Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Freidman's Shoe Store "Butt Glass" Is Butt Ugly On West Broadway...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

First, a caveat: the Friedman's shoe store on West Broadway is a treasure in our neighborhood, a family business which has passed through, what? Three generations of Friedmans? I think it's three. And they have an amazing variety of shoes there, to the point I want to take numerous pictures because I've never seen shoes like that, except in movies and on television. People WEAR this stuff? What kind of OUTFIT do they wear? And how many tropical birds will have to lose their feathers to support such human vanity?

If a pimped out Cadillac could be a shoe, it would fit right in with some of the more spectacular footwear for sale at Friedman's. Really, some time if you're having a good stiff drink at the Zombie Den, rubbing elbows with Alexis of the Sexes, maybe, and you make your way up West Broadway to check out the music at Fourth Street Saloon on Wednesday nights (but not every Wednesday) you might want to swing by just to behold, just to lay your eyes upon the totally unique shoe selection.

But, unfortunately, none of that is why I'm writing this post. Let's talk Plexiglass, shall we? Let's talk about BUTT UGLY, WORN AND CLOUDY AND YELLOWED...

...NASTY ASS PLEXIGLASS. These windows are, as the Apostle Paul said, a glass through which we see, darkly, and the Friedman's "butt glass" is a fine match with slumlord Keith Reitman's "ugly ass chocolate brown building" on the other end of West Broadway, or the old "butt fence" or "butt wall" which used to be a problem at Merwin Liquors, but is no longer a problem.

And thank God for that. God and Merwin Liquors. Merwin Liquors is far from perfect, but they sure did fix loitering-on-the-wall issue in a big way, and for that reason I patronize them about equal with Broadway Liquor Outlet. (BLO)

In contrast, odds are slumlord Keith Reitman will never get a clue and make the exterior of his "ugly ass chocolate brown" building look nice because, well, he's Keith Reitman and he hardly takes care of his own PERSONAL appearance.

Not that I'm the most snappy dresser in the world, mind you, but I know enough to grow a beard or shave, to not stay in that scruffy, indefinite, itchy, hairy in-between face place. Keith Reitman paint his building nice? That's a laugh. The man barely shaves his own CHIN.

But back to Friedman's and their "butt glass." First of all, Friedman's recently fixed a bunch of stuff on their facade, using facade improvement funds. But they left the ugly yellowed glass exactly as it was, much of it covered in a profusion of stickers to the point if somebody was being mugged out in front of the store, well, would you be able to SEE THAT from the inside? I have my doubts.

And, you know, it's been mentioned to Friedman's. Pointedly. I know of movers and shakers who have mentioned it to them, but no improvement happens. Things go on as before. Revitalization sometimes creeps forward on West Broadway, sometimes it steamrolls forward, but there at the Friedman's store it is a fly in ancient amber. So what happens when there's a revitalization item on the collective agenda, and it stays stuck for a long time and doesn't move forward? Well, pretty soon somebody starts talking to Johnny Northside and saying, in effect, "You know what? Sic 'em. Just let 'em have it. They're not going to change until it's in the public eye and being discussed all over the internet."

So guess what? In between trying to dig up the addresses of all the Level Three sex offenders in North Minneapolis, and reveling in the sinking of the property pirate vessel Paul Koenig, I'm going to make it my business to talk about the ugly Friedman's "butt glass" and how it needs to change.

And, needless to say, I won't be buying shoes at Friedman's or encouraging anybody else to buy shoes there. But should you browse that place? Oh, yes, you should. Some of those shoes, they are an amazing artifact of our civilization.


Anonymous said...

Dyna sez:

I'd suggest you go easy on Friedman's- they've stuck it out in Hawthorne through the worst crime wave in city history and they're still here serving us. I suspect they put in the plexi windows for security reasons and can't afford to replace them now.

In general, it's not a good idea to jump on people over cosmetic issues with their property when they're keeping up with the important stuff like wiring, etc.. Jump on them too hard and they'll leave and the property and neighborhood will be far worse off.

Anonymous said...

I bought a pair of shoes there 3 years ago. You need not be into the funky sadillac pervertable* look to find a good deal, either.

*credit Fire Sign Theater....

Agree about the window. Lets get it up to the Kaplan Bros. standard, anyhow.

M. Clinton said...

I completely recognize that Friedman's has stuck it out on W Broadway when others have not. Kudos for that! However, cosmetics do not always cost a lot of $$. I would be happy to assist Friedman's in getting a group of folks together to think up easy facade improvements that create a more welcoming image on W Broadway for not a lot of bucks. Heck, even some hanging baskets or flower planters would help. Right now, no matter if they have the most amazing business in the world going on inside, the image it projects to the visitor of W Broadway is grimy, depressing, blight, and unwelcoming. Same for the Hong Kong market. Those buildings are the gateway to the Northside that create the first impressions to visitors. And they are not good impressions ar all. But I do agree with the spirit of working WITH them to make these improvements.

MikeT said...

Speaking of cosmetics; I sent a picture to JNS of the awful Karamu sign on Plymouth and Penn. When is that blight going to come down? Is the U of M mocking us for the embarrassing failure of Karamu?

Johnny Northside said...

Resend photo, will you? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Mike.
That thing is nasty looking.
tacky tacky tacky.

Margaret said...

Ha! I was wondering when somebody would mention the Karamu sign. I am afraid that the U thinks that it's some kind of cultural artifact representing he character of the neighborhood that it must preserve. Maybe I am a racist and don't get the history but I think it looks like crap and all it represents to me is a failed strip mall that used to have drug dealing in the parking lot.