“Gentrification, or urban gentrification, is a phenomenon in which low-cost, physically deteriorated neighborhoods undergo physical renovation and an increase in property values, along with an influx of wealthier residents who may displace the prior residents.”
One of my favorite examples of gentrification in Washington DC can be found at the Big Bear Cafe in NW. The blurb about their opening is so “new DC”.
“We’re finally open! And offering excellent coffee and espresso from Counter Culture Coffee; fair trade and organic teas from Rishi Tea; and a selection of pastries from Hawthorne Fine Breakfast Pastries.”
When I pass by, which is often, on my way to U Street or Howard University I rarely see an African American face enjoying the coffee culture. Maybe the long term residents aren’t into Rishi Tea. Maybe the crackheads hanging out in the LeDroit Park Playground across the street are too amazed at the sight of this former-corner store turned soho style coffee establishment to inquire about the fine pastries. The juxtapositioning is striking. The locals call it LeDroit, “they call it “Bloomingdale”. Coffee shop across from a crack market. Farmer’s Market in walking distance to 2 SOME (So others might eat) locations. Striking.
But in the end it’s not a right or wrong, a good or bad. The only color that is important in all of this is green. No black, no white, no brown, no olive, no yellow, no gold…just green.