The City Miner Interview

This interview with Moe was published in City Miner Magazine around 1976. It is posted here in its entirety. By Michael Helm

Interviewing Moe Moskowitz, owner of Moe's bookstore on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, is a little like being a director at Central Casting. You get the feeling that you may be interviewing a character appropriate for anything from a Marx Brothers comedy to the rabbi in a Jewish Passover scene. There is something genuinely theatrical yet unaffected about the man as he chews his ubiquitous cigar while working behind the counter or stacking books onto the shelves. If you ask him about his life, he will say that it's been, "mainly an eclectic failure." With the implication that his current success may be nothing more than a homage to the laws of probability.

 At the ripe age of fifty-five Moe is now "the first among equals" at his bookstore which will gross (though not profit) close to three quarters of a million dollars this year. A far cry from the Moe Moskowitz who was essentially unemployable up until the age of thirty-eight. "It was then," he confides, "that I realized I was incapable of working for anyone but myself."

Before getting into the book business Moe successfully dropped out of Queens College, studied violin for eight unfruitful years, and attended Cooper Union Art School. Additionally, he was a short-lived seaman as well as lead actor in one of Julian Beck's Living Theatre productions, Ubu Roi, which folded after three nights. But alas, Moe now philosophically muses about those activities, "the degree of my talents didn't match the obstinacy of my obsessions."

Moving to Berkeley and Finding a Vocation

It was meeting his wife, Barbara, and moving to Berkeley (where she was involved in helping to start Walden School) that changed Moe's life around. With time on his hands and a familial interest in a moribund Japanese sword and frame shop, Moe slowly took over his wife's discouraged partners and explored converting the store into a used book operation. For the next three years, pursuing his then novel, cash or trade used book policy, Moe, much to his surprise, transformed the bookstore into a viable economic enterprise.

Successful with his Shattuck Avenue, North Berkeley location, Moe was approached and helped found what has subsequently become to be known as Shakespeare and Company bookstore on the corner of Dwight and Telegraph. But disillusioned with what turned out to be one of his "briefer and poorer partnerships," Moe soon moved across the street next to his current location, the general vicinity within which he has remained since 1963.

In asking his about his success, Moe gives principal credit to his liberal trade policy for helping to build the store as well as its personalized nature. "I called the store Moe's," he explains, "not out of vanity (though that may be true), but because I wanted people to have a specific person, who actually worked there and was responsible, that they could refer to with their problems."

During his tenure in Berkeley Moe has, besides minding his own store, helped to finance Shambhala and sponsored R. Crumb's comic book Snatch, the latter involuntarily landing him in jail during the late 60s. Additionally, he was a patron for the ill-fated Preston Webster and Company rock band, as well as for twelve string guitarist Robbie Basho's two record album, The Falconer's Arm.

Since suffering a heart attack several years ago, Moe had tucked in his philanthropic wings -- being overwhelmed by the deluge -- and mainly contented himself with "being in charge of mayhem"at his store.

The interview, which took place over the course of several late evening sessions in Moe's anarchic South Campus home where he resides with his wife, Barbara, two daughters, Doris and Katy, and a potpourri of visitors.

City Miner: You've been on Telegraph Avenue since 1963. How did you feel about the changes in atmosphere during that time?

Moe: The atmosphere?

C.M.: You know, the people there, the changes you've seen. Is it good, bad...?

Moe: Well, the very obvious change is the number of street sellers. The number of people who are trying to find alternative ways to making a living in the city. I remember that it was ten years ago that I tried to put up a kiosk on the street in front of my store and the city attorney said I couldn't do it.

C.M.: Go into that a little more.

Moe: The city attorney at the behest of the city council acted against me. And now I see that here, ten years later, my kiosk which was only a half feet wide at the base influenced what followed. You know I was refused this by the city because they reasoned that allowing me to put up my kiosk would create a situation where the law would have to be changed and it would effect all of Berkeley. Well, this prophecy about what would happen has in fact happened.

C.M.: Is that good or bad from your point of view?

Moe: I think it's good. I think it's better than it was. It's good to encourage people to find alternative ways of making a living. Unfortunately some of these people (street sellers) as you'd expect turn out to be worse commercial hucksters than the people in the stores. They're not really craftsmen, a lot of them. And the city hasn't found a way to regulate this. I know that my step daughter sells on the street and she tells me about how upset some of the people on the street are about the problems of what is sold on the avenue. I don't think there's much point to them unless they can do something the stores can't.

