After a year of pandemic-induced isolation, I was longing to get out and shoot—especially since I had new cameras to try. So, on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I decided to take my Minolta Freedom Zoom 160s out for a stroll. Atlanta has a few interesting neighborhoods and more than a few small towns within a short drive, and I plan to visit three or four over the winter with my new-to-me Minolta 7sII and Maxxum 70. On this lovely day, Little Five Points won the toss. (Images: XP2, Kodak Ultramax; Minolta Freedom Zoom 160.)
Little Five Points is a neighborhood located a few miles east of downtown that is named after a confluence of three streets: Moreland, Euclid, and Seminole. Euclid and Moreland are busy city streets, but Seminole was converted to a pedestrian mall with shops, eliminating the fifth point. Little Five Points is most accurately described as a Bohemian intersection whose outgoing streets hold million-dollar homes within just a few blocks. Need vape supplies, a tattoo, vegetarian vittles, vintage clothing, unique jewelry, or a great burger with real meat? This is the place. Want to participate in an outrageous Halloween parade? Look no further. It is also where I go to find classic jazz on CD (vinyl is available too).
What has always surprised me most about Little Five Points is how it sort of pops up unexpectedly as one drives along. It is a funky oasis holding out against the staid and usual. Naturally, as a pre-teen, my daughter loved the stores in this neighborhood. We visited at least once every few months or so. Her favorite store was the “Junkman’s Daughter.” Inside, there was a maze of items to sift through — I could never get a handle on what the inventory was supposed to be. There would be a pile of books next to racks of clothing, and then a few odd porcelain items, posters, candles–a motley collection of whatever. The store is aptly named. No matter, there were always plenty of customers, and my daughter usually found something to buy.
Little Five Points is a great place to look for out-of-print music. I’ve found CDs there that were not available anywhere else. And, going back 20 years or so, I had a lot of luck finding vinyl albums of music I loved from the ’70s. Fortunately, much of that music is digital these days and can readily be downloaded, but I still miss the thrill of discovering a gem after sifting through a few stacks of records. As one might expect, many of the vintage record shops have bitten the dust, but a few remain.
If street art is a thing you enjoy, there is plenty of it. Murals are everywhere, like this painting of Salvador Dali.
An eclectic mix of food is available here–everything from good New Orleans fare to Caribbean. And until the pandemic, there was an Ethiopian place I liked. The Vortex is a standout burger place that is famous around the city. For some reason, I have never been there, despite the fact that I tell myself I have to try it every time I pass by. Finally, there is Sevananda, my favorite organic and vegetarian grocery store— the only place I have ever seen blackberry ice cream (delicious).
I suppose one reason I like this little intersection is that it reminds me of Adams-Morgan in DC, where my wife and I lived in the 80s. It had much of the same vibe, with a mixture of odd shops and restaurants to explore. We spent many very happy days wandering around Adams-Morgan, enjoying life.
Considering its location, I wonder how long Little Five Points can survive and maintain its character before property values make vintage clothing stores or vinyl shops unsustainable. For now, it seems to be holding its own. Well, better to enjoy the present than mourn a might-be future. As for me, I am definitely going to blow a thousand calories on a Vortex burger—count on it!