Farewell to Jose Antonio Salinas? Or Picketting &pizza?

One of Georgetown’s most distinctive smiling faces may soon be fading from the neighborhood. Jose Antonio Salinas, a Bolivian-born man, who operates the stand outside the former Five Guys burger outlet, at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Dumbarton Street, has been a feature of the neighborhood for more than 15 years. His stall sells necessities, such as hats, watches, scarves and sunglasses.

He told The Georgetowner that before his tenure on the corner, his table had been held by a woman who handed it over to him. He speculates that the table itself has been there for around 30 years.

However, the building behind Salinas’s stall, which is currently empty, has recently changed hands, and moves have been made to eject Salinas by April 30.

Some neighbors told The Georgetowner that they are thinking of picketing the new business planning to open there, &pizza.

When asked about this news, the longtime Georgetown business owner simply said, “This place, it doesn’t really belong to me.”
Salinas has watched different stores come and go over the last decade and a half from his unique vantage point. Come rain or shine, he’s been at his corner to watch the neighborhood evolve. Nobody knows the area better than he. The permanent residents of Georgetown, he says, have gotten used to his familiar face.

“I know them. They know me.”

The people of Georgetown to some extent owe a debt to Salinas, who in the past has been known to intervene to stop crimes. He cited his good relationship with the police in the neighborhood.

“I always do whatever I can do,” Salinas modestly declared.

When asked about the prospect of finding a new way to earn a living, should he have to, the 68 year-old Salinas said he was considering retiring or returning part-time to his previous job as a cook.

Reflecting on his favorite aspect of his time in the neighborhood, Salinas said he had enjoyed meeting and talking with people from all over the world from behind his table. When asked how he felt about the possibility of leaving his spot, he nostalgically murmured that “15 years is 15 years.”

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