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.