Monday, June 25, 2007

The Devon Renaissance

The brick building on the Southeast corner of Devon and Magnolia has just been repainted. I like the new color - it's this creamy sandy straw-y yellow. It makes me think of The Sheltering Sky, Timbuktu, my pack of Camels when I used to carry one, and Dr. Livingstone frantically searching for the source of the Nile.

That color is rather fitting, since, according to Tom, the owner of the Blue Elephant, the corner space in the building will be occupied by an Egyptian place. Yes, that storefront with the door facing the corner that has for years been hiding behind vinyl letters that spelled 'Coming Soon'. I'm not exactly sure what 'Egyptian' means, but I know we are in for some falafel, and some hummus, in the very least.

I also know that this new Egyptian joint is part of the Devon Renaissance, as is Stella, and Urbanimal next door, and the newly opened Viet Bistro. There is also Dhuwan, the hookah lounge. On top of that, there are all kinds of rumours swirling around regarding the now vacant Speakeasy building.

That's a lot of new bidnis for a stretch of Devon that until recently had nothing but two funeral homes and the Babushka House - the gigantic ramshackle Section 8 building on the corner of Devon and Sheridan where everyone's Russian grandmother lives.

Now, does that mean Devon is becoming the new Montmartre/Montparnasse/West Village, or at least the new Andersonville? Hardly. We are about a hundred busy storefronts away from that. We need places that peddle everything from books to furniture. We need haberdashers and milliners, greengrocers and cobblers. We need... Wait, are those professions dead? Indeed they are, or else they are moribund. Apparently, all the old-time professions are dead, except for the undertaker, and Devon has those in spades.

One that is still kicking, though, is the florist. Even in the suburbia the supermarket has been unable to attain complete floral domination. All of us enjoy the knowledge that we can walk into a Jewel, grab a bouquet, pay expeditiously on the Osco side, and be on our way. Still, we do prefer the florist, with his wry smile and his eyes quietly passing judgement as you yet again reach for those roses.

So there you have it - a dashing young, albeit rough around the edges neibhorhood in search of a florist, to help smooth over those edges. Corner storefronts abound. Any takers?


Gordo said...

As a new work-at-home resident of the neighborhood, I'm anxiously awaiting your opening. And if any of your friends need ideas on stores to open, I think Richard Scarry's Busytown books are the perfect place to start -- they feature all those defunct professions that you just mentioned.

See you on the 6th!

Pavel Yusim said...

If only more people got their business ideas from kids' books...

Anonymous said...

there are always florists close to funeral homes..

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