I grew up near Boston, MA and one of the things that I used to do in the 1990s was spend time on Newbury Street. While many people think of this as a place to go if you are into high-end boutiques and things like that, it was somewhat different back then. It was almost as if there were two distinct cultures on the street, but now there is just one.
On the corner of the street, where it intersects Massachusetts Avenue, a store called Tower Records was there. I do not actually remember buying anything from there, but I spent plenty of time browsing the shelves. I suppose this was because I was in high school back then and my family did not give me too much spending money.
A little further down the street was a JP Licks ice cream shop. This is one of those places that appears to be mundane at first glance, but there are some special things going on there. I would get this flavor called White Coffee and I would swear that I was in heaven. There was no other place in the city that had it, so I had to stop in there periodically.
Right outside this store, there would be lots of teens hanging out on the stoop. Looking back I understand that many of them were homeless, but there was a sense of comfort and community when I would sit there with them. I suppose people did not seem as jaded and territorial as they do these days.
The only other place I used to go to on Newbury Street was Trident Booksellers. This is a bookstore that has an overpriced cafe and people love it for some reason or another. I used to go there and sell my old books in order to have extra pocket money. I only went there a few times, but I know that many people in the city act like it is the most special place on Earth.
The last time I talked to someone about Newbury Street, they agreed that the air is different right now. While Trident is still there, the other places are long gone. Now everyone hangs there in order to eat at Stephanie’s, a trendy place where people sit outside and hope to be seen while they are eating food that is far more expensive than usual, yet does not taste much better.