The already paltry offerings of civic and literate Encino are due to shrink even further next year as Barnes and Noble, located at Hayvenhurst and Ventura, closes down. The space will reopen as (what else?) a giant CVS drugstore.
Coming from New York, and living in Van Nuys, I have always looked for some semblance of community, a place where one could browse in a bookstore, and sit down for a cup of coffee and read.
There are no bookstores that I am aware of in Van Nuys.
And there is no convenient coffee place within walking distance of my house.
So often, I would head over to that attractive B&N shopping center, where the developer (under the watchful eye of the Encino community) built a Spanish style courtyard arrangement of arched buildings. On one end: Ralphs; on the other: Barnes and Noble and Starbucks.
Barnes and Noble had monthly readings at its store, and a large assortment of titles and discounted books.
I don’t object to CVS, but they are a profit driven and insensitive company whose stores are devoid of any aesthetics or sensory pleasures. Their tenancy in Studio City, at the SW corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura, has failed to produce any clean-up of a long neglected Streamline Modern building whose windows are dirty and papered over with beige plastic.
As for Encino’s Ventura Blvd., it is becoming more and more like a huge discount, geriatric shopping strip with assisted living, medical buildings and bad chain restaurants. There is no architectural unity to the street. It is garish and hectic, unwalkable and unappealing. Frantic, honking, rude, self-centered are the drivers along this miserable boulevard.
The death of the B&N is another sign that Encino is sinking further into sloburbia.