C.M.: It seems like the amount of novelty has decreased on the avenue. You know looking at the goods it seems like the same old things: belts, buckles, jewelry...

Moe: Right, right. It's maybe that there is only a limited future there. It may be a dead end. I mean who needs a few more hustlers on the street. I mean for every real craftsman, there are a number of them on the street, there are several hustlers. Still, I like the congestion on the street. There ought to be a way of keeping that without incapacitating people.

C.M.: What about the problems of other store owners? Do you get along with them?

Moe: No, I don't have much contact with them. I know some of the people on my block but generally I'm not close to them.

C.M.: A lot of business people say that Telegraph Avenue is dying economically. Is that so?

Moe: Well, business seems to be booming in the Elmwood District. I guess there's some truth to that. You know people say they don't like to be spare changed and are afraid of violence.

C.M.: Is Telegraph really all that violent?

Moe: Actually, I don't think so. I think it's just a reputation from all the past demonstrations and the assumptions about drugs that are made. I don't think that, day to day, there's ever been that much violence.

C.M.: What about the drug scene? How prevalent is it?

Moe: My impression is that it has changed. There's a new generation of people on the streets and I have the impression, and it's only an impression, that they are less interested in exotic drugs. In fact, alcohol seems to be more of a problem than anything else. It's interesting when you consider that in terms of somebody like Leary. Can you imagine him getting up now and saying that the path to enlightenment could be obtained through an acid trip? Do you think he would be taken seriously? I don't think so.

C.M.: What was happening on Telegraph Avenue when Moe's first opened in 1963?

Moe: Not much. That was just before the Free Speech Movement (FSM) and things were pretty quiet.

C.M.: How did FSM affect your store?

Moe: I don't think it affected the store in terms of economics. Of course the street developed a kind of notoriety. So it affected everyone in that way. It got a bad reputation with some people. The reputation worsened during the 60s. In fact, the reputation in my block right now is very bad among certain middle class people. Very poor. Of course drugs came along in the 60s. The demonstrations got more violent and all this came to a climax with People's Park.

C.M.: Were you ever harassed by the people that were into radical politics at the time?

Moe: Well, I disagreed with a lot of people. In fact, I received several threatening notes because I opposed the violence. That was the basic difference between myself and a lot of people I knew then. They were into violence and I wasn't. I approved of some of the things they wanted, but I just didn't approve of the violence. I feel the same way now. I still disapprove of violence.

C.M: Well, the Vietnam War seemed to make more acceptable a higher level of violence.

Moe: Right, right. I certainly don't approve of many of the things the government does. The misuse of moneys and many ofthe policies. But I don't see that we can redress our grievences by violence. I'd rather change the laws, if I could, peacefully. That's how I feel about it and you don't have to tell me the government is a thief and a criminal. I know that. But my becoming like it only makes the problem worse. I mean it seems so easy always to find an excuse to commit a crime, do violence, or be dishonest...

C.M.: What was your understanding of FSM?

Moe: Well, of course, I wasn't a student and haven't been one for a longtime. There were a lot of things I didn't understand. For example, I wasn't clear about what they really wanted. Did they want decentralized teaching? To make the University more personal? I think they were reacting to the University as an impersonal institution. It wasn't the only one, but it was the most successful. It was obvious that the criticism directed to the University was applicable to many of the other institutions in the country, to any industrial country. The criticism was that it was too bureaucratic and impersonal. And of course, it was only a short step from that to get into a broader radical perspective.

C.M: Once the organizational structure existed to challenge things on one level it could be used on other levels?

Moe: Right. There was an attempt to get people more permanently involved in radical politics. But it didn't work, or at least it doesn't seem so now.

C..M.: How did you feel about People's Park?

Moe: I opposed it.

C.M.: On what grounds?

Moe: On the grounds that it was a specious issue. That it was designed to get people involved in one issue for the sake of another. In other words, they were prepared to provoke the police into becoming violent. That was the intention. I really feel that that was what People's Park was really about.

C.M.: Did you know any of the people involved in organizing it?

