An updated list of the Seven Wonders of the World was released recently, and recognizing each of them poses as much of a task for nongeography majors as the ancient Greeks’ original roster.
This made me think: Wouldn’t it be better if we made lists of “wonders” from our own necks of the woods?
So, with about as much precision as what created the modern wonders (the Los Angeles Times reported in the July 8 Tribune that it was a vote-as-often-as-you-want Internet poll), here are the Seven Wonders of Scottsdale.
They’re certainly worth wondering about. (Camelback Mountain is not included. It is on the border of Phoenix and Paradise Valley and is not in Scottsdale.)
In no particular order:
• The McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Yes, City Hall keeps asking and asking for more and more sales taxes for it, but it’s still a beautiful panorama that will be there for generations to come. Preserve advocates, however, want you to just make sure you’re mostly looking and mostly not touching.
• Old Town Scottsdale. Its storefronts were designed to imitate Hollywood Western movies, not actual Old West towns. Old Town is still cute and fun, even if it isn’t historically accurate and there are hardly any hitching posts left.
• The Parada del Sol. No longer Scottsdale’s biggest or even best-known annual event, this horse-drawn parade and rodeos combine to remain the city’s oldest, among the most family-friendly and most reflective of Scottsdale’s roots in promoting tourism via (a) sunshine and (b) playing cowboy.
• The Salt Cellar. The wellliked, completely underground seafood restaurant that’s survived for decades in our highly competitive dining market despite its location on Hayden Road north of McKellips Road, far from any of the city’s restaurant districts.
• The Indian Bend Wash greenbelt. Army engineers wanted a concrete channel, but some creative locals came up with a system of parks and golf courses instead. The 7½-mile greenbelt still attracts admirers from around the world.
• The Tournament Players of Scottsdale Stadium Course. Its half-million fans each year make the FBR Open the PGA Tour’s biggest-attended event.
• Freeway speed cameras. Still the only city in Arizona to have them, Scottsdale raised eyebrows when they were switched on in 2006, angering motorists who like the freedom to speed. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that traffic on Scottsdale’s stretch of Loop 101 has noticeably slowed down.
• Honorable mentions: 1. The cowboy-shaped bulletin board on Main Street. 2. Hummers seen around town during monsoon time. It’s mystifying how they appear to be always squeaky clean and shiny. Could they be the first self-cleaning vehicles? 3. Scottsdale’s nightclub crowd. See No. 2 above. 4. The Scottsdale City Council.