The only Little Italy location I've visited is the one in Athens on North Lumpkin Street. It is a piece of laid-back local college town flavor if I ever did see one. For one thing, it is dirty as hell -- straight up, dog. Furnishings and fixtures are grimy and worn out. There are large globs of dust collected on the ceiling. But the lighting is dim and accented by green neon, so the harshness is subdued. What is really interesting is the way the guys at the counter call out order numbers like they were regular Italians in New York or something. There is also quite a bit of humor and high energy among them. The nicer wooden tables stay packed by college students chattering about their academic pursuits and various activities that they're worried with at the time. The rear section has a mural covering a number of walls illustrating various sports at UGA, and the playing fields all have a Pepsi logo appearing behind them. The front door has a heavily defaced sticker that used to say "RESTROOM IS FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY." Once certain letters were scratched off so that it said "RESTROOM IS FOR TOM ONLY." Now it says nothing legible.
I just had to write that stupid title. Anyway, last week I asked to see a fellow philosophy student's downtown apartment. He invited me along for my first ever visit to an apartment in downtown Athens. The whole idea of living downtown is very interesting, even though the traffic, parking, and noise could surely be challenging to deal with. The apartment is one of those located on an upper floor above a few businesses. I remarked at the skylight in the living area, and he told me that is their only window. I knew it was a loft apartment, but I was still surprised at what I saw. These lofts aren't wide open spaces but rather enclosed spaces accessed through small openings. Well, there is an open loft and they have a chair on it, but it could also just serve as a large plant shelf since it isn't that wide. I climbed the ladder to look into this guy's loft, and he had a lot of stuff that you would normally see in a bedroom, but the space was only a few feet high. I had to tell him that it reminded me of the seven-and-a-half floor in Being John Malkovich, and he said I wasn't the first to tell him that. One of his roommates uses the loft on the opposite side of the living space, and I saw that it was a bit smaller. His other two roommates have regular bedrooms, one of which has its own bathroom. He explained that they contribute more to the monthly rent, a rent which is vastly inflated for its downtown advantage, but a price worth paying if living downtown suits your needs.