Letters to the editor 

ATL nightlife is dead, Underground's race issues

Atlanta ain't what it used to be

Nightlife is a culture and Atlanta's nightlife culture is dead (cover story, "Code blue," Jan. 25). Dead because a couple dickheads couldn't keep their "club beef" in their pants and had to settle it with guns. Dead because Atlanta's Imperial Council spied an opportunity to save Underground under the guise of public safety. Dead because you can't fool us into thinking a party zone designated by hypocrites could ever be cool. Dead because apparently nobody told the city that you can't keep building condos with chains on the ground floor and call that nightlife.

What seems to be lost on everyone is that one of the big reasons Atlanta was a young, hip and fun place to be was its unmatched nightlife. People traveled to party in Atlanta. We've still got the great restaurants but the fun clubs/lounges/bars are gone and that's one of the biggest reasons to live in the city. We've never recovered from the City Council's death blow to nightlife when they closed the after-hours clubs and moved last call up to a Cleveland-like 2:30 a.m. You can call Atlantic Station a success all you want but all it looks like to me is that you've brought Perimeter Mall into the city. Why would I pay a premium to live next to a Moe's when I can pay less, have more space and live next to a Moe's AND a Shane's Rib Shack?

It's bigger than just downtown, and the available condo inventory sitting in Midtown proves it. The de-nutting of Atlanta's nightlife has helped make Midtown a sort of "why bother?" residential district. You will never get people down to Underground for living, shopping or playing until there is some semblance of a reason to go down there. A real reason, not a forced one. I look forward to laughing at the next failed Underground strategy until I realize that I'm probably paying for it, at which point I'll cry.

-- Jason McCarthy, Smyrna

Are race issues underground understood?

The photo on page 29 (cover story, "Code blue," Jan. 25) addresses the question that your interviewer did not pose and the panelists did not broach: mainly, what role race has played and is likely to play in deciding the fortunes of Underground. The shot of the crowd at the House nightclub is exclusively black. Most probably do not live in the Underground "neighborhood‚" which means they are willing to travel from other points to party there. Any solution to revitalizing Underground must take as a given that those same folks will avail themselves of the opportunity to party in a new and improved facility. The subtext of the redevelopment discussion, then and now, is how can Underground be made more appealing to whites, be they tourists or residents? The deciders are deluding themselves if they think Underground can be remade to discourage black patronage.

-- Earl Picard, Atlanta

Support your own!

The issue raised is to Hugh Saxon of the city of Decatur (Fallout, "High expectations, lack of communication mar Decatur project," Jan. 18) who gave the excuse for the delay in the slow shipment of granite from China. Knowing the businesses would suffer they should have saved the time it took to get the granite from the other side of the planet and gotten it two hours away in the granite capital: Elberton, Ga. (and be supportive of Georgia businesses, as well). I am sure they got the Chinese granite cheaper, but in this case the life of these small businesses on the Square has been jeopardized. So, in my opinion, Hugh's excuse is not acceptable -- and I am unanimous in that. After all, the big rock of granite called Stone Mountain stares Decatur in the face every day to remind them of Georgia's vast granite (and marble) assets.

-- Thomas Alston Dutton, Atlanta



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