Gentrification

2015

 

Everyone I know complains about the changes in the city. Part of it is, of course, that we are all getting up in years. People our age said the same thing when we were in our twenties, and we laughed at them. Like they laugh at us now.

And when we moved in the opposite was happening, neighborhoods were going to hell. Gentrification is just a sign of cities in flux. When I moved to LA the city was going to hell. Hence punk rockers like me could afford to move into neighborhoods where once movies stars lived. Bohemia thrived. Now the movie stars are moving back. I remember watching the Wilshire corridor go from middle class to drive bys in a decade. Change can come brutally fast in a city, and there is barely anything that can be done to stop it.

I vividly remember old timers telling me how my favorite hangs had once been nice places. Change happens, I said. They were going to be dead soon enough anyway, I figured. Well, that worm has turned. Some of the very people you see here decrying gentrification are actively part of the process. They might not realize it, but they are. Cities change, and all we can do is watch and remember. I’ve been living in Silverlake for thirty years, and while the changes I see are heartbreaking, I also know that a lot of it on my part is pure nostalgia.
I remember how many of us Old Timers hated the Coffee Table when it opened up here. It was too nice. Too polite. Too westside. That seems so long ago now. The gritty side of Silverlake disappeared years ago, about the time they began spelling it SIlver Lake again. And now people on Facebook are tripping over themselves saying how happy they are that Moby is opening up a Vegan place down the street from me. These are the same people who rail against gentrification. I guess it depends on what you mean by gentrification. Some of it is pure greed, some of it is just cool.
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