I never loved Borders, but the place created an indoor town square for the neighborhood, a place where people could hang on weekends and nights, and meet each other. (Yes, as a commenter points out, the library can do this but not at night and much of the weekend.)
The Chestnut Hill branch was ahead of the curve, closing in January 2010, and has been empty ever since.
Our loval video store, TLA, closed this January, before the other branches. Who knew Chestnut Hill could be ahead of the pack, but in sort of sad way?
As I wrote in today's column. Chestnut Hill has been overwhelmed by banks and more banks, and not much else. Valley Green Bank, a local enterprise run by a civic-minded group of residents, has made a huge difference, lending more than $250 million to the community since the economy tanked. The other banks are surely good tenants, but are adding little.
I worry the sort of commerce we've lost may never be replaced. What the Internet provide in speed and convenience, it takes in community, curiosity and warmth. We don't dawdle as much as we used to, or enjoy those serendipitous moments.