I went for a walk through downtown Nantucket on Saturday. Every time I do that it’s more clear how fast things change. I’m as susceptible to nostalgia as the next guy, so seeing my childhood slip away into oblivion is not terribly fun. Our childhood movie theater is in limbo, closed for the last few years as everybody tries to get a piece. Who knows what will be there when the building reopens.
There is no music store on the island anymore. With the advent of internet shopping and piracy, people can’t be bothered to sort through the dusty bins underneath a sushi restaurant. Wrall and I bought some of our most influential music there, trusting Charlie to order rare imports and reissues for us before ebay and amazon. Miss Fairchild succumbed too, releasing our last EP as a digital-download only. (Sorry ’bout that.)
Mostly, it’s utilitarian shops run by locals that are turned into tourist trap places. Nowadays, Nantucket has become so overblown financially that these shops aren’t even affordable to window shoppers. Our childhood hardware store was cut into tiny shops selling expensive luggage, and yellow sweaters, and t-shirts that say “I am the man from Nantucket.” As a man from Nantucket, I can tell you that I’m fairly ashamed of all that. Observe:
You know how businesses of the same type crop up right next to one another? When it’s a whole neighborhood of Chinese restaurants, that makes sense to me. People of a similar culture want to be near one another. Create a home away from home and all that. Also, there is convenience for the patron. You want Chinese food? Go to the corner of whatever and whatever.
What about other examples of this? Putting two pharmacies next to one another doesn’t make a whole lot sense, but it happens. My whole life they were there, adjacent to one another: both having soda fountains, card sections, sunglass racks and a drug counter. Their layouts were the same, their square footage identical. They both had the same lettering on the outside of the building. It made no sense that there were two.
But to know that one of them is gone hits close to home. And a jewelry store in it’s place? How you gonna go to school like that? Of course, if really need an egg cream and a tuna melt, there’s always… next door.