I remember about ten years back, a local vigilante group took it upon themselves to keep all the telephone poles along 45th Street free and clear of advertising. There was some considerable pushback from arts organizations that were relying on pole-based postering to get the word out about their musical or theatrical event (and, as this was right about the time that I had started Wallyhood, I can add “their blog” to that list.)
Over time, though, the vigilantes got tired of their fight, the poster pasters won out over the pole polishers, and for better or for worse, poles were wrapped in paper.
Well, the time honored issue of “to poster or not to poster” has resurfaced, this time with a COVID-19 twist. About two weeks ago, a man named Bill stopped in at Leny’s Tavern on 56th up in Tangletown and offered to help them out. He’d been putting up signs around the neighborhood in support of the Varsity Inn (“saving the neighborhood one pancake at a time”, I think it read), and offered to do the same for Leny’s. He wasn’t a regular, he was just a guy from the neighborhood who stopped in from time to time, offering to help out.
Up the signs went, and the quiet business that Leny’s had been managing to scratch out, one burger at a time, got a little boost. Within a few days, extra orders started coming in from locals looking for some take out bar food, and a chance to help a local institution.
Then, down came the signs. Virtually all of them, in a single night.
And down came the signs again. Why? Nobody knows.
But a new round of signs are back up, and so is Leny’s business. Stacy at the bar t0ld me that since Bill stopped in and offered to help, their take-out business has quadrupled, and I don’t doubt it. When I stopped in to play cub reporter, there was a crowd of people waiting for their burgers and fries.
OK, not a “crowd” in the pre-coronavirus sense, more like an evenly distributed web of people standing a comfortable 6′ away from each other, enjoying some company while their food was prepared. Certainly nothing like the packed crowds they got on a weekend night as recently as two months ago, but perhaps enough to sustain a business through these tough times.
Thank you, Bill, and thank you neighbors. Leny’s isn’t the only local institution that welcomes your support. It’s hard to say exactly when we can all sit down together for a drink again, but it’s important that we make sure there’s a place to do it when that time comes.
(Thanks for the tip, Harley.)