There is an organization in Memphis called MPACT, which serves as a social (and sometimes political) outlet for the young professionals in the area. Shamefully, I am not yet a member, but Andy is, and I’ve gone to a couple of events with him hosted by MPACT. At one of these events, city councilmen and planners discussed some of what was in store for the city, and the group got to chime in and give opinions. One of the members brought up the idea that Memphis needs to be more “walkable”. No, Memphis isn’t like San Francisco or New York in the capacity of being able to get most things you need without a car, but I think Memphis is actually pretty walkable! Granted, I live in Midtown where all of the cool kids eat, drink, and party, but walking in Memphis doesn’t always require a specific destination.
Lately, one of the walks that have been rather popular amongst our group of friends is the walk to downtown. It’s probably about 6 miles from our house to the river, which isn’t all that bad, but it can sometimes seem like 60 miles in the Memphis summer heat. Nonetheless, it’s great to go down Union Avenue and look at the near 100 year old church buildings, the “mom and pop” businesses that have survived Wal Mart and Home Depot, and some of the less frequented tourist attractions, like the Staxx Recording Studio. Didn’t Marc Cohn sing that he even saw the ghost of Elvis walking down Union? Sounds kinda spooky…
Another trek I hesitantly agreed to do was the Memphis Green Line. In a larger city, this might sound like a subway or bus route, but in Memphis, it’s the name of an almost city wide nature walk, stretching from Shelby Farms to Midtown (a walk that would be similar to going from Hollywood to Marina del Rey. As tired as I was when we were done, I was glad to have seen the wildlife that spans the outskirts of the city (but not as glad as I was to slurp down my 600 calorie Route 44 slush from Sonic!). If you’re in Memphis, muster up the courage (and pack a couple of water bottles) and walk the Memphis Green Line – it’ll be good for you!
I now feel such a better connection with the song “Walking in Memphis”, because I’ve done plenty of it! Whether you’re in Memphis, Los Angeles, or even Tokyo (that’s where I’ll be walking next), take a nice walk, and see if you “really feel the way [you] feel” about the place you live. Although I don’t venture far outside of Midtown, I definitely feel the way I feel, especially when the “Midtown is Memphis” bumper stickers I see reaffirm my opinion.