Tuesday, March 12, 2019
A corner grocery at Fourth & 11th closed a while back, and now the space is getting a makeover. With the vinyl awning of the last business gone, older grocery/delicatessen signs have emerged in the panels above the store's windows.
The building itself - a mixed-use apartment building with a corner store - was constructed at the end of the nineteenth-century, between 1888 and 1898, and is of conventional design for the period. Buildings like these are solid, handsome staples of the city's streets, but we usually take them for granted. They're functional. We have priorities. We're unlikely to glance at their exteriors as we hurry in for milk or beer or cigarettes. And besides, many of their original features have long gone into hiding. I'd passed this building many times before today, and admired the delicate decorations around the upper floor corner windows but I don't think I'd ever really looked at the outside of the store before today. The disappearance of the awning seemed to reveal not just the older window signs but also details of the entryway. Or maybe the details were always there and I'd never noticed.
It's a funny business, the timing involved in catching a landscape's minor shifts & turns. They're there, they're gone again, in a week, a day, an hour. We're onto them. We're looking the other way, or lost in thought, or staring at a stupid screen. I like to think I'm observant - I'm greedy as a magpie for shiny details - but mostly it's luck. I like it that way.