The ITB Insider, William Needham Finley IV (WNFIV), is a Raleigh blogger who takes on the growth and expansion of our city with quite the cantankerous, and often witty, tone. William Finley, his writings, and tweets are positioned squarely as parody. He’s been featured on local news talk stations throughout the Triangle and will be releasing a book titled “Saved By The Beltline: A WNFIV Memoir” later this year.
You’re one of the few born and bred inside of Raleigh’s Beltline. What was it like growing up ITB (Inside The Beltline)?
I’d be lying if I said everything was perfect. There was a lot of failing to live up to Dad’s expectations. I spent countless hours plotting to overthrow siblings and family members in order to be the favorite, but I’m not so sure it paid off. Outside of that, I enjoyed growing up ITB. It was the best of times, it was the best of times. There weren’t apartments being built on every corner and you actually recognized 95% of the people you saw while shopping at the Cameron Village Harris Teeter. ITB was a laid back sleepy town where families raised their kids. If you wanted something more fast paced you moved to Charlotte or DC. You eventually always moved back to Raleigh because you can’t actually live in Charlotte or DC and be happy for more than two years, or continue to have a soul.
Raleigh has seen a bit of a renaissance of late with tech firms flocking to the area. How has this changed Raleigh for the better? For the worse?
Initially I thought this was the worst thing that had ever happened in my lifetime. More companies means more jobs, which brings more people to the city resulting in overcrowded roads, restaurants, and Cameron Village parking lots. However, we now have the opportunity to make money off of these people. I haven’t figured out how yet, but when I do I’ll be able to retire within months. Has it changed for the better? Maybe. But I don’t have to like it.
Where are your favorite ITB hangout spots? OTB?
Churchill’s at Five Points and Cameron Village. When it comes to hanging out OTB, I stick to ITB satellite locations such as Atlantic Beach, Wilmington, Figure 8, and Figure 9, the secret ITB island off the coast of Beaufort. I really can’t name an actual place OTB that I would enjoy hanging out because I’m allergic to beige strip malls and chain restaurants.
Make yourself King of Raleigh for a day, what would you change?
Where do I start? Let’s see, I would remove every single new apartment building that’s been built over the last 10 years. I would permanently ban the Trolley Pub from existing and operating anywhere in the world. I would stop the Slide the City slip n’ slide cesspool from being held here next month. I would ban the Rock and Roll marathon from being held in Raleigh ever again. I would reopen the Village Subway, or what all these visitors refer to as “the Underground”, as a private club for Broughton graduates and ITBers. I could go on for days.
If you couldn’t be king of Raleigh, who would you nominate?
WNFIV. I’m the only one with the lack of integrity, social anxiety, extreme paranoia, and distrust of others who can protect this city from those hellbent on ruining our way of life.
There’s a growing movement to reclassify the definition of ITB to include the area inside 540. What are your thoughts on this movement?
I want the names and addresses of anyone who supports this idea, and I want them now. This is absurd. I’m not even going to dignify this with a response. That will never happen. At best, the area between the beltline and 540 will be considered “ITNBBSOTB” Inside the New Beltline But Still OTB.
What’s your favorite event in downtown Raleigh where they close streets for the throwdown?
The only reason to close down streets is for the Broughton Homecoming parade.
I remember the days when Raleigh closed down the streets a few times a year for the Old Reliable Run or an art festival or something. Fayetteville Street wasn’t a street, it was a brick covered “mall” that no one went to. Now we’re closing streets multiple times a day for any reason at all. It’s absurd and it needs to stop. Just because people like to run doesn’t mean we should shut down an entire city. I like to hit golf balls in my backyard. Should we shut down the city streets so I can play golf down Hillsborough Street? Actually, that’s a genius idea and I’m trademarking that. But still, my point is that we should not be closing the city streets and inconveniencing residents every single weekend. These races should just be run around the beltline.
People don’t tend to understand why the moniker Raleigh-Durham chaps so many in both cities. Why do you think that is?
Because it isn’t a real place. Raleigh is a city. Durham is a city. I blame whoever named our airport “Raleigh-Durham” because they are 100% responsible for this. Would those people like it if we said they were from Cary-Durham? No, they wouldn’t.
Who are your favorite ITB alumni?
Pistol Pete Maravich and Flash aka Jonathan C.
If Cardinal Gibbons and Needham Broughton were put inside the Octagon, who would win and why?
Needham B. Broughton would win because he would pay someone else to fight for him.
Do you consider Midtown, aka North Hills, “inside the beltline?”
Midtown, like Never Never Land and “Raleigh-Durham”, is not a real place. It is called “North Hills” and that’s the end of that. North Hills has been considered ITB ever since Bonner Gaylord annexed it to ITB about a year ago. Prior to its annexation, it was acceptable to go to North Hills as long as you drove on Lassiter Mill to get there.
When does your book come out?
This year. I swear. I know that I answered this same question in an interview from two years ago by saying, “two to three months”, but I do plan to have it done in 2015. So be on the lookout for “Saved by the Beltline: A WNFIV Memoir”.
You can read the whimsy and often hilarious writings of William Finley on the ITB Insider. Tweet with him at @WNFIV.