I still keep in touch with one of my old professors from undergrad. Pedro, a prof of Sociology (my major), was telling me how all of these corporate stores have moved into the area around Arizona State. All of the little shops, restaurants, and bars around campus are being forced to move out as a result of pressure from both the city of Tempe, greedy landlords, and whorish corporations who have to set up another A&F by campus (there are 3 malls within 20 minutes of campus already, each probably has an A&F). So now, all of the small restaurants around campus are selling their property for parking lots or for new commercial zoning areas.
Such a shame because ASU had a repuatation as a great party school. I know most people are proud of their alma mater for various reasons (i.e. football, tradition, academics, etc.), but I was always stoked when I would tell someone I graduated from ASU. The first thing out their mouths is always something like "So was it as crazy as they always make it look like on TV?" or "What in the world brought you out here then? I would've stayed there!". In fact, one of these prime time news shows did a piece on college binge drinking where they followed a girl who just turned 21. What school epitomized the binge drinking, party experience? Arizona State!! They followed this girl to about 3 or 4 bars that I frequented all too often. People who go to ASU get a decent education, but let's face it, when you have the Baywatch casting search on campus, Girls Gone Wild visiting all the time, or Hawaiin Tropic contests on campus, you're at a school that parties it's collective ass off!
But aside from that, when the small mom and pop eateries and local bars close, the school loses a bit of its character. One of the best bars, Dos Gringos (affectionately known as the Trailer Park because there is a literally an old converted airstream trailer at the place), used to be right across from campus. In fact, I took a grad level Sociology class where the professor decided that we needed some of the $2 Coronas and chips during class to help move the discussion along. Now Dos Gringos had to move because of the pressure from corporate developers. Long Wongs was another ASU institution. It was this little hole in the wall bar that served up the greatest hot wings I've ever had (as attested by a friend who moved from the area I'm in now to Tempe) along with healthy doses of local up and coming bands, some of which included Alice Cooper, Jimmy Eat World, the Refreshments, and the Gin Blossoms. It was an eclectic mix of young professionals, bikers, and college students. Now Long Wongs is another victim of the corporatization of America and the college campus. They'll probably put up some corporate fucking restaurant there with absolutely no character and vinyl booths and the set menu. Not only that, the area around campus is slowing dying. There isn't the buzz that used to accompany going down Mill Ave. (the main strip by campus) anymore because corporate America closes stores at 9 P.M.; you can't get drunk at the Gap; you can't do shooters at the Lucky Jeans Store; FYE doesn't have nickel beers after 5. Students now go further and further away from campus to have fun.
It's such a shame because the areas around a college campus have long been a domain of good times in those last years of "innocence" before you must head out to the real world. The local stores, restaurant, and pubs will all probably end up closing. It's like corporate America is fucking my alma mater so that they can squeeze a few more college students into the Gap's lineup clothes (utilizing the same 3 colors), force them to eat at another chain restaurant, and drink at another faux bar set up by some faceless corporation. Would it really kill corporate America to not have to set up another Olive Garden? Would it hurt if we didn't have another Banana Republic? Will it be that painful to let a college campus keep the atmosphere of a college campus?
FUCK .. I'm turning into an grumpy old man ................