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Grant Street Is City Gritty

Earlier this afternoon my girlfriend and I stopped over to Guercio’s Market on Grant Street to pick up some dinner supplies. As we walked around the market I could not help but notice a vibrant array of colors displayed across the street. I kept looking out the window wondering what (and who) had set up an outdoor stand. That’s the thing about Grant Street. Unlike other commercial districts that might be a bit more structured, there is an organic-ness about Grant that always keeps me guessing. One day a storefront might be empty – the next day a vendor might set up. My girlfriend always tells me that Grant Street reminds her of life in a bigger cosmopolitan city. The people. The products. The pulse. The Grit.

When the high schools let out there are young people standing on every corner waiting for rides and joking around. There’s a different vibe during the weekend when the businesses are in full swing. Like today. That temporary display of clothes and jewelry that had caught my eye was just one of the many stands that added to the urban flare. Upon closer inspection, the purveyor was peddling colorful Indian dresses and inexpensive ethnic bangles. Upon leaving Guercio’s we walked across the street to examine the goods. Jokingly, I asked the lady who had set up the street-side market if the name of her store was Sweet Sound Music. I pointed to the sign above her and she smiled. She had set up in front of a music shop that appeared to have moved next door. Ah, if only we could see more of this sort of symbiotic hosting. No need for electricity. Filling in an empty gap. Bringing added life to a block. Providing exposure for the empty storefront. What isn’t there to dig about this scenario?

There are a bunch of obscure finds on Grant Street. And I’m not sure that all of the individual store signs actually broadcast exactly what you’ll find inside each one. But that kinda adds to the sense of adventure. I’ve spotted a couple windows showcasing nice antiques. Another has popped up with some cool old bikes. There are some hand-me-down places that I want to visit as well. Last summer I walked into a market and ran into what looked like a whole dead goat – that’s one that I’ll avoid in the future, though the sight only reinforced the omnipresence of cultures that one cannot avoid when exploring. I’m looking forward to an upcoming post by Francesca Maines, which will give some insight into one of my latest favorite haunts on the street – The Meating Place. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, I’m hoping to dig up some more Grant staples while continuing to shed light on a few up and coming goodies that will surely please lucky West Side residents.

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