Friday, December 28, 2007

A Subway Newsstand?


No, there are no subways in South Florida. With an average elevation of only twelve feet above sea level those tunnels would be full of water faster than they could pump them out. Instead of underground we have Subways everywhere you go, selling sub sandwiches of course. This one is on Hollywood Circle, alias Young's Circle, where Federal Highway, alias U.S. 1 intersects with Hollywood Blvd. Since there are two Subways within about a mile of my house the only reason to make the ten or so mile trek to Hollywood is the newsstand, one of the very few left, it seems.

The two shops next to one another reminded me of my Uncle Louie's store in New Bedford, Massachusettes forty odd years ago. Louie Kaplan was actually my father's first cousin but I always called him Uncle. The store was at the end of the block that backed up against the city bus station, which serviced both the local Union Street Railway as well as Almeida Bus Lines with its service to places like Boston. Louie, of course, kept the store open from before the first bus in the wee hours of the morning until the last bus at night. A lunch counter with stools but no booths had a grill and one of those huge gas coffee urns that were so common back then lining one wall. In the back of the store was a refrigerated showcase with milk, eggs, and butter while bread, crackers, canned goods, etc. filled the shelves. It was the only place for miles around where you could buy groceries or cigarettes after everyplace else had closed.

Along the other wall were piles of newspapers, everything from the New Bedford Standard Times to the Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Above the stacks of newspapers was a magazine rack that must have been six feet high, and extending about twenty-five feet along the wall. If you were a "regular", and careful not to spill coffee on the pages, you could pick up a magazine and sit at the counter sipping your coffee and and eating an English muffin or a slice of pie.

Here at the Hollywood Circle you have to buy your magazine, but you then have a choice of going next door for a sub sandwich or up the street a bit for a donut. You've paid your money for the magazine so nobody gives a hoot if you spill some coffee on it. It's yours.

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