weeping for the future

A common occurrence in my life: Angela and I would leave the house for lunch, and on the way down the stairs, I'd tell her about the latest horror I've just read about online. She'd make a whole series of angry and incredulous faces, then sigh, and say to me, "baby, why you gotta make me hate the world so early in the morning?"

Yesterday it was my turn. I had lunch with someone who works at a certain blogging company whose name rhymes with "LiveJournal", and I got to hear about an argument my friend had with a co-worker who took the unbelievable position of being opposed to the ski jump. "If it was your wedding, you'd understand," he said.

So it goes on from there in an almost-parodic, predictable way, and anti-ski guy says that he's heard some rumor that a nightclub down the block from their offices was going to be shut down soon (false) and he thought that was a great idea, so that they could make room for more condos! "The city has had this planned for years," he said. "Pretty soon this neighborhood will be nothing but condos and grocery stores."

"Then it will be a really hip, urban neighborhood."

I strongly suspect you are now making the same sequence of faces that I did.

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55 Responses:

  1. giles says:

    Condos + Grocery Stores = Hip + Urban?

    Will they at least bus in a couple of pimps?

    • mendel says:

      Maybe they'll get both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's!

    • my thoughts exactly...

      you know though, that the world needs people like this in order for us to have someone to lambast against (don't know if I am using the term correctly, but it seems to fit. If we all thought the same way, the world would be a boring place.

      Now that that is out of the way, I worked with people like this for years, those that just make you slap your head and go w.t.f., and these people are much worse than those whom you disagree with on political levels, because at least with politics you can understand that some people were just raised a certain way and that has led them to make their political choices, but what major malfunction must you have suffered as a child to think a neighborhood of nothing but condos would be a good thing? This city is so fucked up and I am so sick of everyone moving here and fucking up my home. I was born and raised in this city and don't even recognize it anymore...

      Just wait till they build condos out near the Pound SF in HP, that'll be funny...

  2. if i were your friend, i'd bring earplugs to work. or... a baseball bat.

  3. caitlinburke says:

    Wow, it really is that whole thing of moving to an area that's attractive because of all the cool stuff they have there and then, little by little, running all the coolness out of the neighborhood on a rail.


  4. dsgood says:

    In Minneapolis, some condos are conversions of buildings intended for various revitalization projects -- restaurants, movie theaters, etc. Others are in what used to be factory buildings.

    I suspect the condo market here will be oversaturated by the time they're all finished. Which might mean that there'll be much more low-income housing.

    Note: One condo building will allegedly have "genuine New York lofts". Since I haven't heard of either teleport booths being installed or a loft building in NYC being dismantled and brought here, I have doubts.

    • robcallahan says:

      You'll notice they just gutted the block containing Let It Be Records, Big Brain Comics and Keys Cafe.

      Presumably, this is for condos. That or a third Target skyscraper, because owning two and leasing two more, and keeping all of them half-empty, is how they show this town who's boss.

      Either way, some very wealthy people will have a bird's eye view of the crackhead activity on the streets below, which is apparently the wave of the future.

    • jkonrath says:

      One condo building will allegedly have "genuine New York lofts".

      What, do they hire a heroin addict to piss in them or something?

  5. substitute says:

    Make sure to get some chain retail stores in there too. Then it will be a really hip, urban outfitters neighborhood.

  6. sixty4k says:

    this must be a new kind of 'hip, urban neighborhood,' you know, one modeled after the suburbs.

  7. sjn says:

    I'm opposed to the ski jump too.

    But then, I am currently opposed to anything that SF spends its money on that does not relate directly to fixing the horrible condition of all of our streets.* I am willing to face death from other motorists, but why should I have to worry about crashing because there is a ravine running between the two lanes of upper market.

    On the other hand snow is cool.

    I was very torn.

    *The ultimate insult to this was that at the top of Market, by the turn off to Twin Peaks, they decided to replace the perfectly serviceable median, with DIFFERENT concrete. It makes me mad every time I pass it now.

