Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
Outdoor cafés: Gimme shelter!
What price sunshine?
Or rather, what cost sunshine?
Was in Coronado the other afternoon. Orange Avenue, in the Village. Sunny side of the street. Roasting. Wanted to sit down have a coffee, ice cream, cerveza, anything. And outside, where at least there was a breeze.
But here's the problem: None of these sunny side cafes have any shade. Specially this time of day when the sun's shootin' at you from near the horizon. The lime green bikini-size umbrellas at, say, Leroy's Kitchen (1015 Orange Avenue, 619-437-6087) cast shadows on the wall, nowhere near the few folk sweating under them. A family was trying to fit in the shadow of the one tree with leaves spreading.
Outside Leroy's: one table in five gets shade
I mean this is the best we can do? The restaurant has blinds down on all their street windows, just to kept the sun and heat out. It almost looks like they’re closed.
Green mini-umbrellas shade...the windows?
This is crazy, isn't it? These cafes have to be losing business when half their space is too danged uncomfortable to sit at. And those fixed shades might be relief for a few spiders, but not much more. The rest of us are being broiled to medium overdone out here, risking skin cancer, and feeling jes' generally bad-tempered.
I ask Leroy why they can't install roll-out awnings that they could alter according to the sun's movement. Like the realtors up the road do. Like every cafe in la belle France and sunny Italy does, from the pictures you see.
Leroy throws up his hands. For sure, that one gesture tells you of all the bureaucratic shenanegans he'd have to go through with the City to get permissions, if he'd get them at all. You have to figure most city regulators have come from some cold part of the country, where they're desperate for every last bit of sunshine they can get.
Maybe the authorities would listen if someone could persuade them that they'd save $$ millions in skin cancer lawsuits if they allowed - encouraged! - adjustable street cafe awnings. What else moves them?
Don't get me wrong. Love the sceptered isle. But if this kind of summer is the future, somebody needs to play a little catch-up here and heed the cry of us street café fans:
Elvis seeks shade from a lamppost outside Mootime
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