Sunday, June 15, 2008

Make Decent Sandwiches Not Controversial Slogans

Originally uploaded by eater_ny
I take no joy in posting about the failure of a mom and pop sandwich shop. In fact there are few things I root for more whole heartedly than mom and pop sandwich shops. But this one always had a little bit of baggage associated with it in that it aligned itself with the controversial arena. At some point they took down their "Shoot Hoops Not Guns" sign from the store front but it was clear from talking with the owners when they first opened that they were looking to cash in on the impending onslaught of hungry sports fans that would soon be streaming into the nabe. Well soon wasn't soon enough and their OP-UT* cheese steaks just couldn't pay the bills in the interim.

What bummed me out more than the fact that I would no longer have access to a mediocre $8 cheese steak that takes 20 minutes to make, is the fact that this is what this neighborhood is starting to look like. Closed shops. Empty homes. Most of the apts. on my street are empty. The gas station is gone. That dance wear place sits empty. The commercial space up on Pacific and Carlton sits empty. The U-Haul lot is empty. The JRG Fashion Cafe lot is empty. New businesses don't want to open up here, even in the places that aren't in the footprint because there is so much uncertainty in the air. And even if this arena does get built there will be years of noise and dust to contend with.

I don't know what the rents are in these vacant stores but I'm guessing it got jacked up at the mere prospect of the arena, so now unless a Bank of America swoops in to claim it, it's just more blight.

So what then when this arena does finally fall through? Who will come get my neighbors to move back in? Who will help reinstall the community of artists that lived on Dean St. who had the funky array of door buzzers on the front fence. Remember those? That was cool. Who will get my mechanic back? The one it took me years to build a relationship with. Will the Carlton bridge be rebuilt? What about all these lots that dot our neighborhood? I tell ya, if anyone had asked the community for suggestions before this plan was approved, these things would have been brought up. Or maybe they were. Anyone know what the plan is?


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