    • jwz says:

      SF wasn't going to spend any money on the ski jump, it was a private company. If anything, the city stood to profit from it in permit fees.

  8. babynutcase says:

    In the ideal planned city of the future where will they put the nightclubs?

    • jwz says:

      I assume the plan is for them to be repaced with virtual reality and teledildonics.

      But plan B is that the nightclubs will go on whichever petal of the flower has the cheap warehouse district. Which will then become "cool". Which will then attract you-know-who. Which will make it expensive. Which will result in you-know-what. And, as the rat's milk returns to the sewer, the cycle of life is complete.

  9. drjon says:

    Homo Sapiens is doomed. Get out while you can.

  10. crazy4cats says:

    "baby, why you gotta make me hate the world so early in the morning?"

    I just *love* this. I think I'm going to start incorporating it in my daily life; People in Boston often find unique ways to make this comment appropriately said on a daily basis.

    That guy, though.... hmmm... one of your zombie overlords must have eaten his brain and substituted with a corporate marketing chip.

  11. dormando says:

    My girlfriend punches me if I do that more than twice a week.

  12. nidea says:

    The ski jump does sound really great and extremely fun, but if it was my wedding, I'd be seriously pissed too. With advance notice, the couple would have picked a different mansion, thus no problem...

    I am in favor of putting grocery stores in neighborhoods where most people can't afford cars. As opposed to taking them out, like they did on the north side of our city... But they're still bound to be overpriced. Gentrification is not nice or hip.

  13. omarius says:


    That's right up there with the consultant who told me, "Don't you think a law firm needs something a little more powerful than Linux?" (Meaning W2K. Of course.)

  14. bifrosty2k says:

    I think that reenforces my feelings about that company that rhymes with "Livejournal"...

    Sheer twittery.

  15. fdaapproved says:

    Wouldn't that just be a suburb with less parking?

  16. g_na says:

    I was driving through the City today with my mom, and Mom said, "Hey isn't this the block where they were going to do the ski jump?" She was sad the jump had been cancelled. Mom has also has no problem with nightclubs (she's even been to DG).

    This means my mother is cooler than your friend's cow orker.

  17. defenestr8r says:

    why, oh why, would you waste a perfectly good lunch in such company?

    speaking of which, dim sum would have to be early or another day for me...

    ...and good choice of songs ;)

  18. satyap says:

    I like peace and quiet. I guess I'm an old fogey that way.

  19. "If it was your wedding, you'd understand," he said.

    I thank the universe near-daily that I married a woman who would have laughed in delight at the thought of a ski jump falling into the middle of her wedding plans.

  20. whumpdotcom says:

    There are few things that can survive the naked rage of a Bridezilla.

  21. rjray says:

    This makes the Baby Jesus cry.

  22. recursive says:

    [some comment about new suburban yuppie overlords]

  23. jered says:

    The times I've been in SF the past several years (for CodeCon, or real work) I've made a point at staying at the trashy and dated (yet enormously sized) Holiday Inn on 8th Street. I've been truly horrified at the way the area has changed. This year, this enormous, glass-walled grocery store went in down the street at 8th and Folsom. It's so strange. It's the same prices as a Whole Foods, yet it's staffed by these hippies who think they're doing great things for the world and "sticking it to the man", and the cognitive dissonance of the whole thing gives me a headache.

    It's not that much better here in Boston, but at least we have some culture that hasn't yet been evicted from its home. Manray, a huge goth/alternative/whatever club in Central Square, closed three weeks ago (for condos, of course), but they promise they'll reopen at a new location shortly. (I'll believe it when I see it.) I live on a quiet, residential street, but with the understanding that I can walk 5 minutes to raucousness, and that's the way I like it, damn it! I love the fact that on any given weekend the streets nearby may be closed for an art fair. Horror of horrors!

    • purple_b says:

      NO NO NO!!!!