Moe: Oh yes. Michael D-- was one of the leaders. In fact I spoke to him several times before it happened. I tried to get him to tell me that, as I put it, the idea was to provoke police violence. And the idea was that if you provoked the police into being violent a lot of people not involved in the Park would become so indignant at the police behavior that they would become superficially radicalized. A lot of people in those days were involved with very little more than their attitude toward the police. The police were the symbol for the repressive society. And, of course, that's too easy. I mean it's too easy to translate police misbehavior into everything. There are a lot of things left out of that equation. Besides, not all the police behave that way anyway. In fact, if it hadn't have been for the provocation the worst police wouldn't have been in Berkeley.

C.M.: The Alameda Sheriffs?

Moe: Right. It was only because things escalated to a size where the Berkeley police could no longer handle it that the Alameda troops got involved. If they (the organizers) had left it to just the previous year's level of demonstration, the Berkeley police could have handled it and outside policing could have been avoided. The issue of the park itself, just didn't strike me as real. I mean Michael D-- of all people, could care less about having a park. They were into the street scene. That was where things happened normally for them, not in the park. In fact, one of the first things Michael D-- found out was that people were assaulting each other at night and it was terribly difficult to control things. Which was to be expected. My wife put up two hundred dollars for sod and other people worked. But these were people who cared about parks. They weren't that involved in politics.They just thought it was nice to build a park. They liked vegetation and to grow things.

C.M.: Well, if you're right, and the people behind the park were into violence, you would still have to deal with the fact that they weren't into violence for its own sake but as a tool for radicalizing consciousness.

Moe: Right. It was a tool. But a tool I disagreed with because, in the first place, you don't produce real radicals that way, and in the second place, you only add to the total amount of violence. That was the history of the 60s anyway, or a good part of it. That is to say the violence only toughened the police. But on a moral level I'm sympathetic to Dostoyevsky's extreme remark, " If you could save the world by killing one child, would it be worth it?" His answer was no, because it would be bought with a kind of blood money. The regime that replaced the old one would itself be founded on murder.

C.M.: that's the extreme pacifist position. Is that one you hold?

Moe: Well, all the successful revolutions that have been committed to violence have been subsequently repressive, authoritarian, and basically conservative.

C.M: That raises the interesting question of the relationship between radicalism and Marxism. What's your understanding about that relationship?

Moe: Well, when I was a kid the basic distinctions were between Trotskyites and Stalinists. The question was whether we (radicals) had to be easy on the Soviet Union because it could still be saved. That is protect it from criticism by the capitalist press. But then, Trotsky lost out. Not because he had the wrong ideology but because he had to be outmaneuvered by anyone who was as ruthless as Stalin. Trotsky was basically defenseless against him. For example, Stalin would attack any criticism of himself on the grounds of party unity. Just as socialists had to be united against the common external enemy, Capitalism, so too they needed party unity at home. Of course, party unity meant total agreement with Stalin. And Trotsky, not knowing what to do, shut up. He was silent when he should have spoken out. Stalin knew how to paralyze Trotsky. So Trotsky left the country full of guilt and doubt and Stalin ruled the country and ultimately had Trotsky assassinated in Mexico.

C.M.: How does that tie in with the organizers of People's Park?

Moe: I saw them pretty much the same way. They were manipulators, though it was pretty late in the day in the 60s to call them Stalinists. I simply saw that they were prepared to do ruthless and cynical things. It's the perennial problem. It reappears all the time. And incidentally, one of then things these guys have going is that all the charisma is on their side, with the Michael D's. It's never with the people who oppose that kind of behavior because people are attracted to violence as a quick solution. It seems possible. It sounds almost the only way and exposes all the radicals who haven't the guts to act in a violent way. You see, many radicals tend to feel guilty about not being violent enough. They're always defensive about not being violent enough. So they're open to attacks from the ruthless side.

C.M.: Interesting.

Moe: Well, it's very hard to talk this way in Berkeley because the romance of violence has been very strong.

C.M.: Do you think that's true today?

Moe: No, I think people are disillusioned with this now. Not because they ethically disapprove of violence but because it didn't seem to accomplish all that much. Remember, these people wanted quick, radical change and it (violence) didn't accomplish all that much.

C.M: Do you think political action of any kind is worthwhile?

Moe: Absolutely. I just don't approve of violent political action.

C.M: What is your political relationship today?

