Thoughts on Gentrification

11 May

“And then, walking home laden with groceries, I watch a tall teenage boy in front of me drop a crumpled white plastic bag, so casually that it seems it’s drifted from his hand because he forgot he was holding it. It falls onto the sidewalk, where it slowly relaxes into uselessness. It is now a piece of trash. I ponder whether to stoop and pick it up and throw it into a nearby trash can. Wouldn’t that constitute a censure not only of him, should he turn around and see me, but of the whole neighborhood, where trash blows into streets and yards and forms middens in alleyways? But wouldn’t walking by it be a kind of acquiescence? It’s this sort of minute social calculus that’s the mark of the self-conscious gentrifier, not quite sure of her status in the community.”

-from New to the Neighborhood


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