15 Easy Ways the Chattanooga Choo Choo Could Be More Boujee

Chattanooga got some glowing press in a recent feature by the New York Times.  I happily forwarded the link to all of my sophisticated friends in major cities like San Francisco and Brooklyn who thought I was crazy when I announced I was moving to Chattanooga.  While the article was overwhelmingly positive, it did make some criticisms:  black families are denied home loans at staggering rates, rents increased at the 7th highest rate in the nation, and the the downtown chicken plant occasionally makes the trendy Southside smell like a festering sewer.  The article’s author, Jada Yuan, also described the Chattanooga Choo Choo as “far from luxurious.”  That was slightly disheartening to read, considering the fact that we’re already several years into the Choo Choo’s celebrated restoration.  I couldn’t help but feel a little defensive of my beloved neighborhood landmark.  But then today, as I strolled between the train cars with my kids, I had to admit that maybe the New York Times had a point…  the Choo Choo is still in pretty bad shape.  Granted, the deluge of hip new restaurants may still be a few years away.  But in the mean time, there are plenty of small scale ways the Choo Choo could up its game and be more boujee.

1.  Clean The Floors

The floors in his main thoroughfare are in terrible shape.  If you enter from the garden, this is your first impression of the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

2.  Clean The Ceilings

Replacing these roofs would be costly.  But maybe a new paint could spruce things up a little.

3.  Clean the Trains

These beautiful old trains could use an occasional scrubbing.  

4.  Clean Under the  Trains

The thick coating of grime at kid-level means I must enforce a strict ‘no touching’ policy with the trains.  That’s kind of sad when you think about it.

5.  Clean the Statues

A simple pressure-washing could restore the statues in the garden to their original glory.

6.  Remove Prison Bars From Windows

These bulky metal bars seem like they belong at a payday lender in North Georgia, not at a luxury hotel on the Southside.

7.  Get Rid of the Weird Black Curtains

These weird black curtains only draw attention to how strange the giant empty room looks.

8.  Get Rid of the Junk Behind the Weird Black Curtains

Just throw this junk away.  Then you don’t need to have the weird black curtains to hide it.

9.  Fix the Leaky Roofs

The leaky roof in the courtyard leads to puddles of murky green water that accumulate in the shadows.  Definitely not boujee.

10.  Paint the Trains

The Choo Choo’s main selling point is its trains.  But they’re in such shabby condition that the experience of seeing them is more sad than fun.  Like visiting an elderly relative in a nursing home.

11.  Remove Police Tape and Piles of Old Wood

I guess someone murdered those trees.  But do we really need the police tape?

10.  Paint Over Graffiti

Unfortunately, graffiti is a part of the urban experience.  The war may never end, but we can’t stop fighting the battles.

11.  Store Unused Maintenance Equipment Out of Sight

This ladder was left sitting inside red engine that serves as the centerpiece of  Choo Choo gardens.  It will show up in every tourist photo taken today.  Instead, unused maintenance equipment should be stored out of public view.

12.  This Smoking Area is Hideous

This smoking area outside of the residential apartments unit is the polar opposite of boujee.

13.  Remove Unseemly Barricades

I’m not sure if these orange barricades indicate a broken sidewalk or block the empty space beneath the train.  But either way, there’s got to be a more attractive solution whatever the problem is.

14.  Remove Unused Vending Machines

The Choo Choo gardens would be so much more attractive without the empty, unplugged, unusable vending machines.

15.  Remove Unnecessary Cones

Here, have a seat… next to these cones.