Saturday, August 15, 2009

boycott neighborhood stores?

this note was included on thursday's bloomingdale listserv message:

From Bloomingdale resident Joe Levesque:

The little corner grocery stores are the worst offenders. Both the Flagler Market on W ST NW and the blue Mini Market (former A&L) on 2107 First ST NW are two offenders. I spoke to the staff of both stores two weeks ago, and asked them to water the new trees. They agree to. Now all the trees in front of their stores are dead. I even watered them myself, carrying 10 gallons of water 300 feet. When I returned from vacation after 10 days, I noticed that the 3 trees had died from lack of water. These trees would still be alive if the store owners had spent just 3 minutes each week watering them.

We should not support any stores that don't support our community. They are doing us a disservice. We should boycott them.

NOTE: Windows Cafe and Big Bear Cafe have both done great jobs improving the appearance of the neighborhood. They deserve our support!!

We should all report to Scott what other street trees in public spaces have died.
i figured a few photos would be appropriate here to illustrate what mr. levesque is talking about:

here's the micro-market at 2107 1st street nw. (it's kind of funny how timor is painted a bright color, too, but it doesn't seem to be as jarring as this place. maybe it's because of the windows.) the tree in front has clearly died.

to be fair, the house two doors down at 2011 has a dead tree in front of their house as well, so it's not just the businesses in the neighborhood that are neglecting to water their trees.

here's the flagler market at the corner of flagler street and w street nw. the dead tree that mr. levesque referenced is at the left side of the photo (on w street).

here's a closer photograph of that oak tree. note that it had one of the mayor's green team's ooze tubes there for watering, though it clearly wasn't being utilized.

again, to balance things a little (but by no means to let these people off the hook) here's a dead tree in front of the 9:30 club on v street.

so, would you boycott a store because they're not watering the trees in the public space in front of their store?

it seems like many neighborhood residents who might consider such a boycott would do so because of the cumulative effect of many other things that these stores do. perhaps the lack of care for the trees could be the thing that pushes you over the edge and makes you consider such a boycott.

what do you think? the comment section awaits...


Anonymous said...

..and this is why I hate gentrification. People come in and want to do nonsense like this. Support you local corner stores!!!!

Anonymous said...

Also, i really chuckled at the fact that this Joe guy seems to think that these stores do a 'disservice to the community'. Exactly which community is that?

Because to my community, these stores provide a way to purchase essential items without having to go to a grocery store. They are the MAIN VEIN to this community if you ask me.

God, I hate gentrification.

IMGoph said...

anon: would you care to define gentrification?

i'm not being flip—it seems to me that for every 100 people, there are 100 definitions of what they think the word means. do you feel it is a mainly social term? economic? racial?

i'd really like to foment some discussion here, and i'd like to start it with knowing why you chose to tie that term to the complaints about the trees.

Anonymous said...

Gentrification pushes people out while another comes in, usually due to both racial and economical facets.

Not supporting our corner stores, who have got us through some very rough times and have continued to circulate money within this community, even before the gentrifiers started flocking here, is just rediculous.

...and the fact that the person even had the audacity to think of such an idea is disgusting.

Really? We're going to disenfranchise the individuals who have been here any more just because we want pretty trees in front of our businesses?

For what it's worth, it's very rare to see a gentrifier in these cornerstores. I mean, I visit them almost daily (especially micro-market) and I see the same people I grew up living here with.

So, why out of all things to target, do we target the individuals who have been here the longest?

It comes down to the dollar, entitlement, and then some.

I mean, would people be mad if i came out with a letter on a listserv or forum stating not to support Big Bear cafe because it is a major contributor to gentrification?

They'd be up in arms.

..and yes, race, class, education, economic status, etc all play a role in that.

Anonymous said...

btw, to tag onto what I was saying before, I do wonder why working class white neighborhoods don't become meccas for gentrification? We can't deny the racial implications that it does have.

Mari said...

What the city has failed in is real buy-in from willing participants. Also one should ask is the business set up to water the trees? Is there a spigot near the tree to water it? To some this is no excuse. To me it is the State dictating behavior and failing to negotiate with possible participants and foster a sense of ownership. The city's best best is to encourage people to ask for a tree, because those are the ones who will actually water and take care of it and help it flourish. Everyone else, it is an ignorable burden.
I limit who and what I'm boycotting. Poor landscaping isn't a boycottable offense. Bad customer service and price gouging are. But if someone feels strongly enough, they are free to boycott.
I can see Anonymouse's point of the importance of landscaping being a newbie value.
Gotta love diversity.

