The Riverwalk Crossing is Jenks is facing foreclosure and no one is surprised
4:00 AM EST on March 6, 2012
The Riverwalk Crossing, a once popular evening destination for South Tulsans, is facing foreclosure a mere seven years after its inception.
You might be thinking to yourself, "How does a vibrant attraction in the heart of suburbia meet such an untimely demise?" After all, the last time I visited the Riverwalk--the 4th of July a few years ago--it appeared to be thriving. Children splashed in the elaborate fountain displays, food carts everywhere, balding middle-aged men sipped beers from aluminum bottles and twirled their overly tanned wives while boogieing to Mid Life Crisis's version of "Brown Eyed Girl." There was even overpriced food, valet parking, and cover bands--what's not to love?
After extensive research and analyses, I've pinpointed a few things that may or may not have led to the dissolution of the Riverwalk. And after an entire semester of Urban Economics 4056 two years ago, I consider my conclusions supremely qualified. Go ahead and use the bathroom, and grab a fresh cup of coffee--this length of post makes one of Clark Matthews' look like a classified ad.
• The Location. Like a modern Outsiders saga, eight years or so ago, Tulsa was determined to develop some entertainment venues but there was a lot of argument over which side of town. Ultimately downtown won, which is why we have great things like bars at the Blue Dome District, the apartment I live in, and the giant spacecraft erected by the Bank of Oklahoma. South Tulsa didn't take this lying down though. Privately funded, the Riverwalk Crossing was built for those who lived south of 71st street, wanted a night on the town, but didn't feel like driving more than six miles to do so. The bay overlooking the Arkansas River seemed ideal--I mean, it worked for OKC and San Antonio, why not good ole' Jenks, America?
This is where things falls apart. The Arkansas River is not a river. It barely qualifies as a creek during certain parts of the year. Calling this trench full of sandbars, tumbleweeds, and stagnant water an eyesore would be an understatement.
Here's a tip for future Tulsa County city planners and independent developers: don't build tourist attractions that overlook the shittiest parts of our city. This includes the joke of a river, between 21st and 11th and Garnett, and any part of Sapulpa.
• The Extremely Expensive Yet Extremely Mediocre Food. I'm never one to turn down a nice meal, especially when it's free. At the TLO contributor rager, I didn't even look at the menu, I just told the nice lady at Deep Fork Grill to get me the most expensive thing on the menu and two lobster tails to go. Then, I ordered eight shots of Crown, made Spencer cry, and next day the date I brought blocked me on Facebook. Okay, that last part is kind of a lie. I only shoot Patron.
Anyways, the two main restaurants at the Riverwalk are the Melting Pot and Los Cabos. I'm sure I don't need to go into detail on why it's a sin to boil filet mignon, but seriously--who has gone to the Melting Pot more than once in their lifetime? As for Los Cabos, it's alright I suppose--if things like waiting an hour and a half for a patio seat and paying way too much for the most white-washed enchiladas imaginable tickle your fancy.
• The Aggressive Marketing To, Then Abolishment of Teenagers. Another tip for developers: don't built an arcade, movie theater, and 18+ club in the same shopping center, then banish high schoolers from the premises after 8:30.
Free concerts, a cigar bar, Marble Slab Creamery, a nice walking path along the Arkansas Mudpit--come on, those were a few of my favorite things when I was a senior in high school! Maybe that's why the Riverwalk started out so strong. After all, teenagers don't mind waiting hours for shitty food, and the ones in South Tulsa have cash to blow on frivolous souvenirs. Banning minors from that property is akin to abolishing old people from Luby's, or men in capri pants from the Habanna Inn. Don't bite the delicate hands that feed their dates at Nordaggio's.
• The Classic Backlash Scenario. I know there's some quote about bright lights and burning out too fast, but a) I can't think of it for the life of me, and b) I try to only use one cliche per post, and I surpassed that quota six paragraphs ago.
Beanie Babies. Ed Hardy. Bennifer. Anything that gets too much attention within a short period of time is sure to crash and burn. There was nothing like the Riverwalk Crossing in South Tulsa when it first hit, so between 2005 and 2007, everyone--and I mean everyone--looked forward to seeing and being seen at the poshest place south of 81st. The next thing you know, developers built a number of awful nightclubs, which pretty much brought in a bunch of douche bags and chased away suburban couples looking for a fun night out.
What used to resemble a festive night at the country club now looks like a scene from Jersey Shore. Nowadays, the only people that hang out at the Riverwalk's tacky clubs are the same kind of people who wear bedazzled jeans, drink 5 Hour Energies, drive 2004 Range Rovers, and reek of Drakkar Noir. Of course your establishment isn't making any money--the only people who go to the Mansion or the Midnight Rodeo are the kind of people who probably sneak in flasks full of Jaegermeister with them.
To the nice people who own the Riverwalk, I'd like to express my sincerest condolences. You were really kind to me six years ago, that one day I worked for you at your home decor store. If I wasn't a bratty 17-year-old, and you didn't propose that I work 12 hour shifts, I'm sure I'd be able to remember your name.
Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock
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