South Peninsula Neighborhoods

This is pretty neat: Palo Alto Online has historical notes on many neighborhoods on the southern SF peninsula. For example, Castro City in Mountain View, or Loyola Corners in Los Altos, or Fair Oaks in Menlo Park.

Of course, my own house isn’t in a historical neighborhood. We’re newfangled sorts around hereabouts, I guess.

It’s strange that the former town of Mayfield hardly rates a mention. Mayfield used lie between Mountain View and Palo Alto, and it eventually was absorbed by the two other cities when it was outgrown by them. The southern half of Palo Alto was mostly Mayfield, and I believe California Avenue was Mayfield’s downtown, which is why Palo Alto effectively has two downtown districts. The now-defunct Mayfield Mall at the north end of Mountain View was named for it, and is the only location I know of which still bears the Mayfield name (though there may be others I just don’t know about).

I Knew Know Knew Books…

Last weekend we dropped into Know Knew Books, one of the notable used bookstores in the area. Last fall they’d been having a “Going out FOR business” sale, which confused the heck out of everyone, but the bottom line was that they were selling a bunch of their inventory to clear space to do some remodeling and then bring in some new stock. Or, at least, that’s what they told me, and apparently that was the plan as of last summer.

Well, they didn’t do any remodeling that I can tell. Maybe they replaced a bunch of the bookcases, but whatever they did it wasn’t evident to me. What they did do was repurpose a bunch of the shelf space to display…

…toys and action figures.

I’ve never seen so many Star Trek action figures before. And superhero action figures. And various other action figures.

The selection of books seemed to be basically the same. When I first moved here, Know Knew Books seemed to have a really good selection of collectible books and hard-to-find paperbacks, especially in the science fiction and mystery sections. In recent years their stock has made the (perhaps inevitable) slide towards a collection of random and fairly uninteresting (and presumably hard-to-sell) paperbacks, as I found fewer and fewer gems there. And they had basically the same stock, only less of it.

After Debbi and I stepped out of the store we looked at each other and said, “That was really weird.”

I’m not sure what happened. Did a new owner buy them and decide to take them in a different direction? Did they decide they needed media tie-ins in order to bring in more sales and browsers? I have no idea, but it sets a completely different tone for the bookstore – that it’s not truly a bookstore anymore – and its makes me less enthusiastic about making my periodic pass through the store in the future, since I have no interest in such toys.

(For what it’s worth, I find that Recycle Book Store in San Jose is much like what Know Knew Books was when I first moved here.)