LETTER TO THE EDITORS
Perk Hill Lament
I would like to lament the eviction of Perk Hill by proprietor Darren Spreeuw’s landlord, Eric Alstad. This has removed a community gathering place not duplicated nor replaced in the neighborhood by any other establishment.
Legal niceties and personality differences aside, it seems the kernel of their dispute was the placement of playground equipment or picnic tables in front of Perk Hill. The ongoing dispute included Eric dressing up with his employees in bird masks one evening last November and throwing Perk Hill’s picnic tables into a truck.
For 20 years I frequented Eric’s other establishment, St. Mark’s Coffee Shop, in its two different locations, but stopped after I overheard Eric discussing “Darrenville” in a disparaging manner with a guy in a leisure suit who I assumed to be his lawyer.
Multiple Park Hill denizens signed a petition to the city to allow the playground equipment to remain, as there was a consensus of community benefit. We voted with our feet as Perk Hill thrived from the various AM coffee crowds and the throngs of families there for ice cream. Perk Hill has always been a frequent donor to local fundraising events and Bike Depot activities. My husband, who teaches chess club at Park Hill Elementary, had a free, weekly chess society event at Perk Hill last summer.
From the article in the last issue of the Greater Park Hill News it seems there may have been objection from other businesses about use of this public right-of-way. I assume there was objection about the competition from the “non-coffee shop” Cake Crumbs. Those businesses can now enjoy the open parking spaces.
Having grown up in Park Hill and seen “Charlie Brown’s Summer Vacation”’ at the movie theater on Kearney and 22nd, and bought many an ill-fated goldfish at Girl Scout fundraisers in the space which is now Dardano’s studio, my personal view is that Perk Hill was a part of the resurgence in the economic viability of a street which had had many down-and-out years. I also found it offensive that the day after Perk Hill had vacated the space there were signs up on the inside of Perk Hill’s former windows directing that coffee was available down the street at Cake Crumbs and that “espresso was coming soon.”
Here’s to all the good memories and community. I write this on a beautiful Sunday morning musing over my homemade latte (nuke the milk in a Mason jar and then shake it really hard), which could save me about $1,000/year, yet taking hope in the mention in the article that resurrection of Perk Hill is possible.
As summer unfolds, so do memories of summers past, many from childhood. These snippets seem to suggest, "This summer will be like those were." But no summer can be like those were. Powerful expectations, based on real memories as provoked by deeply familiar seasonal changes, are just as powerfully turned back. Not sure if "poignant" is the right word for this; there's something concrete and finite about it, though.
Was it Wittgenstein or Jeff Spiccoli who once said, "Well Stu I'll tell you, surfing's not a sport, it's a way of life, you know, a hobby. It's a way of looking at that wave and saying, "Hey bud, let's party!"
Getting 3 stars on a particular level of Angry Birds stands in humiliating contrast with my fascination with the Bergman film, Wild Strawberries. I cannot fully choose to be a better person, and I feel bad about that. This act of documenting my shame induces me to further shame, though now it is a shame of my own narcissism. That last sentence has caused me to feel shame at my willingness to confess this all on Facebook. So, to add it up: shame at: lack of self improvement, lack of good second order choices, confession, narcissism, and exhibitionism. Now, back to Angry Birds.