“The Buzz About Marfa Is Just Crazy”

New York capitalists sipping cappucinos with Houston superlawyers, Hollywood fashionistas enjoying works by Icelandic artists. Boutique motor courts, day spas, and grandiose openings. Yes, the West Texas town has become a playground for the urban jetset, and its future has never looked brighter. Or stranger.

WHEN THE EARLY COWBOYS and ranchers got their first good look at the Marfa Plateau—the rich grasslands 4,830 feet above the desert, surrounded by far-off mountains and domed by a vast sky that made them feel both grand and puny at the same time—you’d like to think they were struck gloriously dumb. To be precise, you’d like to think they reacted as F. Scott Fitzgerald imagined the seventeenth-century Dutch sailors did when they came upon the American shore. “[F]or a transitory enchanted moment,” Fitzgerald famously wrote in The Great Gatsby, “man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent … face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”Realtor Michael McGraw, who discovered Marfa for himself in 2004, says he knows all about that feeling: “The moment I got to Marfa, I said, ‘This is going to be the next hot spot. And I want to be part of it.’” McGraw, a former Las Vegas restaurateur (he was the general manager of Spago and the Coyote Cafe), came to Marfa with his partner, Kimberly Newman, for an art opening in April; two days later they bought an old 3,200-square-foot Army quartermaster’s building and are now converting it into a boutique salon and day spa. It will be called the Lucky Star. “I’ve never been so excited about anything in my life,” he says.

McGraw

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