The following paragraph was written a year ago exactly. I have not revisited the blog in progress since then, for a variety of reasons – personal loss, stress, life in general. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“We are all familiar with the fame clock. That clock that counts down your fifteen minutes of fame. I think my clock is a little over that time. I added a few more seconds yesterday, although it was for the 4:00 news, so maybe that only counts half. The media has been running some fairly negative press about the economic outlook for the Short North, emphasizing the empty storefronts and diminished sales and increase in shoplifting. Our NBC affiliate decided to do a more upbeat take and came down looking for some good news. The fact of the matter is it is not all bleak out there. Some businesses go out, others go in. Business is off from last year, but last year was incredibly good. So the cycle continues.”
Fast forward a year and the fame clock is still ticking. The New York Times ran a lovely article on the Short North last Sunday, in which I was quoted. Our local CBS affiliate picked up the story and did a fabulous, upbeat story on the neighborhood, in which I appeared. I am also in a WOSU (local PBS affiliate) documentary about the neighborhood, which aired for the first time last week. They are doing six documentaries on city neighborhoods – it just happened that the Short North was the first in the series.
Those vacant storefronts from a year ago are filled. Even the food service spaces. The store fronts that emptied just after the holidays are also filled. Brown paper and new signs abound. One space, formally retail is going restaurant. Actually, the one restaurant is taking three spaces, 2 retail, one office. Concerning, but not fatal, as far as the fragile mix goes. A jean store went out, a jean store goes in. A futon place goes out – another jeans store goes in. A clothing store goes out, a boutique goes in. It is all good. It is all new. And old. The clock ticks for us all.
The Columbus Dispatch had a small tip of the hat to the Short North this morning based, again, on the Times article. The author reflected that it is so great to see recognition from the outside, and bemoaned the lack of appreciation in the old hometown. This is a valid concern and one that I always have. We are here because of Columbus. We will stay because of Columbus. We can not survive without local support. Yes, we are not the same place as back in the ’80s. Back when we were young and hip. You do not stay young and hip forever, as much as you may want to. You get married, have kids, a mortgage, a garden. The things that anchor you to a time and a place. You need to remember, when you want to have a night out, we are here, so long as you keep coming to visit. So long as you use us as a resource, for culture and cuisine, inspiration and a tiny bit of dissipation, unique and fabulous gifts for yourself and for others.
The Gallery Hop is still going after 25 years. We are still here after 30 years. Watching the clock tick, the seasons and faces change. The Short North really is an amazing neighborhood. I am honored and proud to have been able to see the changes from my store front window, looking west down Buttles Ave.