Re: Two Links

1

CMBG Omfug turning into a bowery isn't particularly depressing, nor is the next one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 9:54 AM
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2 makes me want to cry. I mean, none of it's surprising, I could find dozens of locations where you could do similar pairs of pictures. And it's not that it's depressing, exactly -- I think NYC is probably healthier, a lot of ways, now than it was when I was growing up. But so much of my adolescence is gone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:02 AM
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2 is nightmarish. I just read that Pearl Paint is being closed to create an "Outstanding Condo Conversion Opportunity," whatever the fuck that is, advertised on the back of "local" businesses like Starbucks and Bank of America.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:06 AM
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I do think the shots purporting to show decay are kind of bullshit. I mean, they're on blocks I don't know well offhand, and any individual storefront might have gone from a charismatic old business to vacant, but I don't think you could find a lot of blocks in any neighborhood where there were more vacant storefronts now than twenty years ago.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:06 AM
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However, Grom Gelato is pretty good gelato.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:06 AM
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Pearl Paint? Fuck. I'm not even an artist at all, and I love that place -- I don't do anything with them, but I love art materials. I should watch for a going out of business sale, and spot Sally a spending spree.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:07 AM
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but I don't think you could find a lot of blocks in any neighborhood where there were more vacant storefronts now than twenty years ago.

But it could be that the turnover favors putting bland businesses in old vacant lots, and charming old businesses becoming the current vacant lots, while the number of vacant lots stays constant. Depressing!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:08 AM
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2 is viscerally depressing. I've said before that I grew up visiting NYC a lot to see family in the 1980s; at the time, LA felt like the pristine, orderly, fancy but bland suburban city and NYC felt like the crazy chaotic decaying cesspool, and now it feels like exactly the reverse.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:12 AM
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Maybe, but I'd bet strongly against the number of vacant lots having remained constant other than in neighborhoods where there weren't any already.

The internet really is bad for brick and mortar retail; all the fantastic weird dusty little stores that used to exist, there's no reason for anymore. It's a shame for the kind of things you really want to physically examine before you buy them, and it's just a shame for the streetscape. On the other hand, it certainly does make life easier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:12 AM
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Now I want to go buy underwear on Orchard Street, and this particular kind of biscotti from the dusty bakery on 13 and first, and walk around the inexplicable cluster of magic/practical joke stores east of the Flatiron building. Anyone got a nostalgia-powered time machine?

(It's a good thing Little Italy never meant jack to me, because that's gotten sad as anything.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:15 AM
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This is idiotic being sad about that collection of pictures. I see this all day. It's not surprising. I have no excuse for getting choked up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:17 AM
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While the cost-benefit analysis may work on some people, it seems fairly obvious to me we should house homeless people before anything else because, you know, they're people who don't have homes.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:17 AM
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Nonsense. They should get rewarded with a home for first getting their life in order and getting a steady income and knowing the joy of being able to afford their own housing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:19 AM
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Grom Gelato was visibly busy when I passed it on a March visit to the IFC Center.

The place where I had dinner the same night is less than a block from the place where the picture below Grom's was taken.

And the restaurant where we specifically planned to eat, but rejected in the moment, was less than a block from the place where the picture above Grom's was taken.

The odds that that would be true were probably quite good given that I was in the Theater District and it's dense, but I couldn't unsee the "coincidence".


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 10:37 AM
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If homeless people get homes, that's just going to make them think they are entitled to having society treat them with some decency.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:10 AM
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CMBG Omfug turning into a bowery isn't particularly depressing

I'm not entirely sure what this means (turning into a whatnow?), but I'm pretty sure it's very wrong.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:17 AM
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A shelter that the State gives a person is not a home. To be a home, it must be earned through hard work and clean living.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:17 AM
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And debt.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:24 AM
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Isn't the real issue with homelessness actually a mental health issue? Perhaps we are more enlightened now, but the snake pits were closed for a reason. Now we just put the same people in regular prison, with the murderers and rapists.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:27 AM
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16: Bowery is the street name. From the picture, it's a clothing store.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:28 AM
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20: I know that Bowery is a street name. That's why I'm not sure what "[CBGB] turning into a bowery" is supposed to mean. Anyway all this belongs on Standpipe's blog presumably, but my point was that CBGB giving way to a fucking John Varvatos is extraordinarily depressing.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:34 AM
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I think Heebie misunderstood the address on the awning as a phrase describing the store. Bowery could mean something applicable -- something inbetween a florist and a garden center? It doesn't, but it could.

