Albuquerque New Mexico is blessed with prolific sunshine so many days of the year, it becomes almost boring…almost. The Sandia mountain backdrop rises over 10,000 feet, another mile, above the ‘Mile High City’. Yes Denver Colorado is not the only city that is one mile above sea level.
The perpetually clear scenic view to the west, is ancient enough that the volcanic lava flows and the volcanoes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albuquerque_volcanic_field that oozed them, are relatively recent, in sections along the valley at significantly less than 170,000 years of age. Only 70,000 yrs old in some sections, still experiencing minor tremors. Carizozo ‘malpais’ flows http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrizozo_Malpais to the south is only 1,000 to 1,500 yrs old. Almost comparable to the last second, in comparison to earth’s 4.5 billion year history.
The Rio Grande Rift Valley extending from southern Colorado to El Paso Texas, is being created as the continental plate is being spread by the fascinating ‘Range and Basin’ effect common across the western states of the geologically active North American Continent. The ‘North American tectonic plate’ is gradually being raised by the ancient Pacific Faralone plate’s subduction underneath it.
Albuquerque sits directly on top of the deepest Rift Valley in North America. One of the deepest in the world. Taken into context, the top of the gradually rising Sandia Crest plate, with it’s outstanding, countless millions of years of stratification, down to the bottom of the spreading rift, exceeds the height of Mt Everest, well in excess of 5 miles vertical. The erosion of granite from the rising face of the Sandia Mountain, continually fills the rift, in addition to the sediment carried south by the Rio Grande River flowing from it’s headwaters, in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado.
The railroad, today facing the prospect of loosing it’s Amtrack stop, at one time prospered with famous names such as ‘Harvey House’ (Albuquerque’s was demolished in recent years) and high speed coaches such as ‘The Santa Fe’ provided.
Travelers of America’s remaining golden age after steam, rode the luxurious ‘Super Chief’. They excitedly passed through ‘The Land of Enchantment’ and saw a far different, much smaller Albuquerque, as they railed alongside the ancient Rio Grande, near the volcanoes and lava flows. Travelers East to West, cross the downtown Albuquerque ‘Pan American Freeway’ I-25, that leads south from Denver Colorado, eventually to the tip of South America.
The University of New Mexico was, at that time, situated on a barren eastern rise of desert ‘scrub’ Mesa, called ‘Knob Hill’. Route 66 was a marvel of pavement across the 35th parallel, completed in 1938, replacing the loosely connected gravel and dirt trails, that came into being as the motor age brought cars and trucks to replace horse and wagon transportation.
Route 66 as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66 ‘The mother Road’ between Chicago and Los Angeles, dedicated in Nov 1926, signage 1927, did not have an ‘East West’ orientation through the city of Albuquerque until later years, as the Tjeras canyon mountain pass was conquered and reconquered. With a wide Interstate highway I-40 officially completed, Rt 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Central Avenue at one time, as it aligned with historic Rt 66, was aglow with brilliant Neon signage that out glowed Las Vegas Nevada.
The ‘motor age’ where adventuresome travelers toured the west, from the, one time productive and prosperous eastern manufacturing hub, Chicago and points east, supported Albuquerque, by fueling stops, motels, food and tourist interests. As the Central Avenue East West corridor was bypassed by the modern Interstate I-40 completed 40 years ago, the Central Avenue corridor, at 15 miles the longest urban section of historic Rt 66, decayed. Famous, brightly lit Neon Route 66 rapidly slowed it’s business attraction into being less and less prosperous. Ramada’s and Holiday’s relocated to I-40 exits near luxurious hotels and shopping malls now served by rapid buses.
Run down motels, mostly now house ‘The Great Society’. Section 8 subsidized, loose knit feral carnal welfare ‘liaisons’, lavishly funded by taxPayers promoting the destruction of Traditional Family. Often seen with their omnipresent crime, prostitution and drug addiction/marketing, are common. They began to outnumber the last remaining vestiges of a once prosperous and vibrant urban business domicile.
International tourists as well as national, still seek out and drive on the countless historic remnants of Rt 66, as they repeatedly detour off and back onto, the I-40 that abandoned and bypassed the city streets. All enjoyed while speeding across the I-40 and enjoying it’s Rt 66 2,448 miles (3,900 km). “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”, was the memorable song and even a TV series in the 1960’s.
Eventually as Central Avenue decayed, the predictably deadly drug, crime and prostitution brought it’s decrepit culture of dysfunctional despair. Overtaken by urban decay, run down decrepit old buildings, interspersed with trash littered vacant land. Depressed Central Avenue businesses, predictably replaced the famous Neon glow. Historic Rt 66 went dismally dark.
Tesuque Drive in Movie Theater (Rt 66 theater) on East Central, at the time ‘out of town’, was a marvel of it’s own. The famous Spanish ‘dancing lady’ with her flourish of vibrant neon colors, was unceremoniously demolished in 1985. The most amazing and intricately beautiful Neon artwork of it’s time, was smashed into millions of tiny glass shards, as the land was leveled.
