I live downtown and yet almost never go the eight blocks to its very heart. An odd and …is eccentric the right word…little downtown it is. I worked there for many years managing the KiMo Theatre, a restored art deco movie house that, for awhile, was quite a thriving performing arts theater. It was never dull downtown even though the transition from being frequented by winos to horny young men and women in search of booze and each other had not yet transpired. Then, for food and entertainment there was only Lindy’s, a sort of great old-fashioned coffee shop on the corner across from the KiMo. Now there’s a multiplex with lattes and mineral water and a good Brazilian restaurant next door. Also many bars and pizza joints. The plan to make downtown a hub of arts and culture did not work out although 516 ARTS, a classy little contemporary arts gallery, does well and the KiMo seems to be okay sticking to a steady diet of classical movies. But I like it down there in a way because it hasn’t been renovated to that super cute stage. Between 1st and 8th along Central feels kind of like any one of a thousand small towns across the country that’s tarted up Main Street just enough to have an espresso bar and at least one restaurant that serves salads with field greens and cranberries. Albuquerque is a small city and not a small town, but I think it’s okay to have a vaguely old-west main street. After all we have malls and Uptown and Starbucks all over the place so our basic needs are pretty much covered and we can a afford a little funky ambiance here at the center.
Posted on July 28, 2013, in Living LIFE and tagged Albuquerque, downtown, KiMo Theatre, Lindy's. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
I haven’t really been to downtown Albuquerque since 1980. When I came out to visit I went to Old Town…I don’t care if it is considered a tourist trap I like it. I visited with you at your apartment. So that is at close to downtown as I got. My next visit I will avail myself of that tarted up area. My downtown has been on hard time for 20 years and has never attained even the tarted up version of a downtown. The busiest business is the liquor store. Does that tell you something. People lament the demise of their downtown and then spent their money everyplace but there. The secret to a thriving downtown is people spending money there. Success breeds success. Everyone looks for those silver bullets that will magically transform their downtown, this seldom happens. So we all go to big boxes and franchises and have terrible encounters with employees who don’t know anything and don’t care and give them our money for the bad experience. Mom and pop businesses are best for communities, but we really don’t want them. We want what is marketed to us.
i should have mentioned a success story, on 12th and Lomas, just up the street from my apartment, the Lowe’s (generally low-end) has gone beyond ‘tarting up’ and totally revamped its look, its service, its product lines, even sells my kind of modestly priced wine. It is VERY busy and all of us downtowners are quite happy.