On Saturday, a friend and I attended the "Durham Rising" event, a celebration that marked the end of a long downtown revitalization project involving realigned streets, brick sidewalks and public squares, new trees and decorative streetlamps, and a general hope that downtown Durham is on its way to becoming hip and vital.
As part of the festival, the city officially unveiled an enormous bronze sculpture of a bull, our city's mascot (we're the Bull City, home of the Durham Bulls, etc.).
"What a handsome bull," I thought, filled with beer garden-induced civic pride. And then the man in the blue shirt stepped aside, revealing the bull's bullish attributes.
Sure, I know it's totally juvenile to note just how anatomically correct our bull is, but how could you not? I wasn't the only one noting, believe me. There were plenty of snickers and shy pointing.
But when I got done having a chuckle, I couldn't help but feel warmly toward my oft-maligned city. In a region where public art is derided as a waste of money, and anything more risky than a bronze acorn draws outraged criticism (heh hem, like Raleigh's snub of renowned Spanish sculptor Plensa), it took, well, balls to embrace this sculpture as the city's icon. And if there was ever a city that thought of itself as ballsy, it's New York, and even its famed Wall Street bull can't compare.