Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s
I read a piece about the restructuring of Barry Farm, a historically black (and historically poor) community in Washington, DC. The buildings have been bought up, rezoned, there are plans to make the place a ‘mixed-income’ community. The article follows a photographer who’s been taking pictures to catalogue Barry Farm before the change. She interviews residents. One girl, Dasani Watkins, a recent high-school salutatorian, says: “Yes, bring the change to the neighborhood, but bring it for those people. Don’t push those people out and bring it for someone else.”
Afterward, I read another article, this one about kissatens (showa-era coffee shops) in Tokyo. They’re on their way out. The writer toured a couple backstreets, interviewed the proprietors, all of whom were over 70. One man counted customers on his two hands, and when they asked him why he stayed open without any business he said: “I wouldn’t know what else to do.” The shops are wet bones in tar pits. When the owners are gone, investors will snatch the buildings quick as a funeral.
Basically, change comes to everyone, but not everyone equally. Whatever side of the world you’re on, someone’s stacking you up as a winner or loser. I’m sure people will profit in the new Barry Farm. I’m sure some of them will deserve it. But where do you go when the stones you built your whole life on are ground into someone else’s gravel driveway?
Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith
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“It wasn’t like a “see you later.” It was like “goodbye” because you’re not certain if you’re ever going to see these people again. It’s kind of sad — you grew up with them and now they’re gone. They’re going to different neighborhoods, and you don’t know if you’ll ever have that same community again. People don’t talk to each other in [my] new neighborhood. They don’t speak at all.” – Dasani Watkins, quoted from the article “As A D.C. Public Housing Complex Faces Redevelopment, One Teenager Reflects,” by Becky Harlan