IMAGINE VENICE--When Crayola can kick a color like the beloved ‘dandelion’ to the curb, how can we whine about the oh-so-much less monumental changes in our beloved Venice?
If an iconic crayon color like dandelion can be replaced by some new new — some yet unnamed ‘amazing’ blue, should it worry all believers that no tradition is essential to maintaining culture?
Should we be surprised much less alarmed when some soul-less entity kicks (ok, pressures) some old tenant out of her rent-stabilized ocean view apartment for their office demands? Is it just ‘the times?’ Is it just the new new taking its rightful place? If we are no longer Venice but ‘Silicon Beach’ what else should we expect? What else should we accept? Is it true, that we must accept ‘change’ or be left behind? Is it just that we need to ‘get with it.?’
The last piece of authentic Abbot Kinney street culture is counting down to its last day. When Abbot’s Habit closes, we will lose a big chunk of Venice’s heart and soul. This old grungy coffee shop resisted the pressures all these years to doll itself up with some computer-generated millennial decor. There’s NO glitz at Abbot’s. It has remained local in touch and feel, actually serves up decent coffee and honest-to-Godreal bagels — you won’t find one of those Ralph’s air filled pieces of dough sold at Abbot’s.
Soon we won’t have our authentic eccentric hang-out that welcomed all comers. No longer will you see your neighbor’s dogs tied up outside patiently waiting for a treat. No longer will you experience the true comfort of recognizing person after person early in the morning pass by when you walk over to pick up breakfast or sit down with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. No longer will you get to experience what Venice is all about at its core — a true community with a real sense of place. We’re not The Grove. We are real, not some corporation-generated faux community. Abbot’s Habit is real. You fit right in at Abbot’s, no questions asked — no matter who you are — or what you look like.
Everyone may not ‘know your name’ at Abbot’s but you know you belong there. Ask yourselves, where will you go when it closes — where you belong — really belong?
Is change always good? Maybe change is inevitable, but is it good? That is the anthem sung by the landlords, developers and architects as they raise the rents and pitch their over-size built-to-the-max project. Maybe we need to re-write the words to that anthem.
(Marian Crostic and Elaine Spierer are Co-founders of Imagine Venice)