But overall you're right and it is depressing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:38 AM
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CBGB giving way to a fucking John Varvatos is extraordinarily depressing

No! You know what's extraordinarily depressing? Punk rock! And grunge!

I know why those kids are so angry and depressed!
Because they can't play their instruments!


Posted by: Opinionated Fan of True Rock | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:43 AM
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Here's the more intense Detroit version


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 11:45 AM
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Can we really call this 'gentrification'? Most of these areas were already very gentrified ten years ago, and in the case of the West Village, way longer than that. You could do the same things on the UWS or UES, yet the former has been gentrified since the eighties and the latter since forever. And in the one area that they use which really wasn't particularly gentrified ten years ago and is now, i.e. Harlem, they're cherry picking by comparing previously existing businesses to remodels in progress and closed storefronts. There was no shortage of closed down storefronts and derelict buildings there ten years ago, many now replaced by the kind of fun non corporate businesses that are characteristic of early and mid stage gentrification. The Union Square West thing is also pretty disingenuous, note that they're not showing Union Square Cafe or a before and after thing of whatever replaced Union Square Wines (a ritzy spacious all pale wood and exposed brick wine store that was located right next to that photo).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 12:35 PM
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The stated timeframe kind of misrepresents it. When I look at those pictures and get choked up, I'm thinking of 25-30 years ago, not ten. You're right that the process purportedly documented in the pictures was almost done ten years ago, and changes since then have been pretty small.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 12:57 PM
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30-35 years ago.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:05 PM
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Was thinking about some reminiscing I did at the other place about old Mpls a week or two ago, and realizing that a lot of the things I miss that were sites of formative experiences in my childhood, etc. were actually aspects of urban renewal/infill/suburbanization. The Har Mar Mall movie theater, for instance, was THE multi-plex when I was a kid, not brand new by the mid-80s timeframe I remember it from, but pretty up-to-date even so. And the bakeries that produced all the smells I loved so much about downtown winter mornings were mostly a chain called McGlynn's, which also had locations in Target, where you could sometimes watch the cakes being decorated.

Interestingly, Mpls. started a conscious process of urban renewal back as far as the early 1930s, which lasted well into the 1960s. There's been plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth about losing the big architectural "gems", but it's definitely the little, funky places that I miss, even if many of them were newish or chain-related. Honestly! "Gelato". Hmph. When I was a boy we had Bridgeman's and Baskin Robbins, and we liked them!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:11 PM
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Look's like Paul's Boutique is now a defunct burrito shop. But there's still a tailor's next door.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:14 PM
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The emotional/cultural/whatever resonance of "New York in the 70s" is extraordinarily strong, there's just been so much nostalgia writing about it in, I dunno, the past 5 years or so. I guess because it's so totally and completely gone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:35 PM
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Oh, also, on the "house the homeless" thing, I should mention that PATH, the group you all gave money to uses that as their primary philosophy; their deal is that they give homeless people housing first, and then work on all other problems. It's expensive but it's the only thing that works.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:36 PM
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You could just kill somebody, you know? And get away with it, too! Now, I dunno, you have to run them down with an SUV or something. It's not the same as knifing them in the guy while roller-skating to Chic next to Patti Smith. That was real New York. Try that now you'd probably get in all kinds of trouble.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:38 PM
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It's expensive but it's the only thing that works.

My understanding is that it's still cheaper than us and the fire guys dealing with them all the time. The ER trips alone are probably like a bazillion dollars a year.

