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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A sad day for Philly icons...

When I was a kid, there were few things in the summer days better than going to Rita's for some fantastic water ice. It's hard to describe this to the uninitiated, but it was like a little bit of icey sugary heaven. Just good good stuff. Well today, word comes that some Pittsburgh company has purchased Rita's Water Ice Franchise Corporation. They claim good intentions, with a principal in the purchasing company saying that they are "looking for much bigger growth" and that they want to take Rita's "to the next level." Well, that's all well and good, but I suspect that the water ice may never the same. Sad.

Even more sad, Zipperhead is closing at the end of the month. The non-Philly folks out there may have heard of South Street - it used to be a fun and hip hang-out spot, stretching about 8 or 9 blocks, with lots of cool stores and whatnot. Nowadays, there are still some good things about South Street (mmmm....Jim's cheesesteak with provolone), but it has lost a fair amount of its allure, and it will be losing a little more with the closing of Zipperhead. Zipperhead is/was a punk-rock styled clothing store. I bought my first hair color at that place (it was green) as well as many a-cool t-shirt. It was one of my favorite places to wander into on those many days I cut from high school (senior year, I hardly knew thee). Apparently the now-former owners will be opening a new-but-similar store under a new name in a new location, but we know it won't be the same. And the worst thing about this? The cool clothing store is being replaced by an "unnamed" New York clothing store. ...sigh.

7 Comments:

At 12:44 PM, Blogger EmoRiot said...

Both these stories represent the mallification of America.

There's something to be said for having unique local experiences. I think, in a very real way, you can link the lack of unique local community culture in America over the years to our loss of empathy in our international relations.

After all, as a kid you could go from Philly to New Jersey and have completely different stores, accents, architecture, and foods. It wasn't tough to realize that what you grew up around wasn't everywhere. But you can drive cross country and never have to change your local cuisine - ordering cheesesteaks from Carl's Jr., never have to shop at a different store, hear the same bands on the radio, use the same slang words, etc. One can imagine how this would create a false sense that what we experience seems all pervasive.

Anyway, the real point is R.I.P. zipperhead. Zipperhead was a sort of rebellious early teenage Mecca. You heard about it. You sought it out. You found it... you loved it.

But I guess why go down to Zipperhead for some authentic rock n' roll punk gear when you can get it at Hot Topic in Springfield, Granite Run, The Gallery, King of Prussia, throughout Delaware County, Bucks County, western PA, and the rest of the country.

Oh... and Rita's slogan, "Be cool. Eat a Rita's" meant buy a tasty water ice. It was not talking about eating up a company in the corporate sense.

I guess water ice is the next of the localized cultural things to be homogenized into the country.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Bug said...

For some time now I've wondered if I could actually interest corporations to offer me corporate sponsorship. Not to do anything in particular. Just to sponsor me as I go through my daily life.

I'd wear a big set of coveralls and then coverall it with patches for different companies. "Hey, there's Jesse. He's brought to me by Tide, Valvoline, and Quizno's today." That sorta' thing.

They pay me to wear their ads and they get the exposure.

I wonder if they'd bite.

 
At 4:55 PM, Blogger ceymick said...

emoriot - in fairness to Rita's, it wasn't a big bad corporate scenario. The guy who started it however many years ago decided he was ready to sell it. So I can't get mad about that, just a little sad. The Zipperhead situation is more about money, since it's all tied into the property owner wanting more rent.

bug - I'll pay you $5 to wear a patch with my name on it.

 
At 6:27 PM, Blogger Bug said...

Make it $5 a month and provide the patch and I'll sew it onto my coat.

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger EmoRiot said...

Want another Zipperhead-style rent-gouge tragedy? CBGB's is closing because the rent's about to be tripled.

I think NYC should declare it a historical landmark.

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger ceymick said...

I can't believe CBGB's is shutting down. That's really ridiculous.

And no, bug, I ain't paying you $5 a month. $5/year, take it or leave it!

 
At 11:16 AM, Blogger Bug said...

then I choose to leave it.

I'll just have to look for bigger sponsorship.

Maybe Darth Affleck would pay me $5/month to wear his name around town ...

 

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