“Fredo, you’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do. I don’t want to see you at the hotels, I don’t want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won’t be there. You understand?”  – Michael Corleone to Fredo Corleone in Godfather II.

For a while now, say two plus years, I’ve watched the metamorphosis of a fairly charming block to what it has certainly become: a constant San Gennaro festival where a heavy, drunken crowd of bar hoppers and tourists line the streets. Loud people who come in search of booze and frozen yogurt.

Let’s summarize, shall we? The charming little boutiques are mere relics:  Tracey Feith, Hollywould, Nancy Koltes, Find Outlet and most recently, Label . (Refresh your memory; here.)

I walk around like a zombie attempting to hold on to some part of my past.  But it’s gone.  Long gone.  Sure, Habana still makes a mean brunch, Cafe Gitane is nice for a strong cup of espresso.  However, Rice relocated, Kitchen Club bounced (making way for cupackes). You recall M+R Bar was the first causality and the remaining fell like dominos–Rialto, Connecticut Muffin and most recently Cafe Colonial.  Sure, I can still grab a pint at Sweet or Spring Lounge, maybe a salad at Bread or takeout Lombardis, takeout Parisi or burritos at Iggy’s… but the truth is clear, NoLita is a shell of its former self.

Now it’s more upscale “established” brands a la Rag and Bone, the Double RL’s, the high-rent, celeb favorite cupcakaries (flour, sugar, water) commanding $200 a square foot, Cafeteria’s sleek sister Delicatessen and their pricey brunches with the $15 mojitos. There’s Pulinos pizza with long waits for seats outside along the Bowery (on this note,  I won’t even attempt to discuss the Bowery’s evolution).  The real estate is fancy, new and pricey; along Elizabeth Street and of course the old stable building at 11 Spring Street where the real art and graffiti was plastered is now poof, gone.

Cleaned up.

Bloomberg clean.

I roll with change but not when change becomes middling or worse, common.

Now the party is officially over with the erection of Duane Reade.

Yes, this  latest travesty is ready to go.  Up and addem’.  A massive drugstore coupled with the harsh, unflattering lighting that I’ve always detested in all their stores. Spring Street; the charming little block I used to call home will now churn out cheap bottled waters, toilet paper and Maybelline mascara to the masses.

I get it but don’t have to like it.

I bury my memories but keep them close to the vest. The truth comes ever more clear;  You really can’t go home again, you just can’t. Especially, the way things are shaping up on my beloved old Spring Street, the street I loved to walk alone.

Perhaps I don’t want to go home. Or I just can’t go home.

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