by Brian Clarey

1. Dim sum restaurant

There’s plenty to do and see here in the Triad, but there are some things going on in other cities that have yet to make it here. One of them is a dim sum restaurant, serving up all manner of those Hong Kong-style dumplings that you can buy five for a dollar on the streets of New York City. We did have a place in Greensboro that sometimes served dim sum, and there are a few buffets in the Triad with dim sum-like items. But the closest dim sum restaurant is in Raleigh; I try to get out there every couple of months.

2. Comprehensive public transit

Yes, we have bus lines that cover some of our neighborhoods. The Amtrak runs through. And there’s a PART bus connecting the cities. But let’s get real: A good public transportation system means that you can get by — really get by — without owning a car. A commuter rail running on the existing train tracks between Greensboro and Winston-Salem would be a really good start.

3. Celebrities

After the passing of Maya Agelou, we lost not only one of the most beloved and powerful voices of the nation, but one of the few celebrities living in the Triad. Fantasia left for Charlotte. Peter Bogdanovich left after he finished his term at UNC School of the Arts. At least we’ve still got Daughtry.

4. Ramen restaurant

If you think I’m talking about the nickel-per-package, MSG-laden, low-rent noodle famously favored by college students and the creative underclass, you’re part of the problem. A proper ramen restaurant serves house-made noodles and broth, with accouterments like sliced meat, fresh veggies, greens, whole eggs and more. There’s plenty of pho in these parts, but no real ramen.

5. Artist live-work spaces

Everybody else is doing it: Creating affordable public housing and studio space for local artists. And we have done it: PS 211 in Winston-Salem started out as a live-work artist collective before evolving into Krankies. Elsewhere in Greensboro, too.

6. Juice bars

I love fresh juice — I’m talking beets, kale, ginger, carrot… the works — and there are maybe three places in the entire Triad that I know of where I can get one. And I’ve done the research. We don’t even have Jamba Juice, except for a lone location on the campus of UNCG.

7. Skyscrapers

We have tall buildings in the cities of the Triad, but we don’t have skyscrapers. Winston-Salem has the tallest towers in the Wells Fargo Building at 460 feet and the Winston Tower at 410 feet. The tallest building in Greensboro is the 374-foot Lincoln Financial Building. By contrast, Charlotte has eight buildings taller than any in the Triad, the tallest being the Bank of American Building at 871 feet.

8. A waterfront

We have plenty of lakes around the Triad, but no public beach areas around any of them. What’s up with that? But just because we’re landlocked doesn’t mean we can’t have waterfronts in our cities. They dug a river through downtown Oklahoma City, and now the place is booming! I’ll admit that when they proposed this in Greensboro in the early 2000s, I thought it was ridiculous. But I’m coming around.

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