      I live on a quiet, residential street, but with the understanding that I can walk 5 minutes to raucousness

      You are the problem!
      Everyone "urbanite" that wants to live a five minute walk away from raucousness threatens everything cool within a 4:59 walk.

      Either you want to live in a noisy city or a quiet suburb.

      nimby at it's worst!

      • jered says:

        Either you want to live in a noisy city or a quiet suburb.

        I completely disagree with you here. That is completely a matter of urban planning. Look at New Orleans, for example. "Quiet", residential streets lie right next to Bourbon Street, which is perhaps an epitome of raucousness. The problem would be if someone wanted to be an idiot at try to build condos on Bourbon Street. It sounds like that's what keeps happening in SF -- developers keep converting commericial-zoned spaces into residential, and the city gov't doesn't have the balls to say no.

        I want to live in a residentially-zoned section of a noisy city -- but a section that has historically been residential, not plopped down in the middle of a commercial area. Yes, there's some spillover in terms of traffic (drunken or otherwise), but the problem is sensible (as opposed to "make a fast buck") urban planning, not nimbyism.

    • ckd says:

      Yeah, I'm a few minutes farther away from the raucousness, but on the other hand I'm probably closer to that incredibly vibrant[*] paragon of urban removal renewal that is Cambridge Center.

      [*] This, for those who have not been there, is extreme sarcasm. All of Kendall Square's night life is several blocks away in places like "One Kendall Square" which is not in Kendall Square. In Kendall Square itself you have Legal Sea Foods or the Marriott hotel bar (or the R&D Pub if you have a MIT ID, I suppose).

      • cananian says:

        The Kendall square area is crap -- too many biotech companies and not enough college town. Mostly MIT's fault for trying to make a quick buck instead of giving their students a decent living/working environment.

        I live in Somerville, w/in walking distance of a grocery store, city hall, the post office, my vet, the brazilian meat market, and the local all-asian market. Not to mention a string of restaurants and bars. I could stand a bit more performance-type entertainment in the area, but in general this strikes me as perfect urban planning. When then finally put the green line in, that is.

  24. loosechanj says:

    they could make room for more condos! "The city has had this planned for years," he said. "Pretty soon this neighborhood will be nothing but condos and grocery stores."

    And don't forget, this is perfectly legal now!

  25. harryh says:

    Ya, there was this guy I worked with that I thought was cool. Sure he made unreasonable amounts of cash just because he happend to start work at google a year before I did, but he seemed ok. But then one day he told me that he wanted to move into my neighborhood in NYC (the LES) above the Starbucks and help the gentrification along. For some reason I think he thought I would like that.

    I don't talk to him anymore.

    I hate people.

  26. anti_tim says:

    Well, I had strippers, 5 gallons of sangria, skaters, and two kegs at my wedding. I would have been PROUD, nay, THRILLED, to have had people outside skiing off of slopes, too...

    • hafnir says:

      I'm getting married in SF this fall and I can think of nothing cooler than seeing my bride in her wedding dress for the first time in skis coming down the ski jump and landing at foot of the church! Ok, I'll try to cool it with the kinky stuff. :)

  27. So, now we're gentrifying the yuppies out of town... now I've heard everything!

  28. smokedamage says:

    it just sounds horrible. Hip neighbourhoods are the same neighbourhoods you can get rolled in. You need bars, clubs and places to do drugs - that's what makes them hip. I mourn for you and your city shoudl this numbskull get his way.

    As for the rest of it, i really can't understand all these people whinging about the ski jump. I dearly hope someone does zombie the fucking wedding. Shit, why complain? Why not ask the organisers if you can sleigh-ride down the street or something. That would be a treasurable wedding memory - how many people have sleighridden the streets of SF?

    Just another case of "Let the Eagle fly free, but not on my land."
    I rally do feel sorry for some of you Americans. Some of you are wonderful, fun and have a sense of humor, but some of you are just selfish, fearful, arseholes.