At my local deli, I'm known as the "no pickle" lady because I will throw a fit if they put a pickle on my plate and the juice leaks on my bread. They will have to remake the sandwich because the taste is so repulsive to me. At this place, pickle connoisseurs will have many flavor options.


33. I don't drink soda but will occasionally have a root beer float. Vanilla ice-cream covered in this soda. Nice sweet treat.


34. Not a Model T but great American machine!


35. The cab situation in Dallas is horrible, the worst of any U.S. city I've traveled to. First, you have to wait forever for one to arrive. Second, they are very expensive. Third, the cab drivers are incredibly rude and have no clue where they are going. "Cowboy Cab" is the main company in the city. This cowboy was a real asshole and yelled as soon as he saw the camera. I probably rode in at least twenty cabs during the week, running from meeting to meeting. A few of the drivers looked homeless and some of the cabs were in very poor condition. They will also try to rip you off. Quote one price and then try to charge another when you arrive at destination. So it becomes necessary to argue with them. Immediate rise of blood pressure!


36. I love America and wish I could say Dallas is another great American city but I can't. I would never send a foreigner here. There really is nothing to do. The downtown area is full of skyscrapers but it's oddly empty during business hours. A sort of ghost town. A few business people walking amongst the homeless, drunks and beggars. If you have a car and like to shop I think there are some nice malls in the suburbs but very little shopping in the downtown area. I hate shopping and these huge malls are a nightmare for me.


Dallas is probably best known for being the place where former President John F. Kennedy was shot. You can view the grassy knoll area where the shooting occurred. There are two "X" marks on the road where the shooting happened. There's also a museum about the shooting. There's a zoo here, an arboretum and some other museums. I can see all of these things in DC, in a much nicer environment. If I never return to Dallas again, I'll be very happy. Sorry if there are any Texans that read my blog. :) Maybe you can tell me a nice part of Texas to visit, but Dallas isn't for me.


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 9th, 2013 06:14 am (UTC)
Thank you for the post!
May. 9th, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
Hello! You're welcome. Thanks for reading.
May. 9th, 2013 07:08 am (UTC)
A per my opinion the best city to meet with Texas culture is San Antonio, TX
May. 9th, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
Texas culture - in a good way or like Dallas? Some have told me that Austin is the only nice city in the whole State, but there must be others.
(no subject) - mista_vint - May. 9th, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
May. 9th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's a big oil State and revenue producer. I think Dallas is the fourth largest metro area in the States. But it's so ugly! The landscape is flat and dry, no beauty.
May. 9th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
Irving and Forth Worth! Irving-Boy Scouts museum , Fort Worh -cowboys attractions
May. 9th, 2013 03:56 pm (UTC)
Cowboys are good! But I only saw a few in Dallas. Probably I will not like most cities in Dallas because I don't like the landscape there. I prefer mountainous, green regions.
(no subject) - new_forester - May. 10th, 2013 08:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fesma94 - May. 9th, 2013 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 9th, 2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I prefer mountainous, green regions (c)
Me too, but who live easy ? :-)
May. 9th, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
Search Rodeo Fort Worh
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 9th, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - new_forester - May. 10th, 2013 08:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 10th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 9th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)

Thank you for posting.

>>>21. ...Russians seem to prefer cats. I will never understand why. Dogs are more emotional, loyal, care in the eyes. Cats sneaky!

Well... Probably, we need to look for the answer in history about ten centuries ago.

According to legend, the founder of the first settlement on the site of present-day Moscow was called Kootchka. He was from the tribes of Vyatichy, which were akin to the Czechs and Polabian Slavs.
And the settlement was called Kootchkov accordingly.

The word "Kootchka", is now pronounced in Russian as "Koshka", and means "a cat".
In the language of Polabian Slavs the word "cat" is still pronounced as "Kootchka."

Then one day Kuchkov-town was captured by Prince Yury Dalgarooky (George Long-handed in English) and renamed to Muskov.

The word "moosko" (or "mooski"), is now pronounced in Russian as "mooshskoy", "moozheekov" and is translated as "masculine, manlike, mannish".
In the language of Polabian Slavs the word "masculine" is still pronounced as "mooski."

All these events took place before 1147.

So, it turns out that Moscow (Muskov) is the city of harsh serious men, the former Cat city (Kootchkov).

That's why many Muscovites, followed by the Russians of many other regions, love cats and often love to walk down the street with a face of harsh and serious Prince George the Long-hand (Yury Dalgarooky).

The monument to Prince George Longhand:

Prince G. Longhand's face (tradition since 1147 or earlier):

Сам (sahm = himself personally):

What do you think? Is this explanation ok?

And God save the Google translate, I think. :)
May. 9th, 2013 05:34 pm (UTC)
This explanation is brilliant! I'm constantly amazed at the knowledge of my readers. Always teaching me new and interesting things. :)

"And God save the Google translate" - ДА! :))
(no subject) - moonrainbow - May. 20th, 2013 08:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 20th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 9th, 2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
>>My main food phobia is pickles.

