The video store era is over in Forest Park. The Blockbuster on Harlem will soon close and with it the short span — what 20 years? — in which it wasn’t Friday night without a trip to scope out the New Releases on VHS.
Forest Park was something of a Mecca of video choices. In addition to Blockbuster there were the independents, notably Circle Video on Madison St. with its massive collection of new and classic films, a knowledgeable though suitably indifferent staff, and an air of decay comfortably layered on.
The Blockbuster was another story. With its posters and TV monitors and merchandise stacked high, the place was an assault on one’s senses. But it always had a hundred copies of the hot new release and, yes, maybe, you did need the obscenely large Kit Kat bar and a really big box of Sour Patch candy to go with the movie.
Blockbuster’s location, a charmless box dropped in an oversized parking lot, would be a prime location for an ambitious redevelopment in most any other year. Now a worthy goal will be to keep this prime location from turning into a dollar store. Got to set your goals to the proper level in trying times.