Gradually the plight was recognized, as the critical mass was inevitably melting down. Demolition of the worst rat’s nests of crime and decadence, the worst crime infested old motels, condemned by the city, began falling to the wrecker. The more sturdily constructed motels and restaurants were given tax incentives and financial assistance, to refurbish back to their glory days. Many are continuing to gradually improve the corridor to this present time.
This brings us to the diminutive ‘Route 66 Malt Shop’ 3800 Central Avenue NE. 505-242-RT66′. http://route66maltshop.com/contact.html Located within walking distance of the growing and flourishing University of New Mexico, it sets slightly back from Central Avenue, A former building demolition left a vacant space, which is now a paved patio for sunny dining in the open.
The little shop itself sitting back 100 feet, is not easily visible from the traffic of Central Ave Rt 66. Eric has a beautiful Neon sign he brought from his old West Central location to Knob Hill, ready for installation in front of his tastefully designed little Malt Shop. City Code, in it’s ‘protective’ demanding mode, favoring the ‘Knob (some say Snob) Hill’ neighborhood group, prohibits the colorful 4′ x 5′ Neon sign on a post, designed to artistically portray a classic Wurlitzer Juke Box on display. Denying the return to the famous Rt 66 ‘Neon Glow’ of the past, is apparently ‘one of’ the current restrictive code mandates in force.
Fortunately ABQ now has a business appreciating mayor, who desires to Encourage travelers to leave the fast bypass I-40 at the numerous exits, spending disposable resources, growing business and in the process, increasing the city tax revue structure. Hopefully attracted by the city’s return to Neon lighted signs is the goal. Mayor Berry proposes a drastic change, encouraging Neon signs, by using incentives to manufacture and display the artistic creations along the city business corridor, as in the Glorious past of Historic Rt 66..
Only the steady regular customers knowing Rt 66 Malt Shop is the source of excellent ‘Classic’ diner fare, keeps the unobtrusive little shop in business. Hamburgers, prepared from grass fed, free range beef (NO Pink Slime) and their continuous supplies of fresh local bacon, their home made buns and hand cut potato fries, with wonderful old fashioned milk shakes and malts, keeps their little counter and several tables inside and out, filled with happy diners enjoying a periodic ‘Blast from the Past’.
Looking around the little diner, you will note countless remembrances from the past. Well ‘seasoned’ stainless steel fixtures, including the familiar green blenders of long ago, spin out absolutely delicious, Real Ice Cream Malts and Shakes. Remember when ‘The tall frosted metal can’ was given to you, along with the pedestal glass?
Rt 66 Malt Shop presents exactly that same generous gift. The dedicated and friendly, obviously happy servers of Rt 66 Malt Shop, set the big stainless steal can, right beside your thickly ice cream filled glass. A bubbling Wurlitzer (CD technology) plays tunes that are familiar to the customers that have studied or experienced history. Their smiling servers quickly scurry from the small kitchen to tables, keeping the customers satisfied with traditional diner fare. Weary truck drivers of ‘the Mother road’, would feel right at home, set back in time.
Diane was endlessly preparing her trademark, freshly ground beef ‘Frito Pie’s, along with endless thick, hand patted hamburgers and fries on the day of my visit. Layered, perfectly prepared, fried bacon is used on many orders. Bacon bulk has risen from $28 to $52 within the past year, as food suppliers pass on their inflation driven costs of production.
Beef cattle in the USA, are at their lowest numbers since 1942, when the human population was half of today. Restriction and Regulation of affordable energy, as EPA and this ‘New’ Progressive, overloaded bureaucracy Govt, now takes it upon Itself to regulate Everything, from production to consumption. As national debt now predictably rockets into the stratosphere, that irrational plan is proving unsustainable,… to say the least.
Diane Avila and Eric Szeman are now in a battle for their very existence. The Government, at the urging of the naively voting masses of Albuquerque, are now demanding that Eric and Diane pay some of the highest Hourly wages in the nation, Expensive Santa Fe, being The highest.
A president is now dancing across the nation, rejoicing for higher wages for His voting masses, who, ignorant of history, have absolutely no realization that higher Costs for Everything will be the result. The profit margin of Rt 66 Malt Shop, as with most small business today, is so slim that every margin is an extremely dangerous tipping point. Higher wages are passed on to ‘the consumers’. YOU.
With a payroll of $3,600 every two weeks, among 13 employees, the ‘extra’ dollar an hour payed to well compensated ‘tipped’ employees, would increase financial burden drastically, at a time when supply costs are spiking. If continued as in Nanny govt Sweden, prepare yourself for the $20 burger.
The Alb Journal is a hard left leaning publication, in no way supportive of individual incentive or Freedom. For the Journal and it’s reporters, more government and more Power is absolutely wonderful. With the ‘New’ Federal spending of ‘borrowed’ money, spiraling out of control, inflation is adored. NOT acceptable to small businesses, that can ill afford to ‘pass on the costs to consumers’ so lightly and with so little regard.
