Civil Rights Geography

I’ll post a link to the larger project later, but here’s something I’ve been working on at work this week. Mind you, I’m wrking on a much cooler and more complicated set-up for Groceteria when I get a second here and there. More on that later, too.

View Civil Rights Greensboro Location Map in a larger map

Planet SOMA

In his column in today’s Chronicle, C.W. Nevius suggests that gentrification finally won the game in my old neighborhood, that it’s not a bad thing, that the results “don’t frighten anyone,” and that it “may be most vibrant and attractive neighborhood in the city.” He even goes so far as to argue that the new South of Market might provide a template for all future urban development in San Francisco.

I humbly disagree.

First, his definitions are blurry. Is Nevius talking about the new development in the eastern part of the district near the Financial District? If so, there may be some merit to his assertion that the area was something of a blank canvas, at least with respect to residential development. Indeed, very few residents were displaced here. Even so, I don’t find the results especially distinctive. But for the occasional obscured view of the water or the Bay Bridge, this high-rise jungle of sparkling new million dollar condos and big box retailers could be in just about any larger North American city. Granted, it’s perhaps a little more transit-oriented than it might have been in, say, Charlotte, and I suppose it’s not particularly unpleasant. But it’s also not particularly unique, except maybe in scale and price.

That said, the King Street/AT&T Park corridor is only part of the South of Market Area. Nevius states that “as the area fills in” that “surely residents in those areas can see that the specter of gentrification isn’t that bad.” The section west of Moscone Center, though, hasn’t been a blank slate since about 1906 when it all burned down. It’s pretty darned full already. There are, and always have been, people living there, and prior to the 1990s, many of these people were of rather modest means. Since the 1990s, a large number of these people (not to mention small businesses) have been displaced. These folks might have a slightly different perspective on the effects of gentrification in the area.

I don’t live in San Francisco anymore, and I’m not directly affected by any of this. But I do care about urban development, and I also recognize that many people look to San Francisco for a model of how their own cities might evolve. If there’s a model to follow here, though, I’d prefer that it not be this “slash and burn” style of development that erases everything (and everyone) that was there before. It’s one thing to do this to an area where there wasn’t all that much to begin with, but to superimpose this model onto an existing neighborhood seems to me the antithesis of urbanity, whether it’s done in the name of “slum clearance” in 1959 or “transit-oriented development” fifty years later.

Nevius closes by saying that he’ll “be interested in what the rest of the city looks like (in ten years). And how much it resembles the new gentrification.”

For San Francisco’s sake, I’m hoping there won’t be much resemblance at all.

How I Learned About Sexually Transmitted Diseases…

I remember this spot running regularly during the daytime when I stayed with my aunt while my mom was at work. It must have been around 1971 or 1972, and I assume the campaign was a result of increased (but still non-lethal) infections related to that trendy new sexual revolution thingy. Frankly, it’s amazing that something like this could air at all in the early 1970s considering that ten years later, Ronald Reagan couldn’t even bring himself to utter the term “AIDS”.

What a delight it must have been for parents to hear a six- or seven-year-old me running around the house singing this song. And by the way, I love that VD-stricken librarian.

Randomly Wednesday

First time in days I’ve had a chance to do some reading:

  • My neighborhood library branch in Pittsburgh is closing. It’s the oldest Carnegie Library branch in the city and has somehow managed to survive for 111 years,  and it’s a rather amazing space. I’m not happy.
  • Google Street View has finally covered Toronto.
  • On Jewish delis.
  • Anyone for a wedding on the steps of the Capitol?

Today might be my last weekday at home for quite some time. I’m torn between trying to get ahead on schoolwork and sitting on my ass watching movies all day. Of course, there are lots of other things I need to do, so it won’t be a day of pure sloth (or academics, should I choose that route) anyway.

One that satisfies my artistic needs…

Sorry for all the coyness and secrecy, but now that I’ve made the necessary notifications at my current position and all, I am most happy to announce that I have a really cool new job. What’s more, I have a cool new job doing pretty much exactly what I went to library school to do. Better still, I am officially considered university faculty in the aforementioned job, so I get lots of time off and benefits and stuff.

If I can get through the next two months till graduation, I will be very content.

And did I mention that I love my husband for putting up with my middle-aged graduate student ass for so long?

Saturday Morning

I’m happy to announce that the long hell of summer is finally over around these parts, and that as of this morning, I finally had to give up and turn on the heat since the temperature inside the house was in the upper fifties.

I hate summer and am glad to see it go.

Alas, the cold weather and accompanying blanket fetish are also accentuating my fatigue now that I’m working full-time while going to school full-time while also doing my assorted part-time contract gigs. Suffice to say there has been very little free time this week. OK, what I meant to say is that there has been no free time this week, nor will there be any this weekend. I want more than anything to curl up on the couch and watch movies. That’s not going to happen, though.

It’s all worth it, because I’ve landed my dream job and I’m still quite excited about it. The two months between now and  graduation are just going to suck, though, and there’s no way around it. There will be whining and complaining. Please bear with me.

Like it’s 1991…

My disorienting moment of the morning involved watching a sexual harassment video where everyone was dressed like cast members from Saved by the Bell inside a building at UNCG I hadn’t entered in eighteen years, and then hearing Jump by Kriss Kross blaring from someone’s car when I walked outside.

It almost made me want a beer and a cigarette.

Anniversary Denny’s

Every year, on the occasion of the anniversary of our first date (during which we had dinner at the Denny’s on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno), Mark and I invade some unsuspecting branch of the chain for a tradition we call “Anniversary Denny’s”. There’s usually a photo involved, although there was none that first night in 2001, and I can’t seem to find one from 2003, either. Last year’s was special, if depressing; we were o different coasts, so we sent each other solo shots from our respective Denny’s.

Anyway, here’s the whole set to date:


2009: Greentree Road, Pittsburgh PA.

Continue reading “Anniversary Denny’s”