Moe: I'm not actively political. As I understand politics the only things that change are small things. People get into habits of making changes on smaller levels, then maybe the bigger ones are possible.

C.M: what about changes in lifestyles? Do you think that these kinds of personal changes will have political consequences?

Moe: Well, if you think along conventional political lines (whether you're liberal, conservative, or radical) somewhere along the line you paralyze yourself. There's nowhere to go because all the ideas have been exhausted. But if we explore change from the social revolutionary perspective of having large numbers of people peacefully disobeying laws -- like the areas of pot or consensual adult sexuality -- or maybe even creating original politicians like Brown who have a new approach to things, then there is something to feel slightly hopeful about. And another thing, every movement which I was told was a fad has not only lasted -- judged by the sale of books -- but gotten even larger. That's true of interest in the occult, women's liberation, gay liberation and so forth. I'm sure that the people involved in FSM never dreamed that these other things would grow as they have. I know a lot of pretty square people who know that the old stereotyped roles are done for, that they can't play them anymore.

C.M.: So the point is that there are a lot of ways in which, maybe, a new political consensus is developing that doesn't fit the categories of traditional political analysis.

Moe: I think so, but there's always the question of time. Because simultaneously, we have this tremendous economic concentration continuing all the time.We don't know whether the Corporations might not support a kind of repressive authoritarianism on us in the future. But at least there is the reassuring example of Watergate where a man like Nixon, with dishonest and dictatorial aspirations, didn't get away with it. I've got to believe that the exposure of Nixon was something that couldn't have happened in the Germany of the 30s or the Soviet Union today. A lot of tyranny is dependent upon secrecy. And fear of exposure, where there is a free press, can be very intimidating to any would-be dictators. The more we talk about oil companies, for example, the better. It will make it harder for them to pull a quick one. They might be too intimidated to try this for the final usurpation of power.

C.M.: What about the Growth or Human Potential Movement as an alternative to drugs and politics?

Moe: I think there's something to that. There was a tremendous change starting in the 70s. A lot of interest in meditation, exercise and therapies.

C.M: A number of people seem to have concluded that "working on themselves" has a priority over being politically involved at this time. How do you feel about that?

Moe: Well, that does raise the question, which I heard all my life, about what kind of revolution you would make if the people in it were all emotionally disturbed. And the answer is obvious. Emotionally sick people don't create healthy revolutions. But these people (growth movement) aren't really interested in revolution to begin with. They do understand, however, that unless you're well you're not going to do yourself ar anyone else any good. They may never get into politics but maybe that's just as well. I'm not sure I'd trust them if they did.

C.M: Do you see the Growth Movement as a fad?

Moe: No, I don't think so. Every time something happens people say that it's just a fad. But it turns out that a lot of those things hang on longer than fads are supposed to. I thought fads were a year or two. But the interest in the occult, for example, has lasted at least the fifteen years I've been here.

C.M.: The occult?

Moe: The unknown. It covers a wide range of subjects all related to mysticism and extrasensory personal power.

C.M.: Do you have any personal interest in mysticism?

Moe: I don't think so. I don't have a strong interest in religion and unless you have that I don't think you can get into mysticism very strongly. I remember when I was a kid I criticized people for being hypocritical about their religion, in this case Judaism. Now I realize that I never cared about it to begin with. Honest or dishonest, I have no interest in the subject. So I gave up criticizing it. Although maybe, though I doubt it, an incredible thing will happen to me and I'll be traumatized and suddenly get religious. Maybe I'll get frightened or something.

C.M.: What about the growing interest in personal health. You know things like diet, exercises, and therapies. What's your interest in that?

Moe: I don't have the temperament for it. I tend to be too pessimistic, careless and disorganized. I'm constitutionally incapable of imposing any regime on myself. It would be very hard for me to do that. I'm too rambling, too capricious to organize around a purpose like that. I'm basically purposeless in my actions.

C.M.: Except for the bookstore.

Moe: True. The bookstore works because it has become my obsession. But about everything else I'm just too skeptical and self-doubting. I make fun of everyone including myself. I don't believe that people with strong convictions, strong purposes behave this way. Skepticism and humor seem to go together in the same way that seriousness and purpose do.

C.M.: What has owning a bookstore done to your sense of books?

