We probably aren’t the only ones who have heard people muttering something along the lines of, “2016 was the worst year EVER.”
It certainly hasn’t been a year filled with cupcakes and rainbows. Charlotte saw a wave of protests in response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a CMPD officer. The Carolina Panthers didn’t make it to the playoffs. HB2 is still intact.
But Google Fiber finally arrived. Chef Jamie Lynch of 5Church made it on “Top Chef” (so we made a drinking game). And as for those cupcakes, Cupcrazed Cakery announced the opening of its first Charlotte location, set for 2017.
Here are 5 things we’ll miss from 2016:
(1) Seeing the Panthers in the Super Bowl.
Ah yes, we’ll miss that surge of excitement that burst forth across Panther Nation when the team won the NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 24. Perhaps most exciting was the fact that this was only the second time the Panthers had made it to the Super Bowl (the first time was 2003).
As Cam Newton put it: “We did what a lot of people said we couldn’t do. It’s not over yet. It’s not over yet.”
And then it was.
(2) Ryan Lochte.
Admit it, it’s fun catching sight of a 12-time Olympic medalist around town, whether at Carowinds or Libretto’s, or outside SwimMAC Carolina, where Lochte trained with coach David Marsh. We’ll no longer be keeping our eyes peeled for his … muscular frame since he broke up with Charlotte in Rio de Janeiro with an announcement that he would likely head to California at some point after the 2016 Olympics. Yeah, the Olympic scandal surrounding his lying about an alleged robbery was pretty ugly, but we don’t have a ton of celebrities in Charlotte so we have to take what we can get.
He still seems to be around for now — most recently, Lochte was seen in Charlotte on Dec. 4 with his fiancee at a Spectrum Center concert.
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) December 12, 2016
(3) The first location of South End Common Market.
This neighborhood spot closed in July for the construction of an office building that will rest between Park, Camden and Tryon. The old space was well loved, from the back patio with its decorative bathtub, to the retail wine selection, to the Good Hair Day coffee by Magnolia Coffee.
Until spring 2017, when the new South End location for Common Market is expected to open, we’ll have to make do.
(4) The concerts at the Double Door Inn.
This 43-year-old blues club has been described as “something with soul,” where national and local acts have played, from The Avett Brothers to Eric Clapton. Club owner Nick Karres has plans to sell the property to Central Piedmont Community College for central campus expansion, willingly closing the doors in January 2017.
The memories will live on with a documentary called “Live From The Double Door Inn: A Documentary.”
(5) Karaoke at the original Jackalope Jacks.
You have until February to enjoy the Jackalope Jacks location on 7th Street before it gets torn down and replaced by — you guessed it — apartments and shops. Head over for some early morning soccer, some late night karaoke or just a cold beer and a game of pool.
The good news: Jackalopes isn’t gone forever — it’ll be moving over to the building with sister spots The Rabbit Hole and Peculiar Rabbit.
As for 5 things we won’t miss from 2016:
(1) The decrepit escalators at the old Observer building.
For those of you who never got to take a ride on these escalators (only half of which actually functioned), you didn’t really miss out. And now, after 45 years at Stonewall and South Tryon streets, the former Charlotte Observer building has been demolished to make way for a mixed-use development from Lincoln Harris and Goldman Sachs.
(2) The Pokemon Go phenomenon
This is one national obsession that will never make sense to some of us. When the Pokemon Go mobile gaming app (which uses Augmented Reality, or AR, to turn cities into hosts for Pokestops at which Pokemon could be collected) was released this summer, you couldn’t walk around the busier areas of town without seeing the app in action. People of all ages, some dressed in costumes, stared at their phones in parks and coffee shops and on sidewalks, aching to find that next Pokemon.
Let’s move on.
— DPScience (@discoveryplace) July 11, 2016
(3) The 2016 Panthers fiasco.
Must we really go into this? Nine players were placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Ryan Kalil had a shoulder injury, the team parted ways with four of last year’s starters, Cam Newton completed a career-low 53.5 percent of his passes — and the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs.
(4) Negative attention directed toward the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
It was no secret that the water channels at the U.S. National Whitewater Center were closed in June after the detection of a waterborne amoeba suspected in the death of a teen who had visited. The center reopened its water channels later in the summer, complete with “three overlapping systems to kill or disable disease-carrying pathogens.”
But attendance fell at the center, and negative comments floated on the internet about water quality and fear of getting back in the water.
Here’s to a new year for the gem of the USNWC, with its more than 20 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, its Whitewater Film Series, its festivals and more.
(5) Charlotte Marathon’s old branding.
The Novant Health Charlotte Marathon kicked off in November after 11 years of holding down the name “Thunder Road.”
“We have always been proud to be Charlotte’s marathon, and what better way to honor our hometown race than by naming it after our great city,” Race Director Tim Rhoades said in a release.
A great city indeed. Let’s see what 2017 brings.
Photos: David T. Foster III, Corey Inscoe, Michael Gordon, Katie Toussaint