On the map, Des Moines, Iowa, is a middling metro area in the middle of a vast inland ocean of corn. Corn as far as the car can drive.
But in the city’s East Village, life is strangely uncornlike. A walkable warren, quirky and fun, snuggles below Iowa’s monumental, gold-domed Capitol.
Interesting…Des Moines as “the Monks” never quite settled with me. I look forward to learning more about this alternative explanation:
But there’s more. One of the first people to call the river by its European name was the French Jesuit missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette. He’d encountered natives of the Peoria tribe at the confluence of this river and the Mississippi. Asking about other tribes who inhabited the river basin, the local natives told Marquette this branch of the river was controlled by Mooyiinkweena. Marquette interpreted that as a local variation on ‘moingona.’ According to one linguist, however, mooyiinkweena actually meant ‘shit-face.’ The local tribe members had apparently been insulting their neighbors.
“LOCAL” DOES NOT EQUAL “GOOD.”
Local equals local. For instance, there are many coffee shops around. One of the local coffee shops invariably has a huge line, and locals know to go there only if you have some extra time. The coffee is good, but not amazing. Are they extra kind there? No. Do they greet people? No.
The local Dunkin Donuts is faster. They’re not much more kind (I mean, they’re not unkind, but they just do what they do with little beyond the script). Is that good? Depends on what you want.
Wow! I’m sad it took us so long to discover this place. It isn’t much from the outside, but there is a small parking lot that will fit 10-12 cars that is well-lit. They have the inside decorated with souvenirs from El Salvador and it really is interesting to look at. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the ambiance of a popular, overpriced, crowded restaurant, but sometimes it isn’t about the experience and it’s all about the food. And you’ll get lots of good food here. The restaurant seats about 12 parties. We arrived about 6pm with no wait.
Everywhere is what you make of it. Des Moines has great stuff that would be cool anywhere. RAYGUN would be cool in any city. I will put our humor and style up against anyone in the country. Gong Fu Tea would be cool in any city. Same for Eden, for Seed, for Domestica, for Ichi Bike, for Zombie Burger. It’s not just “cool for Des Moines.”We need to stop worrying so much about national lists, about marketing campaigns, or about attracting outside businesses. We just need to support the talent we already have, and encourage talented people who are already here but not doing anything to do something.There is an ocean of untapped talent in Des Moines.
It remains to be seen whether the mobile workforce trend will really have a transforming impact on office real estate. But for this piece of the rapidly changing workplace scenario, we are once again back to the future: cities re-imagining, reinventing, and re-using their assets.