by Michael R. Allen
Today I was walking down Ninth Street when I ran into someone who was eager to tell me something about the Ninth Street Garage, the jaundiced hulk that is finally nearing completion.
“Look at that new building. I hear it’s called the Century Building,” he said
“Is that a fact? I swear that the Century Building would be marble clad. This appears to be a concrete building — perhaps they upgraded the plans,” I replied.
“And that nice archway there that leads to the Century Theater,” pointed out the guide with a case of gallows humor.
This guide was none other than Mickey McTague, a resilient wit and storyteller who is always a welcome surprise on the downtown streets. His family ran a basement restaurant — McTague’s Cafe — in the fallen Century Building, so he’s understandably upset by its demolition. Yet he’s quick to find something amusing and poignant in all of the terrible decisions he’s seen in his years watching city politics, and he’s perhaps even quicker to point that out to a friend.
I walked away from seeing with a smile when before I had a scowl as I examined the garage’s hideous interplay with the graceful Frisco Building across Olive. If I could turn that thought into a good joke, I’d have life made.