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Patti’s 50th birthday tray

Walking our dogs along 4th Ave one evening, Charlie noticed one of his dogs sniffing around a small glassine envelope on the ground.  Charlie said “Geordi found a nickel bag.”   As you know if you read my previous post about gentrification, a number of years ago we could have found a number of things on the sidewalk from crack vials to needles to…well you get the idea. 

Now, not so much. 

I looked down and thought  “I wonder what you get in a nickel bag these days?”   Or…is a nickel bag still worth a nickel?  Charlie told me it was now called a venti bag.  We laughed and laughed.  Oh, the times they are a changin’.

What does the above story have to do with the photo of the broken ceramic tray above? 

Nothing.

A number of years ago cousin Patti gave me this huge wooden tray and some left over tiles from her fireplace surround and asked if I could do something with them.  I had them in my apartment for a looooooong time.  So long, in fact that I think it was a few years when SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING, Patti turned 50 and I was invited to the party.  What to give?   How about a decorative tiled tray?   But how to do it since I never did anything like this before.   I painted the tray to match the roses, did some decorative painting on the sides and then had the most fun smashing the tiles.   Got me some grout, laid out the tiles and voila!   Done.  And it weighs a TON!  Patti loved it and all was well in the world.

Kaiya – 5 years old – May 2010

When I moved into my apartment it was located in a “transitional” neighborhood.  There was a corner bodega with bullet proof glass that did a brisk drug business.  Empty lots dotted local blocks.   And shady looking kids hung out on the corner.  It’s  NOW a very desirable location.

If there was any doubt at all that my neighborhood has experienced full-out gentrification (actually, there was no doubt; it happened years ago), this latest experience sealed the deal.

Time: Evening dog walk (approximately 9:45 pm)

Place: 4th Ave in front of McDonald’s

Situation: A man in a suit is complaining to two police officers that he walked up to the McDonald’s drive through window and the man wouldn’t sell him two cheeseburgers.  AND THEN, apparently the McDonald’s’ employee said something like “you people”  which caused Mr. Suit to feel he was being discriminated against.

Charlie and I were extremely amused by the whole exchange but when a SECOND police car came screaming down 4th Ave., lights and sirens blaring, made a U-turn and pulled up on the sidewalk in front of Mickey D’s  I looked at Charlie and said “THIS is the biggest thing happening in the 78 precinct tonight?”

Apparently it was.

Since Mr. whiny suit wearing yuppie didn’t have a license plate nailed to his ass and the drive-through window guy didn’t want to serve him, Mr. wswy CALLED THE POLICE?  Really?  The police?   And they showed up at the scene of “the crime”.  We were amused for days.  I would have given the employee a frosty glare and gone home.   Damn entitled yuppies.

Another way to tell your neighborhood is too gentrified?  When your dog’s bed looks more comfortable than yours. Here is a sketch of Kaiya, our 5-year-old Akita/Shepherd/Lab(?) rescue on her new bed which is “paprika” and black. Paprika? You bet!  That’s what the catalog said and I’m sticking to it!   She’s about 95 lbs, and is a great dog, is very loving, except when those really yappy dogs start with her (I’m talking to YOU, Mango)  or when she meets another Alpha female.  Oy!

Could be worse.  I could be trying to get two cheeseburgers from the drive-thru at  Micky D’s without a car!

ATM Grotto

Change is inevitable.

And as you get older you see more and more change. Some good, some bad. Some incomprehensible.

When I moved into my neighborhood there were bodegas on 5th Ave with bullet proof glass and guys playing dominoes all night long in the summer to the sounds of loud music. Crack was sold out of the apartment building a few doors down and sexual favors were sometimes performed in the lobby of a building a few doors up. But overall is was a nice block and as time marched on, the bullet proof glass enclosed bodegas moved out to make room for antique shops, restaurants, more restaurants and coffee houses. Apparently yuppies cannot get enough coffee.

Now gentrification is spreading to the outer reaches of the neighborhood to areas that I NEVER, EVER thought it would reach. What do I know? Recently, a car service store front closed, only to re-open as <shockingly> another coffee shop. This one is extra special because it has an ATM grotto. What is that you ask? I had no idea what it was either until I passed it one day. The alcove had been there for a few weeks and I wondered what would go in there. It looked like an alcove suitable for a statue of Mary, or perhaps a saint. Now there is an ATM there. I call it the ATM grotto. When I showed the picture to some of my friends, they all made the same comment…that people will be praying at the ATM that their card comes back out. Or their money comes out. Or they don’t get held up making a withdrawal. I guess the more things change, in some ways, the more things stay the same. Amen.

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