Anonymous said...

Mari - Agreed wholeheartedly with pretty much everything you've said.

Sean Hennessey said...

while i don't echo the hate, i share the sentiment that this is an unwise idea. punitive measures against a store that is needed by neighbors is counterproductive.

dano said...

It would be nice if those stores would water the trees, but I think a boycott is foolish. A better way to look at it would be to get neighbors to ask the proprietors to do their part. I personally rarely stop at these stores, but I do go to the one at N Capital and Bryant. Its nice to have these places.

I'd like to echo Mari, I think the city should let people ask for trees and not just plant them where they may or may not get the care they need for the first couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Agree w/ mari, before planting, the city should require someone request the tree. There should be some requirement that the person be responsible for it as well, so you don't get someone requesting trees on their walking path to the metro burdening everyone else. That being said, if they want to drag a water buffalo and fill bags on the way in, then go for it.

Anonymous said...

Mari's point is obviously a good one, and most will agree.

Now here's a question- Is it too late for these dead trees in question? I'm no gardener, so I'm asking out of true ignorance. At this point, knowing that these stores will not water the trees, will me dragging some water over there help? If so, how often do trees need to be watered?

Anonymous said...

And as a little p.s., to the anonymous poster ranting above, I'd suggest you take a moment to give a little bit of respect to those "gentrifiers" you are so quick to attack. I'm a 29 year old white woman, and I bought a house and moved into Bloomingdale this year. I've moved here expecting nothing but a home and a neighborhood that's as good as it has been before I ever came here. My neighbors, many of whom have been here for 30+ years, treat me with respect. Those who are my age but of a different race treat me like the scum of the earth. I wonder why they are so ANGRY. Just a sad observation, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Well Anon @ 11:34 Monday.

I certainly don't respect you. I am white and have been living here since April of 1982.

Do you know how many white people lived here in 1982?


Yep, just me and my family.

I wonder why white people didn't flock here in the 80s?

Too many black people perhaps? Too much crime? Too much drugs?

So, why now are you choosing to move into my neighborhood? One that I helped develop and put over 25 years of money into?

Why should you come into my neighborhood, one that I stuck it out through the PCP, the crack, the heroin..

..and just TAKE what we have?

When you didn't persevere through it?

Do you not know how frustrating that is?

..and now my property taxes are raised and I am not sure I can afford to live here another year.

Because of gentrification.

So yes, i'm quite mad at you.

Maybe your neighbors have retirement plans. Hell, maybe your neighbors are now well-to-do for all I know.

But I'm still a working class white person who has lived here almost 3 decades and am being pushed because you want to come in and take this.

How does that feel?

Anonymous said...

Hell, I lived through Hanover Place in the mid-late 80s. Shit, you should be paying me to move into this neighborhood, lol.

average neighbor said...

anon 10:38,
i'm sorry you may have to move because of taxes. But to disrespect someone because they didn't go through the same hardships as you reflects poorly on you. its a big world and you dont know what everyone has done or seen or survived, or what they have to offer. not that its any of your business anyway.

thanks for your contributions to the neighborhood. i'm sorry you think its wasted on people like me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, average neighbor.

Truly, I wonder how it is that people can expect a neighborhood not to ever change. If it were to deteriorate, I'm sure there would be anger and blame. If it develops, there is outright rage.

(This is that horrible 28 year old whitey here).. My neighbors are kind to me because I took a shitty old house and made it better, which made their neighborhood better. They've told me as such- they appreciate the hard work I put into my house, and the fact that I didn't flip it or try to make a quick buck. I'm not "that kind" of "gentrifier" as some might put it. I'm a public school teacher, who makes hardly any money, who has been saving every penny for 10 years in order to buy a tiny little house in a neighborhood I've adored for a long, long time. I'm SO FUCKING SORRY TO HAVE OFFENDED YOU in trying to fulfill my dream.

I think you should try to figure out where you anger should REALLY be directed, and send it on its way. People like me DO NOT deserve it.

Anonymous said...

29 year old, oops.

Anonymous said...

The most important thing is to generalize--NOT. I've been in TC for 3.5 years (white male, 37) and like it a lot overall. Many of the neighbors who have been here a long time are great and friendly, some are not. Many of the relative newcomers are great and friendly, and some are not. But on balance, most want to live (and let live) in a pleasant, safe neighborhood. That's why flaming others with labels and generalizations is so unproductive.

Also, I'd question the causality implied in some of the above statements: did newcomers move here because the neighborhood had improved, or did the neighborhood improve because more newcomers moved here? Probabaly a bit of both, right?