Eric and Diane wisely asked their part and full time employees what they desired? Close down the business due to outrageously extravagant food prices, or accept the status quo and remain at the sustainable pay scale they are accustomed and happy with. They overwhelmingly agreed to remain with Eric and Diane. They each agreed to individual contracts, stating they liked things ‘just the way they are’.
The tips generated by good food and good service, far more than compensate, for the ‘Local govt mandated’ extra dollar an hour.The ‘grill chefs’ not based on tips, are paid the ‘new’ minimum to keep performance high. The ‘tipped’ servers are the disputed issue. They earn Substantial tips for providing good service. Their ‘minimum ‘, paid by Rt 66 Malt Shop, is the arguing point.
Predictably, yet another fanatical Liberal Leftist group, affiliated with the Democratic Party ‘Redistribute the wealth’ ‘PROGRESSIVE’ parasitic agenda, takes offense. ‘Progress Now’… Ole’ New Mexico, is Demanding the little ‘Rt 66 Malt Shop’ Bow down on their knees to Authority and submit to immoral unconstitutional Law.
Nowhere in the United States Constitution does it mandate wages paid for work performed must be Forced on business, NOWHERE. ‘PROGRESS’ NOW pursed their lips like Piers Morgans, then sent in their troops to illegally inundate the patio, waving obnoxious signs, and causing disruption of Rt 66 Malt Shop’s business. I’m learning to despise that word ‘PROGRESS’, so lavishly tossed around by the Leftists. In effect it means the direct Opposite.
Mobs similar to the Intolerant ‘99%ers’ of the recent past, traipsed ignorantly on Private Property while the sycophant ‘News’ gleefully recorded the ‘Progress’ for a derogatory front page referring to Rt 66 Malt Shop ‘Flouting’ (their obviously biased term) the law, with Talking Head ‘News’ running for the touchdown.
One loud Santa Fe Legislator is insisting that the ‘minimum wage’ be reviewed at 6 month intervals and be raised Each year…. to “Keep up with Inflation” …Caused By fiscally irresponsible, Liberal Leftist Congressional Legislators?
As it now stands, the legislation passes illegally ‘forced’ laws and the little guy, the Rt 66 Malt Shop, must be Forced to comply. The city is/was staying out of the conflict for now, due to it’s unenforceable system of compliance. ‘PROGRESS NOW’ demands the city Force Compliance. A stand off and stare down is in place. Route 66 Malt Shop with the patriotic and strong Constitutional Eric Szeman, is standing it’s ground and has now become ‘GROUND ZERO.’ for…. FREEDOM……
Latest update: City Attorney is now cowering to manipulative and aggressive PROGRESS NOW, and is being Forced by them to side with the disgruntled employee and is representing him, seeing as private Lawyers will not get involved (FOR FREE) ABQ’s Tax Payers must now fund the Lawyers rushing to the Persecution of the beleaguered little Route 66 Malt shop.
The latest news is the owners are now trying to avoid devastating bankruptcy, by agreeing to the terms of ‘back pay’ demanded by the vindictive employee. The city atty, being obviously ‘encouraged’ by the ‘PROGRESSIVE Now’, will have none of that. He is now Forcing the little shop to their knees, by demanding punitive damages. What kind of nation are we leaving for our descendents? One thing I am learning, is ANY Time you see the word ‘PROGRESSIVE’, it is connected directly to Power obsessed Liberal Leftists, now in Totalitarian Control of the USA.
We visited the little shop one Tuesday and enjoyed our burgers. Seldom do we have burgers, but considering the issue, we made it a point to eat lunch there on the blustery day.
Mine had cheese and chile on it, Wife had bacon on hers. Both were big, tasty and delicious, like burgers of long ago. Waiter was great and grill chef did excellent. Sweet potato fries were overflowing the basket. I would have enjoyed another Malt, but one a month is my limit :>) We left a tip and placed a couple of dollars into the ‘Legal Defense’ jar. That makes us, as tax ‘Payers’, funding Both sides of this unfair David and Goliath fight.
I noted that the owners were under stress, on day of obnoxious trespassing demonstrators and mentioned it to my wife. Sure enough the owner’s son went to the house of the the ex employee causing all of the trouble and confronted him… carrying a bat and wearing a machete. Not good for media purposes, but when stressed, people do irrational things.
One thing happening is their business is improving due to supporters. One busy and happy server, on one recent evening took home in excess of $300 dollars…. in tips. For the city of ABQ to attack a small business that provides gainful employment, is disgusting. I find no mention in the US Constitution that the govt can Force an employer to pay any amount. What is the USA coming to, by Forcing pay as They see fit? Never was that way when I was young, searching for part time ‘Entry Level’ employment. If you didn’t like the pay, don’t do the work. Common sense, sadly lacking today..