“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream.” — Jack Kerouac
On the way back to my car after a dentist’s appointment downtown this afternoon, I ducked into the alley behind the Cosden Building to escape the icy wind. As I walked over the brick pavers, I was reminded of San Francisco’s Kerouac Alley, which runs behind the famous City Lights Bookstore — epicenter of literature’s Beat movement — and which is adorned with large, gilt-lettered pavers bearing quotes from famous authors, including line from Kerouac’s On the Road featured above. Of course I couldn’t resist stopping to snap a quick photo.
Alleys are fascinating. There’s a certain duality in them: The close proximity of the buildings offers a sense of shelter, but that very proximity provides the perpetual shade that causes us to associate alleys with danger. They’re often rough and dirty, yet there’s an air of exclusivity about them: Only those most intimately acquainted with a building — the custodians, the kitchen staff, the exterminator, the maintenance crew – are permitted to enter through the alley.
Every now and then, a door opens, offering a tantalizing glimpse into a glorious building’s less elegant secrets. Stealing a furtive glance over the shoulder of a man hurrying through one of these open doors, I feel as if I’ve just bumped into some glamorous Hollywood starlet without her makeup. The brief encounter is a privilege; it leaves me feeling as if I know my city just a little better than I did a moment ago.
When was the last time you spent a weekend getting to know Tulsa? Book a room at The Campbell Hotel — one of the city’s most beautiful and historic properties — and take some time to explore. You won’t regret it. Call (918) 744-5500 or visit www.thecampbellhotel.com for reservations.