I've never been crazy about the Jamaican Jerk Hut. I have nothing against it, but it's just not my
scene. The popular outdoor space reeks of hipsters and they don't sell Pepsi. But again, nothing personal, it's just not me.
However, as a local icon, cultural institution, and a small business representing the eclectic diversity all cities are designed to embrace, it's an important attraction in Center City's Avenue of the Arts.
Unfortunately residents at the Symphony House, Center City One, and Academy House don't see it that way. While bragging that these properties offer a lifestyle amidst a fast paced pantheon of urbanity, apparently our city's diversity should be limited to what these elite residents are comfortable with. At least that's what Gary A. Krimstock, a lawyer representing the residents of the three properties, would have you believe.
For two years Lisa Wilson, owner of the South Street landmark, has been struggling to battle Krimstock in and out of court. Krimstock notes, "not everyone enjoys the music...it's disturbing the other residents in the area."
By "other residents" Krimstock clearly means rich, urban newbies. A number of affluent venues along the Avenue of the Arts call loud crowds to their doors and their dance floors. Affluent venues that are even closer to the doors of his clients and nobody seems to mind.
The Jerk Hut's outdoor space, featured in the hit comedy In Her Shoes and owned by the internationally renowned architects Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, silences its music at 9:30PM, much earlier than many nightlife venues who often close their patios at midnight, or in some areas as late as 2AM.
Krimstock's legal maneuvering and surplus of cash is clearly aimed at running Wilson's venue out of business. While Venturi, Scott Brown has partnered with Wilson in transforming her outdoor space into a unique oasis in the middle of the city, it would be nice to see the firm - which prides itself on unique urban solutions - step forward and aid Wilson in her legal battle.
Perhaps they can remind the out of touch residents in these Center City high rises that they live in a city, and that the bland suburban luxuries they seem to feel entitled to are readily available elsewhere.
The city is for the living. In fact, despite the hipsters, I think I'll be checking out The Jerk Hut very soon. You should too.