The Apes of Wrath

It takes a village to raze a Chinese restaurant.

I hit the shiny new Wal-Mart on East Hampden by Kennedy Golf Course, a supersized monument to gluttony, a bazaar so bizarre that I was overwhelmed by the insane options around me. I wound up buying a twelve-pack of Coke and a gallon of milk -- two products that residents of the area surrounding Alameda Square had complained were not available at the Asian markets -- as well as a giant beef stick, which should be unavailable anywhere on this planet. And then I got out of there as fast as I could, barely pausing to watch the security guard wanding an entire family that was apparently suspected of pilfering a pack of gum and a stuffed animal.

It's true that you can't buy milk or Coke at Pacific Ocean, a ten-year-old supermarket at the edge of the sea of asphalt that marks Alameda Square. You can buy pig's nose, and pig's blood, and Chinese candy, and Asian dishes and statues, and every kind of tea and noodle imaginable.

Clearly, this is not the place to "join the low-carb revolution." You can do that right across Alameda at 7-Eleven, where a gallon of milk costs exactly seven cents more than it did at Wal-Mart, and a twelve-pack of Coke costs less.

When development does finally fill this cement pond at Alameda and Zuni Street -- and fill it will -- some of the tenants will move. They may move as a group -- perhaps to the old RTD bus barn on Santa Fe, site of the proposed Asian Pavilions -- or off into the neighborhood, one by one. Some could even move into Yim's place, if it develops as he promises. There's room for the liquor store, and Von's Nails, and the Asian beauty college optimistic enough to hang a sign still boasting about its "grand opening" and realistic enough to embrace the neighborhood with another sign that reads "hamblamos en espanol y en ingles."

For now, in the Year of the Monkey, Alameda Square is open for business. And the New Year's feast at King's Land is in no eminent danger.

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