Monday, July 25, 2005

South Street
Still fun in a bazaar-like way (once I found a reliquary crucifix in the antique shops in an ex-synagogue just south of South in Sixth Street) but yesterday I noticed that each end of the big shopping part of it now has a Starbucks. That and both Book Trader and Zipperhead moving, and the longtime presence of the Gap and McDonalds, tell me that it’s no longer the city’s hip/creative centre and really has turned into the Cherry Hill Mall.

But like I said there are still bright spots. One interesting phenom is that, as it borders black neighbourhoods, there are two black-nationalist/Rastafarian and thus Ethiopian-themed shops, one of which has real Ethiopian brass and carved wooden priest’s blessing crosses and Coptic/Ethiopian icons! (Unlike Byzantine icons these have round chubby faces and come from the style of ancient Egyptian funerary art — the Copts are the ancient Egyptians.) This is a source of much potential good; perhaps the buyers will eventually learn how, like Malcolm X/Shabazz renounced the racist pseudo-Islam of Elijah Muhammad for real Islam (and got killed for it), music legend and ganja symbol Bob Marley left Rasta towards the end of his life and died a real Ethiopian Orthodox.

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