Ice rinks top attractions in desert holiday outings

Ice skating and festive lights mark the start of the holiday season in El Paso in two popular locations. WinterFest is an ongoing event in the Downtown Arts Festival Plaza and surrounding areas featuring lights, food, holiday shopping, festivities and  an new outdoor ice skating rink located near the Plaza Theatre. “As San Jacinto Plaza once again lights up for the winter season, we wanted to enhance the downtown visitor’s experience and create a new holiday tradition,” said Bryan Crowe, General Manager of Destination El Paso. WinterFest runs until Jan. 8.

Cafe Central thrives as El Paso’s downtown regenerates

Downtown revitalization has brought many changes to the central part of the city. The construction has brought street closures, orange barrels and headaches for businesses, visitors and motorists. But the renovations and demolitions haven’t kept one local business from flourishing. “We definitely increased in business,” said Café Central Assistant Manager Juan Franco. “ The last two years, business has gone up 45 percent.”

The restaurant is open six days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It’s busiest days are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and their busiest time of day is after 5 in the afternoon.

Food truck park growing clientele in Downtown El Paso but still facing challenges

EL PASO — Until recently, Lydia Palacios could not remember the last time she had been downtown. A lifelong El Paso resident, Palacios said downtown was more a childhood memory than a current event. “My father would take us on the bus downtown and take us to Kress to eat lunch,” said Palacios referring to S.H. Kress & Co., the five-and-dime with a lunch counter on the northwest corner of North Oregon Street and Mills Avenue. On her way to a doctor’s appointment on a recent Monday in June, Palacios said she and her husband, Sergio, were doing something they had not done in many years – lunching together downtown. The two sat at an umbrella-covered table waiting for the fish tacos they had ordered from The Reef Mobile Kitchen, a food truck on Mills Street that serves seafood Mexican fare.

Mural at the Stanton Street Bridge in downtown El Paso. (Sergio Chapa/Borderzine.com)

Last stop, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

I’m going to admit now. There is no way to describe El Paso in a single blog but I’ll try my best. With close to one million residents, El Paso is the biggest city on the Texas side of the border. But it’s also filled with many contrasts making it one of the most complex and intriguing. The border city is home to four international bridges and one international railroad crossing.

Giving a voice to immigration reform

EL PASO – Downtown vendors stood motionless at the doorways of their stores and shoppers stopped in their tracks on an early afternoon in April. Only the faint protest of marchers could be heard heading up El Paso street, but with each step closer their voices became strong and loud. “Sí se puede. Yes we can!” they shouted, “Obama, escucha, estamos en la lucha (Listen Obama, we are in a struggle).”

BNHR, based in El Paso, is a human rights advocacy organization that is primarily active in immigration and border policy. The group which represents 700 families, helped organize this event, in addition to several others around the city.

The total cost of demolition, construction, and relocation of City Hall is expected to between 85 and 100 million dollars. (Paul Reynoso/Borderzine.com)

The demolition of City Hall and the rise of a new ballpark are already giving downtown El Paso a new identity

EL PASO – In the coming months, downtown El Paso’s skyline will change dramatically as the City Hall building is expected to be demolished to make way for a new Triple-A ballpark that will open next year. But once demolition commences on City Hall and construction of the ballpark begins, the effects will be felt by downtown local businesses and streets that are adjacent to the City Hall area. The Insights Museum on N. Santa Fe St. is just one of many businesses that has already been greatly affected by the major changes. The museum, which first opened in 1980, has cleared out and has been closed for several weeks now.

The Urban Art-Fitters League of El Paso working on "Winter wonderland" at Fourth St. (Iris Lopez/Borderzine.com)

Local artists intend to beautify downtown El Paso one alley at a time

El PASO – Sun City artists are showcasing their art in the sun. The main goal of the Urban Art-Fitters League of El Paso is to beautify the streets of downtown El Paso, one alley at a time.  Their theme is to “make love not war.”

After a tragic car accident took the lives of Jeannette Lazaro and Evalynn Rose, both close friends of Silver IsReal, he found a way to deal with the grief and keep the spirit of both girls alive. With this concept in mind, he and Carlo Mendo cofounded the Urban Art-Fitters Street Gallery project. “Make love not war was the last thing that Jeanette wrote on her mirror before she passed away, and it is something that I keep really close to my heart. I wanted to keep her and Evalynn’s spirit alive so I started the ‘Make love not war’ project” IsReal said.