The hardware & stationery stores of my dreams are not the Lowes & Staples of this world, but small premises crammed to the gills with useful and arcane goods: a zillion kinds of screws and bulbs, keys and locks, slightly ugly kitchenware, old-fashioned ledgers, receipt books, narrow lined notepads of every shape and size. They should smell of paint, potting soil, metal and ink. A well-stocked stationery business is a rare beast these days, but you can still find a good independent hardware store in most parts of the city. For now.
Ridge Hardware makes me happy just looking at it, with its striped canvas awning, and its signs in the window that look like they've seen a lot of time go by. A million items is a grand, bold claim, but the other Be Safe sign is the one I like best, with the crime-fighting Batman & Robin up at the top, & all your needs for chains, alarms & gates there to be met. It was made for Gotham City, not the pallid Bloomberg vision of box stores, condo towers, and 7-Elevens. That promise of jimmy proof locks is hardware poetry, & seeing it made my day.