It turns out that there was more than enough stuff just on the block of Court Street between Schermerhorn and State to address at one time so I guess it will take me yet another day to actually make it to Atlantic Avenue.
We start my trip on the west side of Court Street just around the corner from the block on which I live. Only two establishments, but they take up the whole block. When I moved here there was a closed down and boarded up porno theater that was overrun with rats. Then there was Queen, a venerable Italian restaurant that got bought out and relocated just a block away. Still one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Family owned and managed. They build me a dynamite Rob Roy and their pasta is made to order. But, that is another story. Then there was a dive bar on the corner of Court and State called, I believe Julio II. I am not really sure because I only went in their a couple of times. It was primarily Hispanic and I was not. Pretty much a beer and a shot place. I vaguely remember the bartender being behind Plexiglas, but I am pretty sure I am just imagining that. I never went in there when I was sober. There may have been some other stuff on the block, but if there was I don't
Anyway, they tore down the whole block and replaced it with a Barnes & Noble and a United Artists multiplex theater. Of course there was the usual gnashing of teeth and neighborhood reviews that delayed the completion of this development. I guess some people actually preferred the closed-down porno theater and the rats. I did miss Queen, though. It was dark wood and somehow more comforting than the new version. Although now that my memory of that place has dimmed I like the new one every bit as much.
I pop into Barne's & Noble on occasion but, I confess, I buy most of my books from Amazon. Mostly downloaded to my Kindle. And I rarely go to a movie at the multiplex although we did go to see Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them the other day. There were about 6 of us in the whole theater at a 12:30 PM showing. But we had to select our seats when we bought our tickets. Assigned seating. But the seating chart was wrong. Anyway, we just sat where we wanted.
Okay, onto my side of the street. Next to the bank that used to be a bakery and pizza place (well, I guess you bake pizzas) is a cleaners where I seldom go since I stopped working and wearing suits and dress shirts and a Verizon store where I do buy my phone upgrades.
The most important place, for me at least, is one door down.
Zap Liquors. Who needs a wine cellar when this place is a five-minute walk away. They always have a nice selection of wines ranging in price from under $10 to, well, out of my range. Decent selections of spirits as well. I probably visit them a couple of times a week and don't even want to know how much I spend in a year. The staff are like old friends (gosh, I wonder why) and are quite knowledgeable about their wines. Sometimes they have wine tastings but I hate to go to those. I always feel obligated to buy a bottle of whatever they are pushing.
I have never been into the next four places, but it is comforting to know that they are there if I ever feel the need. Although ever feeling the need for a bubble tea is unlikely. They all seem to do a lively business. I think they get a lot of before and after the movie business and a lot of lunch business from people who work in the neighborhood.
The Stolle Bakery used to be the Szechuan Cusine. It was a very good and inexpensive Chinese restaurant with a hidden surprise. Tucked in the back was a little bar where I used to hang out with a bunch of guys and we discussed sports, local affairs, the usual stuff. Not many people knew about it and it was always the same little crowd. The bar had a bit of a Tiki feel to it, although I was probably one of the only people who drank Tiki drinks. The main bartender, Lily, was a former actress in Chinese movies and she always dressed like she was on the set. A great place. Then it just disappeared. It was there when I left to go to Mexico and when I returned it was gone and there was just a hole in the ground. The owner of the place decided to build an apartment building and rent out the ground floor. Can't blame him. As he explained to me "Less headaches, more money." Still, I miss the place and the crowd in the back never really regrouped.
Well, that is one more little stretch of my neighborhood. I will try to get us up to Atlantic Avenue tomorrow.