Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where Do I Put Magazine Notes?

Among the things I like about Shelfari is the ability to note quotations that speak to me. But what of the good bits of The New Yorker? I guess I have moved beyond filling blank books with tidbits, so here I am circling back to the neglected blog.

The February 11 and 18 issue includes the beginning of a memoir Joseph Mitchell began. He jumps right into reflections on parts of the city he's haunted, experienced. A long paragraph lists things (old hotels, old markets) that draw him to them, including,

I am also strongly drawn to a dozen or so old buildings, most of them on lower Broadway or on Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Twenties and Thirties, that once were department-store buildings and then became loft buildings or warehouses when the stores, some famous and greatly respected and even loved in their time and now almost completely forgotten, either went out of business or moved into new buildings farther uptown.

Yes. Before we went to the Eastern Shore, I reviewed Lost Communities of Virginia (a book I just adore), and then I watched Capeville (the featured community) and similar places come and go up route 13. I keep describing it as a rhythm: isolation, railroad brings connection, cars rise, isolation settles as the main road skips the town, or simply makes a stopover unnecessary. Every town had a tiny, beloved (perhaps) store, car dealer, factory, bank -- and now they are completely forgotten in favor of the Dollar General, Food Lion, and Suntrust. When I poke around Richmond history, I wonder what made Miller & Rhoades, say, special. Perhaps the answer is nothing -- it's just the one that I saw fade in its downtown location, shiny in the suburbs, then go out of business. Someone two generations older than me knew other places that did this (even if she knew M&R, too).

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