Wednesday, December 14, 2005

What We've Come To

A fancy-shmancy bowling alley is just the tip of the iceberg. As an Arlington-dweller, this is hilarious to me, and El Wapo couldn't have put it better:

You hear it when you step off the escalator Friday night onto the mezzanine of the entertainment complex's vast Greek-columned atrium -- that slapstick soundtrack of things falling apart emanating from Lucky Strike, while all around are signs that things are coming together. Below you see long lines for "Syriana" and "Chronicles of Narnia." Clyde's is packed with holiday office partiers. You've just escaped the outside sidewalk river of Capitals fans heading next door to MCI Center, shoppers going to be seen in the blazing two-story fishbowl of Urban Outfitters, diners angling across the street toward chain-restaurant row.

There was a tone of amazement in the conversations floating around the complex -- a sense of Where are we, Toto? What little China was left in Chinatown has all but vanished, along with the last of the empty lots and abandoned buildings. The once gaudy-by-comparison Chinatown arch looks unexpectedly plain. Someone in the passing rush blurted out a depressing verdict, meant to be chipper: "It's almost like you're in Arlington!"

Ah yes, surprising D.C. -- finally catching up to its burbs.

Lunchbox once commented to me that "you know your Chinatown's sad when it's known for its Irish bars." To that we can add another, "you know your Chinatown's GONE when it's known for its Chain Restaurants." Let's just go ahead and strip the whole "Chinatown" off that metro stop, shall we? We should end the charade.