And really that's what the "fuck em" crowd needs to understand. Are there people who are a winning combo of substance abuse, mental illness, and giant shitheads who have alienated every friend and family member they have? Absolutely. But you're already paying for them in one way or another. Even if you don't give a fuck about helping them at least get on board with bringing the bill down.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:46 PM
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I don't want to step away from the principles of compassion / mutual aid, even if only when speaking to a specific group. The "fuck 'em" sentiment could also evolve into much more sadistic treatment, like denying emergency care, or workhouses. (And I don't want to assume anything along the lines of "it couldn't get that bad".) We already have way too many localities trying to shift rather than solve the problem by giving bus tickets to everyone with problems.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 1:56 PM
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could also evolve into much more sadistic treatment

It's genuinely scary how popular that sort of thing seems to be. Were Americans always such massive dickheads? I suppose the obvious answer is "yes".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:12 PM
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I don't think we need to step away from the principles but IME that crowd isn't likely to change their minds.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:13 PM
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Maybe not, but I wonder what the salience of that opinion is to them. And people hold many mutually contradictory beliefs.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:27 PM
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I've been convinced of the housing first approach for a while (Gladwell had a very good article about it, though I guess I'm not supposed to say that here). But there is a bit of a problem, which is that homeless people move to places that give better services. So even though this approach saves money per homeless person, it may very well lose money for the cities that try it. (It's still the right thing to do, but I think the purely selfish arguments don't work unless they federal government is doing the funding.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:31 PM
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Even if you don't give a fuck about helping them at least get on board with bringing the bill down.

Lawsuits and settlements are expensive


Posted by: ZOMBIE KELLY THOMAS | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:41 PM
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The big problem is: suppose you were able to convince the sadists that it makes great sense, purely in terms of cost-savings, to shift some budget away from all the current places we're spending money to serve these people, and instead use that money to provide housing. And assume that cost savings actually happens, and is real, and is significant. The sadists will use that extra room in the budget to cut taxes, or build a new sports arena or god knows what else. And then in the next tight budget cycle, the "Housing Assistance For Homeless People" line item is going to be very vulnerable, because at that point it won't look like a cost-savings, it will look like a pure cost. It's an expense line-item, and the expenses that it's offsetting won't be visible. So it will be slashed, because, after all, these people are sadists... they've been looking for an excuse to slash it all along. And then we'll get all the homeless people again, but we'll have less funding for all the various emergency resources to deal with them.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 2:41 PM
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Your big costs aren't things like the soup kitchen. It's fire, police, and ER responses. It's not like those will go away if all of a sudden we drastically cut the number of times we're using that stuff on calls dealing with transients.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:09 PM
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41 implies there is no actual cost savings. Either stuff we're currently paying for (at least some of the fire, police and ER responses) goes away, or you don't save money.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:20 PM
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I think the purely selfish arguments don't work unless they federal government is doing the funding.

As the Medicaid expansion vividly demonstrated, these people will find any excuse to forgo helping those who need it even when the feds are paying the bill.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:23 PM
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Or those departments continue with smaller budgets, or improve equipment and response time and increase manpower with the same budget, prices come down at the hospital, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:25 PM
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Yeah, Grom is great. I've gone there often. One is complicit in things.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:50 PM
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Or those departments continue with smaller budgets

Yes, that's exactly what I said in 40.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 3:52 PM
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So your worst case scenario is we get a bunch of people housed and police and fire provide the exact same level of service at a reduced budget? But then you think all the homeless will come back again? Why?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:25 PM
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And then in the next tight budget cycle, the "Housing Assistance For Homeless People" line item is going to be very vulnerable, because at that point it won't look like a cost-savings, it will look like a pure cost. It's an expense line-item, and the expenses that it's offsetting won't be visible.

Urple is afraid that a couple iterations later, the assholes will have done away with all of it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:32 PM
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Because we'll start chipping away at the budget for their housing assistance.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:32 PM
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I'm not actually suggesting this is a bad idea. I'm all for it, for reasons of basic human decency as much as (or more than) budgetary benefits. But I do think that would be a very vulnerable line item in the city budget. In a tough year, no one very important is going to squawk much if that gets squeezed. (And then again the next year. And then again.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:36 PM
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Ah, I should probably be less distracted while reading your comments.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:37 PM
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You should always be paying full attention when reading my comments.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:40 PM
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Lay off of gswift, urple, he's *kinda* busy rousting indigents.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:45 PM
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Still, if there is anyone whose comments are likely to reward full attention...


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:50 PM
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That's true!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:51 PM
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Are there people who are a winning combo of substance abuse, mental illness, and giant shitheads who have alienated every friend and family member they have? Absolutely. But you're already paying for them in one way or another.

Does every thread have to be about realtors?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 4:59 PM
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3 depresses me greatly. I loved that place.


Posted by: Ex-NY | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 5:26 PM
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Interestingly, Mpls. started a conscious process of urban renewal back as far as the early 1930s, which lasted well into the 1960s.

