There's a hole. In my life. Where the food carts once lived. Where people worked making food that they sold to other people.
Finnegan's and the downtown community are bereft of our city's oldest food cart pod; the vibrant marketplace known as the Alder Street Food Carts is now no more.
Tourists and locals alike have been inquiring as to their whereabouts.
What we know is that they had to evacuate by midnight yesterday, and were given a firm 30-day notice after months of "sometime this summer."
We also know they are currently housed in the post office parking lot in the north park blocks. (As of this posting, we're not sure if and when they'll be serving up grub, but we're told the north park blocks are designated as the new locale). Some have moved to Cartlandia, some to 2nd and 5th Avenues, and certainly other pods have subsumed still others.
We've heard, too, that 9th Avenue may be closed to vehicles, and could become a food-cart-laden pedestrian-only corridor...
In the meantime: construction.
The block is slated to become a 35-story, five-star hotel.
Finnegan's moved to this corner eight years ago, a change most of our customers were less than thrilled about. Moving is change. And change can be a good thing...
We will miss the delicious smells (a few of those we won't miss). And we hope the new location has plenty of garbage receptacles--and what if they actually have seating!
Foot traffic is certainly down this morning.
We will miss the lunch crowd.
We already miss the food.
With O'Bryant Square closed (aka Paranoid Park) across the street on Washington, there's even less of a sense of community. And I seriously doubt a hotel will bring that feeling back. Though, to be sure, there will be money trickling down from that tall tower, into various outlets and governmental agencies.
If Pioneer Square is "the city's living room," we felt a bit like the family room, here, on this corner with the carts and the now-defunct park.
Community is people plus place, assembled--often organically--in a way that matters.
Long live the Alder Street carts, in their diaspora.