Avenue of Broken Dreams
by Ed (Broadway Baby) Feldman
Fall at its' most iridescent. Some things change, while some stay the same. The foliage falls (don't say it) into the first category, with an anti-Al Gore chill making trees run up their yellow surrender flags. The Hill Fall for the Arts Festival falls into the latter, with a sameness so comforting to the Culturally Frozen and so stifling for anyone with a functioning memory of so many identical events.
But amidst the relentless sameness of the usual suspects' third rate trinkets and Kettle-Corn-Funnel-Cake-Carbo-Quaaludes, how many noticed that rarity of rarities, a New Hill Commercial Tenant?
Yes, in the old Express property, the shop girl's synthetic uniform supply company, now dwells a much more flamboyant purveyor of reasonably priced apparel.
Halloween Adventure, where all the Hillers with secret Super Hero and Fantasy Fetishes can now shop and, later, don their alter ego outfits in private. After the economics lesson, I'll start to match the local celebs with their costumes for Halloween, or Whatever. And you kids can all join in too!
Halloween Adventure is a store whose annual existence begins a few weeks before its eponymous Holiday, and ends, at the latest, after New Years, the better to supply Santa and Sexy Elf costumes during that time of year when the number of drunken revels increases the amount of casual sex with provocatively dressed co-workers and acquaintances by a factor of nine.
The store then vacates its location until the following September, with rare exceptions, like neighborhoods with high numbers of budget-minded tranvestites, with tastes for shoddy Chinese Exports. (That Rarest of Demographics).
Most every H. A. functions as Commercial-Squatter, Rent-Paying Bottom Feeders, who scavenge temporarily in vacant properties that have no hope of a viable, long term tenant.
Keep your eyes open kids. Where have you seen H.A.'s? Half vacant Strip Malls, places where the Plant Shut Down, near where the guys stand and wait for someone to pick them up for yard work.
H.A.'s aren't signs that the Buzzards are circling, they ARE the buzzards.
Remember L'il Richie Snowden's Signs? The ones that advertised his vacant proprties as available for "Check Cashing, Discount Electronics, and Nail Salons? He meant those signs as a Racist Scare Tactic to punish the Hill for its' non-fealty to his Authority, its' questioning of his Grand Plans, and its' occasional criticism of his Middle Aged Tantrums and Tax Schemes.
But even I didn't think he meant to rent to tenants who would, in his words, "turn Chestnut Hill into a Ghetto." After all, why would His Whiteness live in the most pigmentally-challenged neighborhood in Philadelphia if he wanted to hear car radios blaring something with a bass line?
But even without any real attempt at rental eugenics by Strip Mine Dick, the first line has just been crossed.
All those years of his self-enforced vacancies, of renting to banks but not restaurants, of antique and gimcrack stores that depended on visitors for survival, while commodities for residents were bought elsewhere.
The Panic by the weak Hill Biz crowd that followed Dirty-Coal Boy to board autonomy should have told you something. If they weren't desparate, their real opinions of him would have kept them home, and busy behind their counters. Now you can see the daily, physical manifestation in all its Dracula-like Horror: Halloween Adventure = Depressed Area.
All the Kettle Korn in the World won't help.
'Til next time, send in your suggestions for Costume Selection for Your Favorite Hillers. I'll have mine.
And More Fall Festival Follies with Ed, Rob Remus, Sanjiv Jain, the Hillers who Shun. Like the Amish but with Cable.