There is one "jewel" (speaking in a relative sense, of course) in Oklahoma City and that is Bricktown, a quaint synthetic downtown walking neighborhood with a man-made river that has bars, shops and a surprisingly cool minor-league stadium around it. It looks like this:
And it has rad bars. Like this one (Toby Keith's I Love THIS Bar & Grill):
I ate at a New Orleans-themed place, rolling the dice on ordering blackened catfish in Oklahoma. It was pretty good.
As you get away from Bricktown, you can see roads named after famous local Oklahomans. Like this guy and this musical group:
And there are other celebrities with roads named after them. Like this guy:
And especially this guy:
In fact, the Mick is plastered all over the place in OKC. There is a Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse, the aforementioned road and a big to-do at the minor league stadium, which looks larger than its 13,000 capacity. It is the home of the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Houston's AAA affiliate, and looks like a sweet place to catch a game. I bought a shirt for myself and a pair of them for the kids. Here is the tribute to the Mick outside the stadium:
There is also a tribute to Warren Spahn, but there was a pair of tourists mingling there and I have the attention of a fruit-fly, so I did not get a photo. But Spahn's legacy is even more amazing than I knew. All I knew was that he won 363 games. I did not know that he did not get his first win until the age of 25. After a mixed start to his career under Casey Stengel at age 20, he was sent down to the minors and then served three years in the military, getting his first win in 1946. Sounds like he was a solid dude. He died in 2003 at the age of 82 and lived in OKC for most of his post-baseball life.
A couple more interesting tidbits about OKC. We are in the Bible belt, so apparently signs like this are needed for local offices:
Also of note is that my hotel was next to the Chesapeake Energy Arena. It was my second time seeing a game there. The crowd there is so into the team that I don't feel all that bad for the city of Seattle. Maybe that's short-sighted, but this team is such a part of the fabric of the community. The Spurs-Thunder match was a huge one, with the Spurs riding a 19-game win streak. From start to finish, the fans were LOUD. Of note is that they never cursed at fans in Spurs jerseys, which a New Jerseyan like me found very amusing. Here is the outside of the arena:
As you can tell, they really like their players. All of them.
And in case you're wondering, you can't bring your gat inside here either:
Before the game, we met with an energy honcho at the Petroleum Club, a swanky set of lounges at the top of a high-rise a couple blocks from the stadium. It had a urinal that was so complex and high-scale that it gave me stage-fright. It was water cascading onto ice cubes in an open, floor-level trough about ten feet wide, offering views of the city from about thirty floors up. I took one photo that wasn't great, but it didn't feel right to be snapping too many photos in a strange public restroom. So I took this one and quickly hopped into a stall to TCOB.
OKC - Go get some.