While a gospel choir from a church in West Dallas sang, I dug into my salad of grilled Texas peach, arugula, and Paula (Lambert)’s fromage blanc. I couldn’t find my husband. He’d finished his sweet summer corn bisque and gone to get a drink from Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, who was holding court at the bar. The wind picked up and the crowd collectively sighed. We were sitting in the middle of Dallas’ newest park, the Continental Avenue Bridge, which used to be a motor vehicle bridge until its neighbor (the Large Marge) opened in 2012. Sunday, the Continental Bridge opened to pedestrians and cyclists. We were there for the Gospel Brunch, which was part of the Trinity River Revel‘s bridge opening celebrations. It was around 12:30 p.m., and though the sun wasn’t at full force, it was out. And it was hot. But the breeze felt great, and the venue couldn’t be beat.
As I moved on to my main course—a poached egg with summer tomatoes and Béarnaise on a piece of Empire Baking Company’s challah—chef and chair of the event Sharon Van Meter came by to refill my water. Gail Thomas, president and CEO of the Trinity Trust Foundation, made her way down the row of chairs, greeting guests. Chef Janice Provost prepared dishes while servers from El Centro Community College and various restaurants around town served them.
I watched half my table Instagram photos of the long table with wildflowers in Mason jars as centerpieces before I joined in. Bicyclists walked around the tables full of 475 brunchers, little kids looked over the edge, and for one minute, everything was right in Dallas.
And then someone said it: “Ya know, this reminds me a lot of the The High Line.” I sighed. Yes, just like the High Line in New York, it’s a park built on a bridge. It’s concrete and drought-resistant shrubbery. There’s a water feature and benches. It’s groovy and urban. But we’re not New York, and it isn’t the High Line. It’s the Continental Avenue Bridge, open to pedestrians, cyclists, and dogs. (The High Line doesn’t allow dogs!) I’m proud of what Dallas has done with it. I made the point about dogs, and returned to my honey lemon cake with blueberries. Then my husband, who finally made his way back, and I wandered around the mile-long park, taking in the playground area, benches, and soon-to-be shaded areas (the hope is that vines will grow on structures, thus providing shade).
We returned a few hours after the feast for the Big Band dance and campfire party. We were just two of the 8,500 people who witnessed the Continental Avenue Bridge’s possibility on Sunday. I can envision more gospel brunches happening on the bridge. And more dancing under the stars. And lots of unprogrammed fun after dinner at Trinity Groves.