The McDowell Project

How the board is run, and how to make it better
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Skillet Doux
Site Admin
Posts: 3468
Joined: 9 years ago


As some of you might be aware, I started a personal project around this time last year to work my way down McDowell starting at 52nd street and heading west, stopping in every place that serves food along the way. The idea, of course, was to really push that spirit of seeking out undiscovered gems. I'm sure the city's full of them -- it's too big not to be -- but there aren't a whole lot of folks making a point of doing the legwork necessary to unearth them. At the time, I hoped that maybe if I got something started, it might encourage some other folks to do some more digging as well. And a conversation I had with tatterdemalion the other night -- he marveled at the sheer number of little hole in the wall joints he was passing just driving around the city -- got me thinking again.

So now we've got this board, and it's full of people, and we seem to have a nice rhythm going at the moment, and I'm wondering if it might not be a bad idea to take The McDowell Project off the blog, bring it here, and invite the crowd to join in. So I wanted to see if this is something that strikes a chord with anybody.

In practical terms, here's how I think it would work. I'd put a McDowell Project sticky topic at the top of the Valley Eats forum. The first post would be a description of the project. For the second post, I'd do a scouting run down McDowell, simply listing every food establishment's name by block. Then, I'd transfer over the stuff I've written so far, starting a topic for each restaurant, and link each restaurant's topic to the list in the sticky topic, so that the sticky topic acts like an index -- both of places that somebody's already checked out, and as a list of places that have yet to be explored by a member of the forum. When somebody goes to a place that's been covered, they add to the existing thread just as they would for any other restaurant. And when somebody hits a place for the first time, I'll convert that restaurant's name in the index to a link to the new thread. And we keep going until everything is covered, or until we get sick of it. And if it goes really well and we decide it was a lot of fun, maybe six months, a year, two years from now, we pick another street or neighborhood and start a new one.

I think it could be a really fun collective project, I think it would be good for the board, and I think anything that encourages folks to get out there and dig is a good thing. By being a little systematic about it, I think we'd have a shot at doing some serious damage. I think the index might really result in getting some ground covered -- for completionists like me, those unlinked restaurant names will sit there, mocking us. And somebody who just wants to hit one or two places can do that, so it encourages participation rather than making people feel like it's a big commitment. Hopefully, we uncover some great spots. But at the very least, I think it would be a fun exercise.

I should note, though, that I don't want to move everything over and set it all up just to have it languish. I'll keep working on it, of course, but I'd like to know there's at least a small handful of folks who are interested in helping out as well. Even if we're just four people with nobody else chipping in at all, if everybody has just one meal per month on an unexplored stretch of McDowell, that's over 50 restaurants in a year. I haven't done a precise count, but just ten stops got me from 52nd all the way to 36th, so that must cover an awfully long stretch of McDowell.

For reference, here are the three blog posts I've put up so far:

The McDowell Project (Intro)
The McDowell Project - 52nd to 44th
The McDowell Project - 44th to 36th

What do you think? Anybody else interested? Suggestions? Concerns?
Dominic Armato
Posts: 31
Joined: 9 years ago


I think that is a really great idea. I like the idea of having a list to conquer! I would definitely be in.