AIN'T THIS BEAUTIFUL?

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I'm not taking any credit for this. If anything, I'm getting in the way of beauty here. This is a tiny tableau from my favorite part of Granby Street, a little two-block section in between gentrified-happenin-BUTNODANCING SoBrambleto Granby Street and condo-wasteland NoVabeachblvdo Granby Street, a bad tooth in between the two shiny new crowns that Mr. Dentist will get to in his sweet time, rest assured. And while your Lexus SC clownboys will tsk at it, there's life here.A pawn shop with fascinating crap washed up against the insides of its windows, a garish-cheap jewelry store, a scary but authentic bar, a cruddy but beautiful art space, an "importer" below it, where left-behind people hang out on the street and argue and laugh really really loud, and Bob's Gun Shop, for cryin out loud! What more could you want from a neighborhood, huh? Like it or not, Mr. and Mrs. Downtown Revitalization, this is an irreplaceable part of what makes downtown different from that soul-sucking chain-feeding marketing ploy called Virginia Beach Town Center. And if they ever succeed in tearing it down, then we've lost something without even realizing it, and we might as well all hop into Lexus SC's and play bumper cars all over condo-land and snatch up our Chilean Sea Bass and barge into "shoppes" to force our money onto Beelzebub, on our knees frantically stuffing his velvet-jacketed pockets with cash cash cash, begging him to take our souls, please!

Hey, that felt good! Thanks, everybody! You've been a great crowd! We love you, Norfolk!