Twenty years from now, after the multi-million dollar Scissortail Park has long failed and gone into forgotten disrepair, some kid with a movie-camera will premiere an award-winning short documentary for deadCenter 2049 about the tragic loss and subsequent nostalgia of Hubcap Alley, the sexually blighted area of South Robinson Ave. that connects downtown to Capitol Hill.
Slated for demolition within the next few months, if not sooner, this one-stop shop for auto parts, used tires and budget-conscious prostitutes was the strip where apparently Hibdon Tires was born and, at 18, left home to never came back. Still, the area managed to fight back for years against the gentrification of the encroaching beast that is the Downtown renaissance.
Before it becomes the Southern half of the massive Scissortail Park experiment, let’s take a few minutes to remember a few of the good things about Hubcap Alley, the things that even though we may not know it now, we’ll all come to eventually miss and wistfully recall in out waning later years.
1. Hubcaps, hubcaps, hubcaps!
When times is tight and the baby needs formula, one of the best ways to make a few quick bucks has always been fencing hubcaps, selling them to one of the many junk merchants along the ably named strip. Just prove you’re not wearing a wire—snitches get stitches—and within a few minutes a pocketful of filthy lucre is all yours, ready to keep the electricity on with maybe just enough change leftover to buy a nickelbag of skunk.
2. Direct access to fresh tortillas!
The Chelino’s tortilla factory and meat market has been conveniently located on that strip forever, a straight-shot down South Robinson and back, with fresh, fluffy, still warm-in-the-bag Mexican flour foodstuffs available most days at a bare minimum price. What’s the future of this place going to be once construction starts and Robinson is shut down for God knows how long? Am I going to have to go down Western and then up Commerce and back around just to get my weekly benediction of these burrito-sized holy hosts?
3. Hidden spots to take hookers!
While the wholly homegrown phenomenon of JohnTV—the hooker-bustin’ web-site with a devoutly voyeuristic set of catch-phrased peccadilloes—has gone from a Cops-style reality show to a damn-near how-to guide for the pathologically perverted in need of a quick trick, detailing all the perfect hidden areas that Hubcap Alley has to offer for your next goo-drenched getaway. Just make sure to lock those car-doors there, buddy!
4. Unimaginative local band photos!
As many of the Metro’s dilapidated landmarks disappear, local rock and roll bands will suddenly find themselves at a loss for brick walls, chain-link fences and railroad tracks when it comes to shooting promotional pictures to provide alt-weeklies with. Hubcap Alley had all three—sometimes even at the same time—so make sure to book a session with any high-schooler and their iPhone before it’s too late and your four-piece is stuck hamming it up on the Skydance Bridge.
5. Easy access to getting stabbed!
Sometimes friends disagree with each other over the price of certain types of clandestine contraband and sometimes said argument is settled by the good-old fashioned art of stabbing someone in the stomach. Hubcap Alley offered numerous ways to not only find release from this mortal coil through bladed exsanguination, but plenty of tall grass fields, badly lit abandoned garages and even conveniently comfortable railroad tracks to “fall asleep” on, no one any the wiser, wink.
Keep Oklahoma City dangerous. Follow Louis Fowler on Twitter at @LouisFowler.