Indianapolis makes New York Times '52 places to go' list


The Circle City made the New York Times list of 52 Places to Go in 2014, and it's a big surprise to some.  One reader on the paper's website wrote, "Indianapolis? Are you kidding me? You must have taken a very fast tour."

Wade Parish, an Indianapolis transplant, also admitted he was "a little surprised," but added, "I'm glad.  It's really cool."

In describing how they narrow the final list, the Times wrote, "Our main goal is to have a variety of regions and interests, with some surprises mixed in. We also try for a mix of scale including cities, regions and even entire countries."

The Times singled out Indy for its new "$63 million, eight-mile, bike-friendly" Cultural Trail linking downtown sites to downtown neighborhoods like "arty Fountain Square."

Ryan Borchelt, who co-owns B's Po Boy restaurant in Fountain Square restaurant, says when it comes to free publicity, nothing beats a mention in the New York Times.

 "It's probably the number one paper in the country, so it's pretty big," Borchelt said.

Indy shares the limelight with places like Cape Town, South Africa, the Albanian Coast and Dubai, as well as seven other U.S destinations, including Tahoe, downtown Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn.

Borchelt said highlighting the Cultural Trail makes sense. 

"It's amazing what the city has done with the (Cultural) trail," he said.  "It's one of the reasons we opened here because of the accessibility to the trail." 

Interestingly, two aspects of the trail mentioned in the article are still in progress, including "the motion-activated, firefly-like swarm of LED lights" beneath the Virginia Avenue Garage.  It's the one segment of the trail that hasn't opened. 

Matt Dollar, who walks by it daily, laughs, "It's so interactive the sign says sidewalk closed. You have to play (leap-frog)  to get to the other side of the street."

Karen Haley, a spokesperson for the Cultural Trail, said the $975,000 interactive light sculpture by Acconci Studio has been a challenge. She said when it was first installed it kept "shorting out" because of water beneath the garage. 

She said the piece had to be redesigned "to make it work."  The goal now is to have it re-installed, reprogrammed and ready to open in March, depending on weather.

The Times also mentioned bike rentals "along the paved and lighted pathway." Haley said that too won't be up and running until late spring.

B-cycle will provide a bike-sharing program where people can rent bikes and return them to several bike stations along the Cultural Trail.  Bike-sharing programs have become popular in cities like Chicago, Portland and Washington, DC.

Back at B's Po Boy, Borchelt isn't sure what making the list means, especially the reference to Fountain Square.

"I don't know if if will impact us directly," he said.  "But it's good for the city to be on a national level like that."

See the list here.