not in harlem anymore

Today in Gentrification: My 70-year-old neighbor is giving up a bowling night.

Miss Anne is a 70-year-old stately Creole woman who lives below me and that’s my gossip queen.  She always has the scoop on absolutely everything, and sometimes we just sit out in the courtyard discussing the goings-on in the community.  She’s a bowler who goes to Yonkers three nights a week for her leagues and she drives because who is trying to carry bowling balls on the bus?  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, Miss Anne is on the way to the bowling alley by 6 and she’s home by 10:30.  

This weekend we were sitting out on the stoop and she gave me the tea about all the renovations going on in our complex.  Apparently, the apartment above me has been completely redone with recessed lighting, taking down a wall to open up the living room & dining room, brand new appliances, the whole nine yards.  We both have this sense of foreboding that our rent is about to skyrocket and we’ve been living with this threat since they installed a new digital intercom system, replaced the washers & dryers in the laundry room, and uprooted the old plants along the walkways to put in new ones.  

As we were talking about our complex, she also brought up the changes to the neighborhood as a whole and she has given up one of her bowling nights because she no longer has a parking spot.  She has to wait for one on the street to open up, and the other day she got to her address at 10:30 and waiting to park until 11:45.  A 70-year-old woman waiting in her car for place to park outside a building she’s lived in for 25 years because the balance between residents and longtime businesses is being tipped in favor of prospectors looking to get rich.

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Is it wrong that I’m very uncomfortable because of Ilvermorny? Rowling took Native American culture and gave it all to white people, while excluding Natives. I also don’t know how I feel about Fantastic Beasts anymore. The story is in 1920’s Harlem, so most of the cast SHOULD be black, yet they aren’t. I don’t support this new content.

Where you heading?
“Nowhere really. Just taking a spin.”
What’s the story with your hat?
“I make em and sold em on the streets in Harlem. Not anymore though. Couldn’t get my license renewed.”
Bonus points for the open button-down.
Style rider along the Hudson.