written by Stephen Malagodi
In the Allapattah Metrorail elevator going down to the bus stop, an overweight, stubbly Cuban man in one of those “Jesus is my boss” baseball caps asked me where I was from.
“Right here” I told him.
“Oh”, he said, “You have a camera, I thought you were a tourist… This place is a disaster.”
“How is it a disaster?” I asked.
“Too many people come here, not enough money, everything too expensive.”
[Explanation: More and more low income people are competing for less and less affordable housing.]
“Yea man, the rent is too damn high.”
Arrived at Locust by the #36 bus 45 minutes early. Only place for coffee was Palm Plaza. $8+ for a coffee and croissant. Later the gallery owner insisted that their gallery wasn’t in a gentrified area. That’s across the street.
A full house.
Synopsis on the topic of gentrification as I heard it: Generally speaking, the Black people – outnumbered 10 to 1 – talked about colonialism, and the White people talked about doing what they want (be artists and run galleries) wherever possible while somehow not being implicated in gentrification.
Discussed “strategies to opt-out” of the exploitation.
I did my Malcolm X “The only thing power respects is power” routine and said I have to leave to catch the bus. People laughed.
Who rides the bus?