Moe: Well, it changes everything. There used to be one book that everyone read, the Bible. I remember this guy at an anarchist hall who used to carry one book under his arm all the time and try to get everyone to read it. He was a Spanish Civil War veteran and obsessed with this one book. It was his bible. But I grew up with many books. As I read more and more it was hard to avoid getting confused. Pretty soon I couldn't help getting a little skeptical reading all those books. That's the advantage of reading only one book. You don't get confused. It becomes the book.

Then, of course, there's the question of, once a person reads incredible amounts, how much can be digested? How much can you take seriously? Look at professional book reviewers. They're very cynical about books. They read very few of the ones they get. In fact, they sell them for a few quick bucks. Kenneth Rexroth once said over the radio that yes, he did sell the books he got from publishers. Furthermore, he encouraged them to keep sending them to him so he could make a living. So multiply his position by my position, where everyday in order to make out I have to sell thousands of books. It's clear that nobody can read a serious portion of the books I traffic in. Even if I took Evelyn What's-her-name's reading course, I still couldn't catch up and probably would enjoy very little of what I read, in spite of her claims. I certainly wouldn't be able to read poetry that way. There wouldn't be time to muse, reflect, or think. I would be too busy reading all the time. And, obviously, given the technology of book production and printing, and being in a position to realize how incredible it is, it is beyond me. It's beyond everyone. You're staggered, even stupefied, by the sheer volume of books you could never possibly read.

C.M.: So that turns you off to reading books?

Moe: No, it doesn't turn you off. Not completely. What it does is make you reassess the value of reading. Before, everyone read the same book, the Bible. Now everyone reads a different book. That is unless the media turns some book into a common experience through the device of the best seller. That's the only way a large number of people can share, at least for a while, the same reading interests in our society. It's really kind of ironic that it's the device of the best seller that makes it possible.

C.M: Is that how you get motivated to read a book, through the media, or do you rely upon the personal enthusiasm of a specific person to turn you on to a book?

Moe: Right. I rely on the latter. People tell me which books to read. Over time I've learned which people's judgment to trust. But you know people read books in all kinds of ways. For example, I used to read every book from cover to cover. Then somebody told me that he never read books that way. That he read only certain chapters which had been touted to him. I never could read that way. It had to be cover to cover. But now, I read more impressionistically. I don't read for details like I used to.

C.M.: What are a couple of the books you've read recently?

Moe: The last book was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

C.M.: Why that book?

Moe: Because somebody told me about it. I was selling it and he was touting it to me.

C.M.: What else have you read lately?

Moe: Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow, the paperback rights which, I'm told, just sold for the highest amount ever. It's a period piece about music and other things. A person who works for me was a student of Doctorow's and was impressed by him. He turned me on to it.

C.M.: Why would you read a book about motorcycles?

Moe: Well, because it really isn't about motorcycles. It's more about philosophy. The book uses the motorcycle as a metaphor to examine the author's attitudes about motorcycles contrasted with those of his friends. From that he broadens the metaphor to an expression of classical modes of thinking versus Romantic modes of feeling. In other words, he was interested in how the motorcycle worked, how it was put together. He could repair it and felt he had a classical mind whereas his friends didn't care about the motorcycle for itself. They cared about the fact that it took them places, felt good, and that it was an a attractive image from a distance. They weren't interested in the mechanics of it. They couldn't repair it. The author felt that was irresponsible. But then, he realized he didn't understand their feelings. So he was trying to generate a synthesis that everyone could share.

C.M.: What do you see in the future? Would you say you're basically optimistic or pessimistic about being in Berkeley? Does it matter all that much what's happening in the community? Do you think it's going to be pretty much the same?

Moe: Well, it's never the same. There were so many changes in the 60s that I've got to believe there's more to come in the 70s. It all depends upon what happens with the economics and the ecology. I think both of those issues are going to persist. In fact, a number of people don't take bags in my store for ecological reasons, to save the trees. But going back, an enormous number of people were unhappy in the 30s and 40s because of the Depression and the Second World War. Then in the 50s you had McCarthy -- the red baiting and in the 60s Civil Rights and Vietnam. In the 70s we've already had Watergate, persisting high unemployment, and a whole question of governmental intergrity. Where it's all going from there I don't know.

