Well, it is official. Borders is closing. They will not survive bankruptcy through an outside investor as I hoped.
A part of me feels a bit sad because I remember the countless times that I would go to the Borders on Michigan Ave. It seems like eons ago now, but there was a movie theater at the rear of the Water Tower building (pre AMC 21 days). I enjoyed going to the movies and then hanging out at Borders on the second floor with a date, or after a whirlwind of window shopping on Michigan Avenue with good girlfriends. We laughed and enjoyed the day downtown and when everyone was too tired to walk or talk even, we would meet up at Borders to relax over tea, periodicals and a great view of the Second City.
I recall countless times where I located the perfect window seat so I could people watch from the second floor of the Michigan Ave store. I took turns with my girlfriends. One person held our coveted new space and watched our bags while another would look for books of interest or those really expensive international fashion magazines. It was something that we did to bond, to not really chat but to just zone out quietly and relax.
The Michigan Ave Borders has been closed for a while, but for me, the one enjoyment that I had when I went to any of the 5 or so Borders that sprouted around Chicago neighborhoods that I of course frequented as a quintessential Chicago girl; like the Beverly Borders, North Ave, Hyde Park, Broadway & Lawrence, State St or Michigan Ave, was the peace and quiet that I was destined to find (albeit while always having ear bugs in my ear). I guess I knew that although I had music continually playing as a soundtrack through my travels on the CTA, I could head to Borders. I could find something in my field, housing policy and or one of those expensive international fashion magazines. I could spend no more than a few dollars to buy some tea and relax while everyone else around me was expected to remain as quiet as possible. There were no screeching trains flying by, no taxi cab or homeless person asking for change and no need to talk at all. It was perfect!
Being a City Girl, it definitely comes in handy to find a place to just BE, even for a few brief moments. I’m thinking of where else I can retreat to now that Borders will be gone? Target is great, but it is Target. There is always something to buy at Target!
Think about it. Have you ever frequented more than one Borders? It is just a pricey bookstore, but I can actually recall each one I've been to and what location had the best section for cooking, high fashion, or historical Chicago related news. It has kind of been the local spot that is open pretty late and you can get by with spending just about nothing and there’s no one to harass or put you out after countless hours of lingering down the aisles.
Borders now faces the same fate as Virgin Megastore (great idea in theory, but they did not move with the times, musically). It is quite sad - especially when I think of the lost jobs. With the advent of the Kindle and other electronic reading devices, Borders has quickly declined and diminished in value.
How will I ever find the highly coveted, annual Trace Magazine’s Black Girl’s Rule Cover (who coincidentally no longer sell print magazines-only online) or the Italian Vogue Fashion Issue? Borders was the place to find and connect to so many cool and international artists/designers in their own words (language), through magazine and media. I still remember finding a UK magazine and a great article on my favorite pop star, Jamiroquai years back. I never would have found the article otherwise, but I thought it was so cool and clearly cool enough to even remember years later...
I guess I’ll have to actually pay for a few international magazine subscriptions in order to keep up with what else is going on around the world. A Kindle or the Apple Reader equivalent just wont do......
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