Friday, August 26, 2005

In the name of progress...

...the whole entire block of Ashley Steet, between Liberty and Williams, is going to be demolished. The city already has done the preliminaries, marking up the sidewalk with blue and yellow spray painted lines. The businesses that are renting space are on "a moment's notice" - they will have to close their doors the instant that plans are approved. At least, that's how I hear it. Of course, I am concerned about this. My favorite hangout, The Fleetwood Diner, pictured here, will be demolished. The place looks empty in this picture but it was taken at the slowest point of the day, around 5:30, when just a few regulars stop by. Believe me, the place is usually jumping.
I like to go to the Fleetwood at any hour - that's part of the charm of this 24 hour diner - but especially love it in the "wee hours of the morning" - like 3:00 a.m. or so. The bar rush is in full swing and all the "freaks" are settling in on the deck for "Hippy Hash", eggs, or a basket of fries. Just the other night, it was too hot to sleep and I went downtown to escape. I found some relatively sane friends and had a wonderful conversation until it got cool enough to sleep. I've known the day cook since he arrived in the United States at 15 years old and not speaking any English whatsoever. I've seen the waitresses get married, finish school, and get their pilots license. I've watched the "Coffee Kids" draw cartoons and drink gallons of coffee while doing so.
They say there are plans to rebuild The Fleetwood once the demolision is over and construction begins again. I can't see it being the same, but who really knows what it will be like at this point. I'm sure it will be a continuing saga on this blog.