This, our Best Of 2014 issue, is like a telethon for a good cause, except that you don’t have to listen to people in tuxedos and ruffled shirts begging for your money. And you can read it at your leisure (please do), and it doesn’t pre-empt your favorite TV show. It’s Fort Worth Weekly’s annual semi-marathon tribute to a good cause: that is, celebrating the best and brightest and funkiest in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, and other adjacent parts of North Texas. Sa-lute, friends and neighbors, watchdogs and waitstaffers, bouncers and bike path planners, the beautifully twisted and the straightest of shooters among us. It would be a far sadder, paler place to live without you.
It does seem like those farther-flung parts of our region are coming closer all the time, thanks to continuing development and, of course, more freeways. The newly opened Chisholm Trail Parkway is a wonder to behold, cutting through some beautiful swaths of prairie that, for better or worse, won’t be prairie much longer, and in the process, getting folks from the Cleburne area to Fort Worth in, like, 30 minutes instead of the better part of an hour. In other parts of town, I-35 seems to be heading in the other direction, time-wise. What used to be a 15-minute drive on that long concrete headache now can easily take an hour. Pack a lunch if you’re going to Denton, pilgrim. But, hey, more construction on that behemoth is under way as well. When it’s over — OK, highway construction is never over –– when this round is over, the question will be: What have we lost under all that new concrete? What potential parks, established neighborhoods, or beloved trees? We’d give a lot to be able to award a “best new train route” or “coolest-looking streetcar” prize in these pages.
The flipside: Unless we’re mistaken, all that development is also making Fort Worth, in many ways, a more vibrant, grown-up, artsy, diverse place than ever. The number of great restaurants in town these days is flat-out amazing — it takes us the whole year to make it to all the wonderful places highlighted in our “Good Grub” section. Not to mention the growing numbers of music venues, museum additions, entertainment options, and lovely, thriving urban villages.
A lot of what we honor, of course, are the ideas and people who take us in new directions, like those on the Near Southside who shut down one of their thoroughfares to vehicular traffic a couple of times a year to remind us all of different ways of enjoying our streets. Some folks find new ways of helping their fellow humans or the planet we all share, while others create gorgeously different art or deliciously inventive dishes and drinks.
We hope you enjoy it, and we appreciate all those who were instrumental in getting this issue out. Roll the credits: The thanks of a grateful editor go to our staff writers, freelance writers, photographers, the production staff who put it all together, the sales team, and our advertisers who made it all possible. Thanks to the Art Institute of Fort Worth, whose students created the images for our cover and section openers. And to all of you who talked to us, shared with us, and let us tell your stories and take your pictures through the year. You take it from here, and keep the Fort funky and friendly until we meet again. — Gayle Reaves-King