Thursday, September 13, 2007

An auspicious beginning

I thought about beginning the blog with a big post about the "journey" that the publishing of my book has been...but, bleah. Instead I will begin with a note that will be of interest to the smallest of groups: a subset of Manhattanites, the Upper West Siders. I am informed that "Homemade by Kitchenette," an amazing bakery, is closing because the landlord wants to rent out the store space to his relatives. The other store belonging to his relatives, next door, houses exquisitely ugly knitted creations. I imagine the new store, which will occupy space previously housing chocolate/vanilla-cream-filled cupcakes, lemon meringue pielets, chocolate mousses, and gigantic cakes of carrot or red velvet or German chocolate and all other manner of baked goodness, will now showcase something like your great-aunt makes, something at which you smile and say, "oh, my, look at that" because you can't think of anything kind.

I have a thing for sugar. Forgive me.

Unfortunately this knitted-awfulness store follows a trend that is growing on the Upper West Side: Food places being replaced by Stores Selling Uselessness. Now, I have nothing against the occasional nail salon, cell phone store, or niche "we sell only hats and umbrellas!" places. But I resent having to walk ten blocks to pick up an emergency frozen pizza, when I used to walk two, and have to walk beside these windows advertising Nothing We Need.

Rents are high in Manhattan. I get that. Landlords want to capitalize on this and get as much as they can. New business owners, flush with the dream of no longer working for The Man [thus becoming The Man themselves--well, plural, The Men...making it politically correct, and all-inclusive, The (Wo)Men] are eager to shell out whatever they have to in order to make dreams into reality. They're still covered by the small business loan, so it'll be fine! No, people. This is what got us into the subprime mortgage mess. It needs to stop. We need stores that sell things we need. Food. Maybe more laundromats. No more cell phone stores, no more "it looks homemade but really it's mass produced so your necklace will be the exact same as your coworker's" jewelry stores, no more sky-high-price clothing stores whose clothes are really not that cute or well-made, certainly not enough to justify a $200 tag on a blouse I could make at home on a borrowed sewing machine with skills learned in 7th grade Home Ec. (actually, maybe I couldn't. Seems to me I had to have a friend help me on all my projects... and when I say "help," I mean "do it for me." Thanks, Gayle!)

I digress. A long post to mourn the closing of a small store. Kitchenette, we will miss you.

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