by Jim Harris
As you may have heard, I recently won a sizable chunk of Chestnut Hill real estate — the former Magarity Ford property — in an all-night poker game with some local moguls. This acquisition has been weighing heavily on my mind as I have pondered how to best develop it for the good of the community. I believe I have come up with a truly boffo plan.
The crown jewel of my revolutionary new redevelopment project for Chestnut Hill will be a magnificent 13-story building to be called “The Harrisseum” where the Magarity Ford dealership used to be. Hartwell Lane, in front of The Harrisseum, will be excavated and turned into “The Chestnut Hill Canal and Towpath.” A fleet of luxury barges, towed by genetically modified city workers, will carry delighted passengers to Germantown Avenue. Once there, the boats will dock at The Barge Inn, located on the first floor of the structure, where, in keeping with the nautical theme, folks will dine on poached goldfish and sparkling bilge water.
The second floor of the building will be home to “Beertopia,” an upscale microbrewery offering 4,019 types of beer for the discriminating suds-head. Each glass will be brewed in its own tiny micro-vat and served by a specially trained squirrel monkey named Derrick. We’re also thinking about putting a casino on this floor just in case none of the neighbors have any objection.
On the fourth floor will be a Stale Foods Market carrying “reasonably priced vintage cuisine” and a reptile petting zoo. For a dollar you will be able to buy a bag of dead mice to feed to the cute, cuddly snakes. The Harrisseum will also house “Meet Your Meat,” a live poultry store where you can to pick out your own live chickens and strangle them yourself. Very trendy. You’ll know at least they’re fresh.
Wherever possible, stores will be grouped according to themes. For example, “Just Fudge” will be next door to Weight Watchers, and Beertopia will be right next to a Betty Ford Rehab franchise. On the roof there will be a revolving “ethnic restaurant of the week.” One week it might be Ethiopian; the next week it could be Serbo-Croatian. The only thing it will never be is good.
There will also be a diving platform on the roof to facilitate jumping for despondent or disgruntled near-neighbors who want to end it all. Their crumpled remains will be hastily handled by Speedy’s Cut-rate Funeral Parlor (9th floor). Site security will be provided by a round-the-clock, costumed doorman with orders to arrest anyone who looks suspicious.
Unfortunately, to make room for this entire project, some Chestnut Hillers will have to be relocated to Mt. Airy, but for those who remain, life will be immeasurably better. I hereby pledge to you “on my accountant’s grave” that this development will not only fit into the context of Chestnut Hill, but it will become a veritable model of “Chestnut-Hilliness.” To give just one example of my resolve, I have graciously agreed to adorn the property with a tasteful assortment of gargoyles and lawn jockeys to give it that authentic “historical” look.
In order to allay the fears of some alarmist types out there, I have commissioned a thorough impact study to be conducted by the legendary bluesman, “Old Deaf Blind Pinetop.” I decided to use Pinetop because: A. He was in town, and B. I knew that he would not be confused by the facts.
I have since commissioned another commission to study the impact study, but preliminarily, it looks like increased traffic will not be a problem. To this end, we are encouraging residents to forego motor vehicles and to “Hop to the Harrisseum” using our new, comprehensive network of pogo stick trails. As an incentive, ladies who arrive on pogo sticks will be given a free sports bra, and gentlemen will receive a pair of Calvin Klein orthopedic support-briefs.
If I may close on a sobering note, the study also suggests that if we do nothing to develop this site, the whole area will become overgrown with gross, un-American invasive plants, requiring the Friends of the Wissahickon to bring in goats to eat them. Then, of course, the goats will overpopulate, as those immoral goats always do, and the FOW will have to bring in sharpshooters to murder all the goats. Any bleeding-heart liberals out there who would like to save a goat can do so by bringing in a deer and trading it for a goat. The FOW currently only has deer slaughtered in the wintertime, so killing deer at this time of year would enable them to enjoy their summer as well.
Anyway, the time for debate is over. Construction begins tomorrow.