Comment 39161

By Gottasit (anonymous) | Posted March 26, 2010 at 12:43:18

Despite the sad history of Ricca's furniture, James N. could use an interesting furniture store more than it could another bar. Furniture stores seem to be among the disappeared in downtown Hamilton lately, and that makes me question the viability of nearby areas as residential communities. Furniture stores are where people buy . . . furniture! For their . . . homes!

I recall that for a number of years, as Montreal's Upper Plateau gentrified and vacant buildings on St. Laurent were converted into trendy condos, the street-level shop windows began to display some pretty awsome furniture. Some of it was borscht. Some of it was pretty sleek stuff by Quebec designers. Artsy. I'm guessing this furniture was selling to the trendies who moved in upstairs but didn't have mini-vans to drive to the Ikea out by the expressway.

Full service commercial districts encourage people to live nearby. Specialty commercial districts encourage people to jump in their cars and travel cross town when they need this item, and then to another area when they need that service, and then go back to their residence somewhere that generates less traffic. Major arteries become inner-city expressways that divide residents from area services. Ever noticed the long line of taxis and limos on Main W. late weekend nights as Hess Village returns to pumpkinhood? Now there's a real piece of the Hamilton cultural landscape.

But another thing I noticed on St. Laurent is the number of second-story bars overlooking the street. Moishe's, a tony, long-established steakhouse is up a flight of stairs too. Don't see a lot of that on James N. for some reason, though there are some vacant spaces that would serve the purpose. Maybe Hamilton bar patrons can't handle the stairs?

Still, people get beat up and shot in Montreal too. Hell, I was there during a Second Cup bomb threat one summer, so I figure that sometimes some brawling Montrealers must get thrown downstairs too. It's just I never see it first hand, except on Toronto/Hamilton news.

BTW, I don't get to Hess Village much anymore, but at a recent unanticipated visit there didn't seem to be any shortage of women among the clientel. Or maybe they were all Ti-Cats in drag?

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