Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Morning coffee

It was almost like being in New York today. Almost.

I don't know about you, but where I work and live, it doesn't feel like I'm in a real city. I'm a city girl at heart, so it pains me that while parts of my (small-ish) city are vaguely city-ish, the area immediately around my place of employment was until recently full of 1960's-1980's era high rises (well, actually small to mid rises because, let's fact it, it ain't New York). With parking garages. Interspersed with run down old car dealers or empty lots. So it's like each building was an island surrounded by a great forbidding moat of wasteland or a parking garage, and is not exactly pedestrian friendly, to say the least. And let's not even mention the unbearable heat and humidity in summer. But let's face it, people have a tendency to drive absolutely everywhere in this town.

But my city saw the light in the 1990's and imposed new codes which required pedestrian friendliness, and sidewalks, and shade trees, and mixed use, and internal/hidden parking, and street level retail space. And some areas slooowly started to come back to life a bit. But not the area right around where I work. Except for when the heady building boom of the last few years hit, and they suddenly started to fill in some vacant lots and knock down a few underperforming buildings, and....presto! There are fancy new places with fancy sidewalks and retail space.

The problem is, the retail space is mostly empty. No great revival has come, because of course the recession hit just as these buildings were being finished up. Oh sure, some of the fancy condos got sold, and some people are living in them, but there are swathes of empty, vacant windows staring out into the world.

But right across the street from my building they put in a hotel. A hotel! And it opened a couple of months ago. And we all said "but who's going to want to stay there? It's not on the beach, it's not by the shops, it's not a fancy resort or upscale business establishment, it's not right downtown near the little nightlife that there is around here." But lo and behold, I guess it is priced right or something, but there has been a steady and growing trickle of guests. And I also heard this week that they have a Starbucks kiosk in there. It's not a real Starbucks, you understand, just one of those mini "We proudly brew Starbucks" arrangements. But I was all excited. Gosh, I mean, a Starbucks right next door. I almost did a little dance.

So, even though I shouldn't, and didn't I just post about getting healthier (but, hey, it's all about balance, people - I won't do it every day), this morning I walked across the street to get a Starbucks on my way into work. I stopped in, dealt with the inept receptionist who actually forgot she was supposed to be brewing me a latte half way through and walked off to clean up the breakfast area. But once I'd got her back, finally got my beverage and walked out with my distinctive paper cup and sleeve, I felt all grown-up and citified walking the half block back to the building entrance.

It's the little things in life that please me these days...

1 comment:

calliope said...

mmmmmmm...morning coffee
it's funny what little things can make us feel so very cosmo.