After a two-year, $170 million expansion and renovation that was 10 years in the planning, NorthPark, that grand old lady at the northwest corner of Northwest Highway and Central Expressway, has survived her facelift. Overseen by Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, the daughter and son-in-law of NorthPark developer Raymond Nasher, the expansion of Dallas' first great large-scale mall now includes a pair of new parking garages, a 200,000-square-foot Nordstrom, a new AMC movie theater, 110 new stores in 260,000 square feet of new two-story space and a 1.3-acre garden called CentralPark. The renovation and additions maintain the sleek integrity of NorthPark's original design and don't deviate from the use of clean lines, modern architecture and signature cream-colored East Texas brick and polished concrete floors. Nasher's devotion to putting art in public spaces continues to provide NorthPark with eye-pleasing sculptures. Even with the noisy new food court (NorthPark's first), the 41-year-old mall is still airy and elegant. Hitting middle age, the lady's looking better than ever.
Our grannies may have knitted to save money, but these days a handmade sweater from a designer pattern with handspun yarn can run well into three figures. To make sure you're not dropping stitches after dropping all that dough, get to know the nice knitters working at PassionKnit in Snider Plaza. They'll start you out slowly then ease you into tougher patterns (though we'll never understand those Kaffe Fassett designs). Thursday nights you can join others for group knit-purl-gossip sessions. Besides picking up tips on the best needles (we prefer bamboo, which they sell here), you can often hear some of the best Highland Park hussy stories as you whip up that afghan. And stock up at the season-end sales, where the top-end yarns are marked down 30 to 40 percent.
One of the perks of working for the Dallas Observer is that right across the street from our soulless glass office is a rather unusual automotive service and repair shop. Advantage Tire Pros, which also specializes in brakes, shocks, alignment and minor repair jobs, has this quirky business philosophy by which they don't try to screw you once you turn over your car to them. They also stick to their quoted estimate, which is almost always better than anyone else we've tried. They do exactly what you want them to do and return your car on time. Then, in an act that should qualify them for sainthood, your car remains fixed long after you take it home. Their customer service is so friendly, you almost regret that their work is so good you won't be seeing them anytime soon.
Jerry Moreno and his son, Jordan, run this business and work together on everything from late-model roof replacements to antique restorations. Their prices tend toward the reasonable, and the work is solid. Body shops and car dealers know where to get rag-tops fixed, obviously, but it's harder for the average car owner. Repairing and replacing convertible tops is not a skill you find on every corner, especially not doing it the right way. These guys know their way around both the material and the complicated rigs that lift and lower tops these days.
Yeah, you really should get out there and scrub all that urban grime off your windows. How about doing it right now? You're not going to, are you? No, because it's a nasty job--scary, too, if you're talking second stories. So here's what you do: Call these guys. They have five trucks ranging around town. If it's not November or December (when everybody thinks of it at the last minute), they often can give you same-day service. They're fast and efficient. They clean inside and out. And they know to be careful with carpets and flower beds. Full estimate before they start. Call anytime.
You had a leaky outdoor faucet you were gonna fix. You could have called a plumber, but you figured that would cost so much you might as well just torch the joint and go for the insurance. So now you're halfway through the plumbing job. It's old jack-leg pipes and stuff. You can't finish unless you find something called a 3/4-inch galvanized nipple. You told the doofus at the big-box store what you were looking for, and he started to lift his shirt. So look: go where the plumbers go. Go to Teter's in Lakewood. They've got all that stuff. They're real nice. They deal with amateurs. And who knows? You might meet a plumber. Park on the side, where all those plumbing vans are lined up.
So what's so great about Abbott's? Consistency. You're not going to get any haute coiffure at this traditional barber. No highlights, perms, layering--none of that crap. What you do get is a friendly welcome and good conversation, and no matter whose throne you settle on, you get a sharp, slick cut finished off with an honest-to-God straight razor. And don't forget to compliment them on their nice rack--that's at least a 12-point buck on the wall.
It's short hair we're talking about, not the height of the stylist. Henri Burgos stands tall among hair-snippers specializing in close 'dos. Such concentration. Such attention to detail. He seems to cut one hair at a time and still manages to turn out a snappy chop in an hour or less. Don't be surprised if he refuses to mow off your curls unless absolutely necessary. He's been known to turn customers out of his chair if he thinks a style isn't ready for a trim. Every now and then he'll ring up to ask how the hair's doing and if the cut's holding up OK. Now, that's a man who cares about his craft. We like his personal style too. In a noisy salon populated by heavily tattooed, wildly pierced scissor-jockeys, he's the quieter, clean-cut one.
For any guy who likes women and hates Ryan Seacrest, finding a good place to get your hair cut can a cumbersome quest. On one end of the grooming spectrum are the Super Pro Clips of the world, whose sense of aesthetics is betrayed by their locations in depressing strip malls. Ten bucks with Edward Scissorhands--well, you get what you pay for. Even more annoying are the trendy hair salons who charge you 50 bucks or more to look like the third member of Wham! Occupying the lonely middle ground between these two types of establishments is Lakewood's Willie & Coote Salon, where they keep guys looking like guys, only with an appropriate dash of style. They can texture your hair--thin out the thick parts--without making you look like an anchorman. And they'll keep you neat and tidy without turning you into a slick North Dallas prick. For some of us, that's no small feat.
Forest Park Dental Care may not be the fanciest office in Dallas, situated as it is in a nondescript low-rise office park just off Interstate 635. But when something's gone south in your mouth, you don't care about landscaping or leather waiting-room furniture. You want to get in quick, you want to get fixed right and you don't want to feel a thing. That's the forte of the folks at Forest Park. Dr. Blake Williamson maintains an easy demeanor, takes care to explain things as they go and won't make you wait until next Christmas for an appointment. All that and he gives new patients free custom whitening trays too. Now open wide!

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