North Texas Daily

The ‘Bum Hole’ to some, the ‘Nook’ to others

The ‘Bum Hole’ to some, the ‘Nook’ to others

March 02
20:06 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer

@adaltoledo29

A lone figure sits above the waterworks running beneath the Nook, the space nestled between Big Mike’s and Voertman’s. He lights a cigarette and listens to music while staring blankly at the graffiti walls of the contested space.

He is joined by two students who cross the street from campus to their haven. They talk and smoke cigarettes in the place where they first met. 

Soon the Nook will pass into legend, as have many of the places that once made Fry street home to so many punks, hipsters and drifters. 

An owner in want of change

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Artist Dan Black and others have painted murals in the space since its creation. Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer

Voertman’s owner Brent Erskin’s plans to sell the property to a student housing developer, EdR Trust. He feels the Nook — or the Bum Hole, as he calls it — poses more of a problem than any artistic value. It needs to be “done away with,” he said, and there are also no plans to allow space for local artists to paint there.

“We have not talked about that,” Erskin said. “I know that there has been talk about doing some cultural references to the Voertman’s family and the legacy that they started in 1925.”

He said there is a distinction between having an artistic culture and a “trashy” culture. He recalls having to run homeless people away, breaking up fights and citing people for trespassing. He added that the tree in the space where the Nook is has been causing structural issues for the building.

Erskin said he feels the way to “clean up” the area is to further develop it.

“It’s a little strange to me that every business owner down the street isn’t jumping for joy at the 300 new customers,” Erskin said. “Everything changes, Fry and UNT are going to be different in the future. We need to get someone to make this place not look bad.”

‘Nooklers’ endangered

Erskin’s plans with EdR Trust have left many “Nooklers,” as they like to call themselves, anxious and a bit depressed. The lone figure takes a final drag from his cigarette and voices his thoughts.

“I was really angry. This is where I made all of my friends,” public relations sophomore Justin Prieto said. “Without it I would’ve been that lonely college student just Netflixing and ice-creaming by myself.”

He takes another drag from his cigarette and says Denton can’t really be Denton without the Nook and without Fry Street keeping it’s “dirty culture.” He continued, pointing at the art covering every wall, saddened it will soon be gone.

“This is completely different than when I first got here,” Prieto said. “It goes along with the rest of the city. All over you see murals and abandoned buildings with paintings on the side.”

3_Nooklers3WEB

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer

Prieto’s friend, integrative studies junior Emily Fryksater, asks for a light and chimes in on the discussion. She said she also met many of her friends at the Nook and was told by professors not to smoke on campus, but rather the “designated area” outside of campus.

She told a story, one her friends had not yet heard. They listened intently after she said she’s met random drifters at the Nook. People who train jump tell their stories, which are retold again and again because of the Nook, she said.

“Even when the street kids come up and we have conversations, they’re talking about all the places they’ve traveled and the things they’ve seen,” Fryksater said. “It’s something to discover that you wouldn’t have known beforehand.”

She said a student doesn’t really get the chance to go up to a “street kid” and talk to them about their lives, but the Nook allows those conversations to happen.

“I came here because of all the colors and loud, crazy people,” Frykstater said. “The Nook embodies the college student. It’s art. It’s trash. It’s a bunch of psychological problems. It’s a good place to discover yourself, and if they want to take this away, that’s really depressing.”

Featured Image: Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer

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