It’s all well and good, but what we need is industry,” said Paul Doan, the 65-year-old owner of the Hub, a busy Main Street restaurant. Young people without the aptitude for higher education, he said, will continue to be left adrift as the city’s manufacturing past becomes an ever-distant memory. “There used to be jobs for them, but there aren’t anymore. Anybody that says anyone can make it if they try … , ” Doan said with a shake of his head, his voice trailing off as he worked the lunch rush.
This is a great glimpse at the incredibly awesome things happening in North Adams.
But Paul’s comments here are a big part of the conversation, and the ellipsis feels fitting. Public education, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and unemployment are still factors that North Adams is piecing together.
Can an artsy, high-culture community cater to a working class culture and solve working class challenges without gentrifying them outward? I don’t know, but I bet we’ll find out in North Adams.
Sometimes we reject a place for fear it might reject us and not welcome us at all. Or we reject it fearing disappointment, especially if we invest so much time getting to know it. Small towns, like beautiful Volpaia in Tuscany and Saint-Rémy in Provence, are easy to know. They do not intimidate; in the space of an hour, we may already be on familiar terms. But a large city threatens us, resists all of our measly attempts to master it, and instead asks us to surrender. Some of us don’t wish to give in. We may not even want to admit how little we know and how much there is to learn; this may take years, we say. So we shut down. Or we learn to take things in by the bite-size, by installment, on spec, on consignment. Perhaps we fear our period of adjustment may never end and that we’re destined to remain strangers. So why even bother? We keep our luggage handy and refuse to throw overboard things we may no longer need. We call it prudence.
Dear High School/Middle School Students
When you write stupid jokes on things in class and your teacher gets all high and mighty and tells you to stop trying to be funny, he secretly brings home your papers to share with his girlfriend—that’s me—and we laugh.
Keep on keepin’ on, kiddos.
I can’t tell who’s being more effective these days, the anarchists or the artists. Because anarchists came up with all kinds of stuff that is a part of everyday life now, like bike shares and book shares and other ideas about cooperative living. Have you noticed that’s much more in the language of contemporary city living? That never used to even exist. People would be like, “Oh my god, that would never work. Everyone would steal a bike.” Well, guess what? It works.
"The decline in Boston is particularly dramatic. According to Census records, the percentage of the population that claims Asian heritage in Boston’s Chinatown dropped from 70 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2010."
I think we need more data on the actual Asian American population in Boston before we really react. This article mentions that it’d be more useful to have maps about the changes that preceded the current snapshot, but it’d also be necessary to know more about the Asian American population in Boston/America.
Yes, the typical gentrification patterns mean that people are probably being displaced against their wills, but if Chinatown is disintegrating in part because Asian American families are moving into more diverse neighborhoods and are enjoying more social and economic mobility, that would be great news for terribly-segregated Boston.
Also: an actually useful comments thread below the article. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
I’d like to request that someone do a study on what happens to the communities before and after this kind of intervention. Does it change anything? Or just make poverty easier on the eyes? My instinct is that it does encourage more substantial transformation, but I’m skeptical of solutions as simple as “give it a fresh coat of paint.”