If you have "no place to go," come here!

I've looked at class from both sides now

From win and lose:

When Emily Cook, a screenwriter, bought a house four years ago in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood on the Northeast side of Los Angeles, she fantasized what the area might look like in a year or two, with cafes and boutiques replacing tattered old businesses. “It was like fantasy football,” said Ms. Cook, 38, who also sings in a band named Fonda.

... and still somehow ...

A sad flower shop on the corner, she thought, could become a miniature Whole Foods. An upholstery store could be a gastropub where she and friends would grab a beer, and a neglected 1940s diner could become a retro spot for a quick meal.

... It's life's illusions I recall ...

But Ms. Cook has stopped fantasizing about what might be, and started worrying about what might shut down. The flower store has closed; no gourmet market is moving in. Lucy Finch, a vintage boutique, folded last month. That Yarn Store, a hangout for crochet-heads, didn’t survive a bad winter.

... I really don't know life ...

The deep recession, with its lost jobs and falling home values nationwide, poses another kind of threat: to the character of neighborhoods settled by the young creative class, from the Lower East Side in Manhattan to Beacon Hill in Seattle. The tide of gentrification that transformed economically depressed enclaves is receding, leaving some communities high and dry.

at all.

For long-time [read: working class] residents, the return to pre-boom [bubble] rents may be a blessing. But it also poses [to whom?] a rattling question of identity: What happens to bourgeois bohemia when the bourgeois part drops out?

I don't know.

Well, I know what happened to me in the 2000 bubble, and I know what happened to me in the 2008, with The Big Shitstorm. No doubt much the same lies ahead for Ms. Cook or those like her. But it's all creative destruction, right? Mustn't be bitter and cling to the lattes!

I've lived in Bohemia, and it's a beautiful place. So, any member of the "creative" [cough] "class" is welcome to join us under the bus! Even the ones who helped shove us there.

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ClareA's picture
Submitted by ClareA on

Thanks for this post. It is tiresome to always read articles, commentary, etc. written from the point of view of one (creative?) class which has no awareness of or interest in any class "below" theirs.

It would be ok maybe if this perception was prominent only in lifestyle columns but it seems to pervade all news writing. It seems the only time a "lower" class is written about is when the story is either from the point of view of "privileged compassion", some variation on rags-to-riches, or maybe a bit of voyeuristic slumming. It seems only a few cliched narratives are allowed.

There are a whole lot of people for whom a "working class" life is just! and, believe it or not, life which is interesting, creative, sensitive, and original. But then, anyone (any writer) in possession of those attributes would recognize this fact.
It's when the perception of the lesser value of people with lesser income is held by people who make policies that we are in real trouble. Uh oh.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

I have many neighbors who live in the house where one of their grandparents was born. There may be no paint on the walls, but the roots go deep. I learn that so-and-so has parts for old Massey tractors because that barn on his property is where his father used to run a Massey distributorship, for example. Rumors of salacious past uses for the old buildings abound. If they're all true there were an awful lot of brothels and speakeasy's for one small rural town. I run a campground in part on land that was a sand pit, and with reshaping by regular river flooding is now a huge beach. Almost everybody around here has a salacious tale or two about their use of that property when they were teenagers, all almost certainly true. I'm sure they expect their grandchildren will learn about pleasures of the flesh right there whether or not I or my successor is around to keep it civil and non-violent.

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Many neighborhoods deteriorate through foreclosures up and down suburban streets. No one wins from a foreclosure. The bank is stuck with a fast deteriorating property while the owner loses, in many cases, their life savings.

The country, except Beverly Hills and Potomac MD, is peppered with foreclosed homes. Banks gain nothing from their financially moronic policy and society is badly hurt. All in the name of a fake ledger.

Foreclosed home owners are hit even further by the damage inflicted on their credit rating. This makes it difficult for them to buy a home when and if the economy recovers. the government can prevent that damage from happening, but Geither is safe therefore other aren't.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

LA is different - it's a city with more working artists than any city probably in the history of the world. The places will sit vacant. The landlords will continue to demand exorbitant rents. No one will rent. Eventually they will give up and rather than a well-funded corporate effort (albeit a lovely shade of blue) some working class artist, with a chunk of money, will rent that space and do something authentically bohemian and adventurous. It may well be another vintage clothing shop, or flower shop, but it will be modest and inventive, as opposed to well-funded and well thought out. The other danger is that The GAP will decide that the neighborhood is generous for them, and they'll wind up with a string of corporate clothing stories they didn't know they needed.

Los Angeles landlords destroy so many profitable businesses with their insane rent demands and increases. I wish there were tax hikes built in for landlords who do that. My beloved Studio City shopping area has turned into a revolving door thanks to an outfit called the Pikens. They have run so many of my favorite shops out of business and it doesn't have to be that way. I doubt anyone is more profitable because of it.