Parklet on 24th Street, Noe Valley
A small item in the New York Times' local city coverage caught my eye the other day. Apparently a cafe operated by new residents in a Brooklyn neighborhood thought it would be a boon to their street if they jumped the city's regulatory hoops and installed a bike corral. The new facility removed one parking space. The "improvement" proved controversial:
Mr. Malcolm was expressing similar sentiments to those I've heard from an old-time Noe Valley merchant-friend about the "parklets" developed on 24th Street. This person has worked in the area for years, has seen many of her customers move away when their children were grown and they needed less space, and fears the loss of even a few parking spaces will keep them from making occasional visits to shop in the old neighborhood. But mostly it is the attitude of the newcomers promoting the parklets that gets to her:
When I listen, what I really hear is that she is mourning a time when the neighborhood had a wider range of ages -- children, their parents, old people who had been in their homes for years. What she sees now is that younger people with good jobs, usually in tech, are buying into the neighborhood. Most merchants adapt to their tastes; after all, they are the ones with the money. To the old timers, the neighborhood and especially the commercial strip is becoming foreign.
I have to wonder -- is the neighborhood's current hipster-oriented monoculture likely to change with time? Will the current batch raise children here and begin to want more practical stores than bars and boutiques? Will some of them age here? Or will urban life and rising property values force this stratum out in their turn?