One of my favorite movies of the 1930s, Dead End, takes place against a backdrop of "slum clearance" and what we'd probably now call gentrification in an NYC neighborhood.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 8:11 PM
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Also sometimes I thought of Grom as Pogrom: Gelato fur di Goyim.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 8:17 PM
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In high school, in 1969, my Am History class was taken on a day-long tour and history of urban renewal in Columbus, starting with "Flytown" in 1946. On through Market-Mohawk and beyond.

A truly great presentation. Columbus seems to have had an example of every trend and fashion, albeit not on the scale of the bigger cities. No attempt to hide that black families were always the ones whose neighborhoods and dwellings were being demolished.

Still amazed how thorough and coherent and self-aware, 45 years later.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 8:22 PM
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A couple of years ago a local nonprofit here (the oddly capitalized RurAL CAP) developed a Housing First apartment complex in Anchorage. There was some skepticism at first, but it's been very successful.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 9:09 PM
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urple's concerns about sustainability of these programs are well-taken, but I think they're mostly funded at the state or federal level and carried out by nonprofits. RurAL CAP gets most of its funding from the state and federal governments, and the link in the OP mentions the Canadian government providing additional funding to Housing First projects in response to the study under discussion.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04- 9-14 9:13 PM
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59 Between the name and their motto 'il gelato come una volta' I always think of it as thunder ice cream and expect some Thor types to be smiting people inside. But it is amazing gelato, especially by US standards (the best Italian stuff is better). Still not sure which is the best in NYC, Grom or Laboratorio. For American style it's my local crack dealers (their best flavor is actually called that), an example that shows how nice gentrification can be, even in its most annoying hipsterish more-local-than-god incarnation.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 12:46 AM
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Does the Subway at the end of the first set count as decay or gentrification? It looks about the same socioeconomic level as the two preceding pictures to be honest. Of course it's a horrible faceless chain where the others were quaint owner-manager businesses, but that isn't about social mobility, it's an entirely different question.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 1:15 AM
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I think in context it's meant to represent gentrification, but yeah, it doesn't really have the same connotations as some of the other establishments pictured. As we've discussed before, Subway is in a lot more places than other fast food chains because they apply different standards for where to open locations, including lower population thresholds. There's even one in Nome; I ate there earlier this week.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 1:37 AM
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Also sometimes I thought of Grom as Pogrom: Gelato fur di Goyim.

I would associate it with these guys.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GROM

Lovely chaps if a bit intense at times, or so I understand.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:24 AM
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I am firmly on the side of gentrification, btw, and not just because of my precarious status on the lowest echelon of the property-owning classes. Central Heroinopolis when I was a kid was a run-down place, and there were a lot of slum landlords - the most reputedly violently criminal and pyromaniac of whom sent his equally violent and pyromaniac kids to the same school as me - who were doing very well out of the streaks of cheap cafes and pawnbrokers and pound shops and bookies. Since the mid-nineties it's got visibly more prosperous and it's a good thing.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:27 AM
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Yes, it's noticeable here that whenever a new row of shops appears anywhere, Subway take the first or second unit to be let.

Also it's half past one in the morning where you are. Shouldn't you be asleep?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:30 AM
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68 > 65.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:31 AM
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69: oh, by the way, your fellow shortarse President Higgins seems like a very nice chap - and punctual to a fault, which is an important thing in heads of state. "The politeness of princes" and all that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:42 AM
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Did you give him my regards?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:48 AM
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The context of our meeting wasn't conducive. I'll drop him a text or something.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 3:06 AM
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Whatever.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 3:33 AM
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"Pyromaniac Slumlords" would be a good band name.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 5:39 AM
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Side note on gentrification- the Barnes and Noble in Old Pasadena closed to make room for a Tesla showroom. Not a dealership, they are not allowed to sell cars or allow test drives from the space, but you can sit in the seats.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 2:56 PM
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I am firmly on the side of gentrification

It seems possible to approach this with a bit more nuance than picking a team. SF and NY right now are facing something different in degree if not kind.

"Gentrification is over. It's gone. And it's been gone since the dawn of the twenty-first century."


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 3:26 PM
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For the record, I went to bed between the time 65 and 68 were posted.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 04-10-14 6:47 PM
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