It’s been less than a year since JJ’s Market closed and I still miss that funky little shop where you could get coffee drinks named for James Brown or Schopenhauer, or any one of more than a dozen craft or imported beers—including Dirty Dick’s Ale—as well as candy from Japan and local handmade mugs.
I’ve avoided walking down that way for months so I missed that the block where JJ’s stood has been completely razed to the ground. It wasn’t just JJ’s but also the former Noshville Delicatessen, where you went if you were in the mood for chopped liver.
The destruction must have happened in less time than it takes an espresso to get cold. Pokeweed and sweetgum bushes have grown large in the cleared earth, and been left long enough to spread seeds which, hopefully, will find another place to grow.
I’ve seen the neighborhood change significantly. Single-level restaurants have closed, been knocked down, and replaced with high-rise apartments. Something I never thought about until I went for a walk one afternoon was that, on a particular stretch of sidewalk, the sun didn’t warm my face like it used to, because now there are buildings in the way. They’re not tall enough to be skyscrapers, but they are tall enough to be skyblockers.
One block over from JJ’s and Noshville there was a barbecue place. Every Sunday the owner would serve a free meal in the parking lot. He did it to help the homeless people in the area, but anyone who wanted to was welcome to come and eat. Then the restaurant closed and the whole building was knocked down. It’s all a parking lot now.
I know change is inevitable, and I take some hope in seeing that the neighborhood hasn’t completely lost its sense of humor.