But locally, I don't things are as dead as some people say. I think Berkeley is a dynamo of energy compared to other places and that if anything significant happens elsewhere a lot of it is going to come from here. Because something, I don't know... a combination of the University, the climate, the fact that it's Western rather than Eastern, make this a focus. The decadent things seem to happen in the East, and all the more optimistic, the better things seem to start in the West.

C.M.: Why do these things happen in Berkeley? Do you think the University is an important ingredient?

Moe: Yes, because of the people it attracts. People like to be near it though not nesessarily involved in it. I'm not talking about the formal institution of the University, but rather the people who congregate around it. Berkeley also has a lot of facilities and clubs. And then there's the music scene with people like Fahey and Country Joe. Berkeley is an ideal kind of environment. Lewis Mumford once said that the ideal city was about 100,000 people where everyone could walk to the town center. Berkeley is like that. It is a city, yet it has lots of space and vegetation. The countryside is very accessible. Even the hills remind you of the natural environment. Try that in the Bronx or Queens!

C.M.: Would you consider leaving Berkeley?

Moe: No, I'm pretty attached. I like the people here. I think it's stimulating. A good place for my kids and not dangerous. I like the fact that people are outspoken and opinionated, yet not snobbish and elitist. Berkeley discourages attitudes like that. I get the feeling that people are more genuinely democratic here than elsewhere.

C.M.: What about self-righteousness?

Moe: Well... there is a lot of that. Because once people get involved in some strong belief there is bound to be some insensitivity. For example, people who don't smoke are really angry and indignant toward people who do. And I don't think a lot of people understand that I have a right to destroy myself as long as I'm not really hurting anyone else. Everyone has that right.

C.M.: Of course a non- smoker will claim that your cigar smoke hurts them.

Moe: They claim that but I've never heard of any test which proved that exhaled smoke gave anyone cancer and so forth. In fact (puffing on his cigar) I think there's an incredible discrimination against the minority of smokers in theatres and so-called public places. Smokers are a persecuted minority. Pretty soon it will be criminal to smell like tobacco in a public place. I'll have to retreat to the closet. In New York it's illegal to smoke in certain public buildings, elevators, and public conveyances. I don't know if it's a felony or misdemeaner but it's pretty heavy.

C.M.: It's clear that Berkeley is a diverse, pluralistic environment. But how genuinely tolerant are people here of other points of view? Do we have less fanatics here or is it simply that there are so many competing views that no one can dominate the others? Is maybe the tolerance a kind of fortuitous product of this pluralism rather than a principled belief in its value?

Moe: I think that strong beliefs and intolerance go together. So there is this simultaneous balance of accepting pluralism and intolerance among some of the sects in Berkeley. But you may be right that tolerance isn't accepted on any principled grounds but exists mainly on the basis of competing manias and an expedient strategy. My own feeling is that almost anything is okay as long as no one is really hurt. I haven't got the right to be the artiber of other people's lives. Of course, I do have strong convictions about things but I try to keep them to myself. That is to say, I won't proselytize. I won't tell anyone what to do.

C.M.: What do you have strong convictions about?

Moe: Doing what I say I'm going to do. Keeping my word. Consistency where it effects someone else. That is to say where they depend on your consistency and you've led them to believe it's forthcoming. Being honest. Saying what I mean.

C.M.: What about the South Campus area? What improvements would you like to see in the future?

Moe: A mall would improve it. I've been in favor of a mall for a longtime.

C.M.: What, if anything, has been done by people like yourself to accomplish this? Has there been any attempt to organize by merchants who are in favor of a mall?

Moe: No. But there was some pressure when people actually tried to blockade the streets as a protest. The city compromised by turning Telegraph Avenue into a one-way street between Dwight and the University. Telegraph used to be, about 6-8 years ago, a two-way street.

C. M: Do you think we will get mall eventually?

Moe: Well, what they are doing us making it harder and harder to drive through certain parts of Berkeley. They're setting up these diverters and stop signs which are upsetting a lot of people.

C.M.: How do you feel about the traffic plan?

Moe: I think it's cool. It could be improved in a few places. But it makes sense to me to cut down on the traffic between the major arterials. I think it's good. If they keep this up long enough than they're going to have to come out and commit themselves to things like malls. If you regulate people in cars beyond a certain point you might just as well get them off the streets all together. Obviously what they're doing is for the enjoyment and safety of the pedestrians. A mall is a logical extension of that idea.