Your friendly neighborhood kiosk

Over the last few months, my friendly neighborhood kiosk closed and was eventually removed. This was heartbreaking.

Cities are living organisms that have evolved over centuries and have developed tools to make life easy, efficient, and enjoyable. The neighborhood kiosk plays (played?) a key part in this mechanism. Not only can you buy any newspaper, local, national, regional or international, you can get any magazine, books, any everyday necessity: chewing gum, tissues, postcards, water and sodas, cigarettes (come on, this is Europe), and all sorts of assorted knick knacks, but more importantly your friendly neighborhood kiosk owner knows everything about the area and every inhabitant in a mile radius!!

A funny anecdote: Hola magazine, the flagship and doyen of gossip magazines, has their offices in our block. In fact, Doña Mercedes, the owner, used to live next door (she died last year), and every Wednesday when the magazine came out she did not grab one from the pile in the office, she would go down to the kiosk and buy one from Yuste!

While I am overall positive about technology, I am not a reader of on-line newspapers. When you read a newspaper, you have to look at every page so you see what is going on internationally, nationally, locally, sports, culture, you even have to pass the obituaries. And if an article catches your eye, you read it. On-line newspapers do not give you that kind of thoroughness. You click on what catches your eye, but you are missing a lot of stuff you normally would not skip on a paper newspaper. Go ahead, call me old fashioned, but on any given day if you “read” an on-line newspaper and I read a paper one, I bet you I have seen -and likely read- more than you.

Our kiosk was inaugurated in 1965, the year I was born! and was run by the Yuste family since! They were friends. Over the last few years they complained about the loss of sales since fewer and fewer people bought newspapers -and I live in an old folks neighborhood! Stopping for a newspaper means having a bit of a chat, checking in, sharing a joke, commenting on the news, or whatever. Yuste once had me run to the bank to deposit a check for him!

At any rate, tired of not making ends meet and with aggravating health issues. The Yuste family finally closed their kiosk this Winter. A few weeks after closing a truck came and dismantled it. A few days later they paved over the site. Another victim of technology.

Paco runs the kiosk up the street in the Plaza de Chamberí, he seems like a nice fellow.

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