The Hard Times Gentry
The Hard Times Cafe on Riverside Avenue has long been my favorite place to observe TC's diversity. I'm there the other day and for some reason I start talking to the barkeep/barista(o) guy behind the coffee bar. He's always there and I usually stick to my $1 (it's french press) coffee purchasing script but yesterday I asked him how he was doing and he opened up --
"I'm getting outa here. This neighborhood is getting ruined by those people."
At that he pointed in the general direction of these three people sitting at a table near me. He started talking about the city council's plan for security cameras, and the new condo going up somewhere nearby. He was pretty worked up about it, and you could tell that something had pushed him
"Those people," I asked, incredulous at the thought that he meant the three people sitting right there in the HTC, gathered around a table strewn with notebooks.
"Yeah, those people right there?"
"Do you still give them coffee?"
"Yeah, man. I just don't like their opinion."
So I took their picture.
For my two sense, I think the West Bank is being ruined by the two ajacently encroaching Universities more than anything else. There just isn't a lot left of the old counter-cultural punk beatnik scene left on the West Bank, probably becasue a lot of rental housing has been torn down and replaced with dorms, condos and a Chipolte. In fact, I'm told (though I find this hard to believe) that Augsburg is putting in a new dorm that will have a Barnes & Noble in the first floor retail space.
Just for nostaligia's sake, here's the Wikipedia article on the West Bank.
Later that day, I was biking past the Skyscape condo going up in Eliot Park and I saw a group of yuppies being led on a tour of some of the demonstration condos. A shaved-head construction-type guy in a white T-shirt was leading this group of a dozen or so couples in various types of suit. These are the kind of people that were living in the suburbs ten years ago. Now they're shopping for space in Eliot Park, one of the most rought & tumble neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
In the end, the HTC barkeep will probably leave, and the times at the HArd Times will get a little softer. But that doesn't mean the bohemian scene will dissapear... it'll probably just move a few miles away. Meanwhile, the downtown will be filling up with well-dressed taxpayers.