Bah, humbug! A dearth of downtown decorations
Original post made
by Diana Diamond, Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 10, 2006
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas except in downtown Palo Alto. Yes, there are the little white lights on University Avenue that are there all year long, but I looked in vain for any other tree, ornament, twinkling new light or ribbon that would indicate that this is the holiday season and nothing could be found. No Santa, no snowmen not even a snowflake.
Some stores had their own lights hanging in their front windows, but the plaza in front of City Hall is empty and dark, Lytton Plaza is without a decoration, and there is not a wreath around.
I guess I am not surprised because we never have flags flying downtown even on the Fourth of July. After 9/11 there was public demand that this city buy some flags but we were told all the American flags had been sold. We still haven't any flags to fly on our main street.
For a town that thinks of itself as one of the nicest places to live, I am surprised more is not done to the downtown. At the very least it's one way to attract shoppers, and the City Council has been proclaiming "Shop Palo Alto" for the last two years. Simply saying it is not enough.
When the downtown Business Improvement District was formed nearly three years ago, businesses were promised more tree lights and banners downtown. That obviously has not happened yet.
Back in the mid-1990s there were seasonal banners downtown, but they evidently wore out.
Other towns have decorations galore. Even some of the small rural towns manage to string colored lights across Main Street. And cities pride themselves on holiday displays. But not Palo Alto.
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Posted by Anonymous Coward
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm
Diana, Your readers should check out California Avenue. Many of the small merchants there have decked out their stores and restaurants. I'm a regular there and love the growing variaety of retail in the area, as well as the superb quality and variety of food served up at the restaurants.
Here are a few personal favorites:
1) Mediterranean Wraps - a wonderful Middle Eastern eatery with humble ambiance, authentic falafel and other specialties, and very reasonable prices. I love this place. the owners are friendly, the prices are right, and the service is fast.
2) Salsa - a new Mexican restaurant that serves up some very nice, authentic Mexican food. The service is great, and the prices are easy on the wallet.
3) Christian Science Reading Room - a quiet place to read one of America's best newspapers, the Christian Science Monitor. One wishes that more American newspapers could approach the consistency and quality of this small daily. There's no pressure applied, or solicitation done at the reading room. Just walk in and enjoy!
4) Create It! Ceramic and Mosaic Studio - a very cool place where you can paint your own pottery or build a mosaic - no experience required. They do corporate parties, kids and adult parties. Lots of fun, and a great place for personalized gifting.
5) Illusions - a new restaurant and club. Illusions serves up superb cuisine (the chef is Lebanese) that's reminiscent ofo the finer restaurants in old Lebanon, before the last few decade's war. Really special cuisine, served by attentive waiters. they even have entertainment on certain evenings. Reasonably priced, authentic cuisine, in a relaxed atmophere.
6) Caffe Riace (just off the California Avenue sector, on 200 Sheridan, a few blocks away). Really good Italian food, served up in an exterior court. They have a lot of heat lamps outside, which keep patrons toasty even on winter evenings. Homemade gelato!
7) Nora's Cafe - authentic French food at very reasonable prices. I love their nicoise salad - warm goat cheese on small toasts, in a bed of nicely dressed greens. Very nice entrees, and reasonable priced.
8) Keeble and Shuchat - one of the best camera stores around, with a superb, expert staff. Don't miss their "professional/digital store" on California, almost directly across the street from their main store (also on California).
9) Counter Burger - custom burgers served up with brew, in a warm atmosphere with large screen TV.
10) Antonio's Nut House - one-of-a-kind in Palo Alto. I love this place! Easy going, sawdust floor, pool tables, great people. Walk in, order a brew, sit down, chat or read the paper.
11) Izzy's Bagels - the best bagels west of New York City, bar none (I've tried them all, this is no brag). Lots of other yummy stuff, too.
12) Printer's Cafe - a great place for a good meal and coffee - a California Avenue institution.
13) La Bodeguita del Medio - long been known as a wonderful gathering place for cocktails, cigars, and the local cuisine. A great place for great Havana-inspired cuisine.
14) Country Sun Natural Foods - everything you need to stay healthy - great organic produce, much of it locally grown, at reasonable prices.
15) Cafe Pro Bono (on Birch, just off California) - a cozy place that serves up carefully prepared cuisine and wonderful desserts.
16) Spalti - another good Italian restaurant on California Ave. Fantastic calamari salad, tasty entrees, delicious desserts.
17) Palo Alto Baking Company - stop in for coffee and soup/sandwich/salad, and then take home some of their delectable pastries, or cookies.
18) Homma's Brown Rice Sushi - really good sushi at reasonable prices, on Birch, just behind Keeble and Shuchat
19) Bistro Elan - easily as fine a dining experience as can be had anywhere in the Bay area - a world class restaurant.
There's LOTS more on California Ave. The "Ave." been hosting the Santa train for years, generating more gift donations that anyone else on CalTrain's line. There's a great "Trick or Treat" effort by retailers on All Hollows Eve, a Jewish Street Fair in the autumn, and so on.
Visit the Ave. and let the community know what you think. We're open to praise and criticism alike.