I think it's seafood:))
May. 9th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
No, pickles are worse! I only disclosed the phobia now, but it's been there since childhood. :)
(no subject) - yarowind - May. 10th, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 9th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
the murals and graffiti are really amazing!
May. 9th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Yes! They are really cool. I've never seen so many in such a condensed area.
May. 10th, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Очень мало обзорных планов на фотографиях. Было бы интересно. Неужели ты так стесняешься показать Америку? Почему так выбраны фотографии? Только малый план. Обзорных фото нет вообще..
May. 10th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
"Real America" is not homeless people, loiters or dirty streets. People here are generally very kind and hard working. I was in Dallas on business and traveling from meeting to meeting. I could not carry my camera around during this time. So, I had only one day to explore and I shot the scenes here, in Deep Ellum. But I explained the landscape of Dallas in the post. It's dirty and ugly, there's nothing more to say.
(no subject) - 7greendog - May. 10th, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 10th, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 7greendog - May. 10th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 10th, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
Граффити это конечно отвратительно. И в России и в США. Особенно яркие, они не вписываются в архитектуру города. Очень жаль, что тебе нравится. Рисовать нужно на холсте, или создавать специальные районы в городе с граффити. Когда это беспорядочно и где нарисовано в неожиданных местах- в этом нет красоты.
May. 10th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
I don't like pointless graffiti, gang signs, etc. But these works are very nice in my opinion.
(no subject) - 7greendog - May. 10th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 11th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
I see you hate Dallas but your story about it is a highly readable and pretty interesting. Photos are wonderful! BTW I prefer dogs more than cats :)
May. 11th, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Well, you live in America now and are surrounded by lots of dog lovers I'm sure. :)
May. 13th, 2013 10:49 am (UTC)
Well, you managed to make very nice & colorful photos of that dull place.

>Russians seem to prefer cats. I will never understand why
Are you sure? I think that really depends on a person :)
(Or may be has something to do with relatively small flats in urban areas - it's more practical to choose cat as a pet.)
May. 13th, 2013 11:42 am (UTC)
I think you're right. It probably has something to do with small flats. There's no room for a dog in places like that. But still all my Russian friends are always posting photos of cats not dogs. Same with some of the top bloggers. Cats, cats and more cats! :))
(no subject) - g_kar - May. 13th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 13th, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - g_kar - May. 15th, 2013 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 15th, 2013 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - g_kar - May. 15th, 2013 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 7greendog - May. 15th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 15th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - 7greendog - May. 15th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2013 08:51 am (UTC)
As you probably know by now, I have just returned from Austin, Texas. Austin is good. It is lively, bustling, has a strong music scene, many bars in restaurants both downtown and on the south side. Food was good everywhere we have been (except that it was usually spicy, that makes things not easy for my taste). Music was different, I didn't like a band with a singer lady in one place, but found the other country band to be quite pleasing. A number of bars have concert program for every evening, some even more than one band per evening. There are bicycle trails and a park along the river Colorado. There is a lake right in the city boundaries, and in summer the locals go there to ride kayaks and make picnics on water.

There is one big BUT. Everyone says Austin is not Texas. It is like Boston of the south: city of intellectual people, students, university and high-tech. It is democratic, open-minded, welcoming new people (just complains about the rent going up). While real Texas, they say, is a land of stubborn, rigid and conservative guys.

And I clearly marked Texas as a place where you don't survive without a car. In Austin you walk and cycle, and see people walking and cycling. Leave it, and there are just big roads with fast cars among vast pariries. And they will gaze at you with surprise if you say you want to walk to a shop.

Edited at 2013-05-20 08:59 am (UTC)
May. 20th, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
I've heard Austin is very nice and I think it's probably the only place in Texas that will suit me. Every year the city hosts one of the largest musical festivals in the States. It's called "South by Southwest."

And, yes, it's probably the most conservative State in the U.S. It will interesting for you to compare Austin to Dallas when you travel there in the future. I don't think the comparison will be very favorable because I saw no charming parts of downtown Dallas where you will likely stay for the conference.
(no subject) - moonrainbow - May. 20th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2013 08:50 pm (UTC)
I didn’t want my opinion to influence you when you mentioned back when that you’re going to BigD. A shithole of scale. Just come for business and leave. There‘s a watering hole area in downtown but literally one street. One way you could’ve liked Dallas if you’re a tumbleweed, ‘nuff said.

Austin is nothing like it. Maybe I love it being born here but still pretty good amount of people seem to be drawn to it and willing to stay after school to work for minimum wage (on hi-tech scale) depressing local incomes… Gets a bit worm for some at the same token keeps the some damn Yankees out ;\)
May. 20th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Dallas
"A shithole of scale." Yes, exactly! :) I'm certain I'd like Austin. Maybe one day I'll make it there.
May. 27th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
Russian police? R U kidding?
They will stare at your face like you owe them.

Edited at 2013-05-27 06:23 pm (UTC)
May. 27th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Yes the Russian police have a horrible reputation, full of corruption and laziness! But I didn't have to deal with them during my visit.
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