They Didn’t Make It

Honestly, what's even the point of showing a date?

As the end of 2018 approached last month, I started a different kind of new year’s countdown for two nearby businesses. Throughout last year, I passed the following soon-to-be-restaurants frequently, and each featured signs announcing their imminent arrival. However, rather than a simple “Coming Soon!” sign, both establishments opted for more specificity.

Tenoch sign stating they'll be open 2018

As you can probably guess from the headline of this post, Tenoch didn’t make their opening in 2018. As of yesterday, these signs remained up, and the restaurant did not look particularly close to opening. I’m not sure when those signs first went up, but it was several months ago. The restaurant had through December 31st to hit their self-imposed goal, but alas, they fell short.

The next one was foolishly even more precise:

A+B Burgers Sign stating they'll be open Late Fall 2018

I think it’s fair to say that “late fall” means approximately Thanksgiving and onward. At that point, why would they not just give themselves a little more breathing room? Despite what our local weather often seems to indicate, fall in the Northern Hemisphere technically lasts until almost the end of the year. They could have simply said “Late 2018” or even just “2018”. Alas, the folks at A+B Burgers flew too close to the sun on wings of ground beef before coming crashing back to earth on December 21st. Of course, they didn’t make it by the 31st either, so they’d have been screwed either way.

Goofy though they are, it’s likely that these businesses will open in the coming weeks, or at least sometime this year. Assuming they do, neither of these businesses will come anywhere close to the all-time reigning champion for inaccurate estimates.

That would be Canal Walk at Hamden, a “new lifestyle center” slated to open in Summer of 2009.

A sign advertising Canal Walk at Hamden, Opening Summer 2009
This picture was taken with an iPhone X.

For nearly a decade, I passed this sign while driving between Boston and New Jersey to see my family. I would look for it about halfway through my trip, and it just got funnier every time I saw it. Now I know, the financial crisis of 2008 almost certainly stalled this development, and perhaps even bankrupted some poor developers. And unlike a restaurant, it makes sense to advertise this before it opens, to get businesses signed on.

But wouldn’t you think someone would take this sign down once the date had passed? Perhaps in the fall of 2009, or early 2010, or at least sometime during the Obama presidency? It was visible to tens of thousands of cars passing on the highway every day, but it was also accessible from a walking path. Hell, with can of spray paint, anyone could’ve done them a favor and at least removed the date. And yet, this sign survived, year after ridiculous year.

This particular photo was taken in late December of 2017, but my own delays meant I never managed to write about this while the sign was still standing. At some point in 2018, the board was finally, mercifully, removed. The project itself is still nowhere to be seen, of course, but at least that sign is no longer lying to every passerby.

At a minimum, this project’s monument to failure stood for eight and a half years past its purported deadline. That’s a record I doubt I’ll ever see broken.