New and Old #77
Friday roundup and commentary
In the U.S., the terms inner city and urban have long been code words for Black areas. They are used to evoke the stereotype of a Black underclass, confined to public-housing units or low-income housing, entrenching the belief that this population is somehow inherently meant for city life while also denigrating city life as dirty, crowded, and utterly undesirable.
That was always an uncharitable caricature, but Demsas argues that as matter of demographic facts—the idea that Black people mostly live in cities—it’s actually not true: “Over the past 50 years, the share of the Black population living in the 40 most populous central cities in the U.S. fell from 40 percent to 24 percent.”
This is a subset of the trend of suburbs becoming more diverse, which is something else a lot of people are belatedly noticing, but which has been true for two or three decades at least.
There’s a lot more in here, and it’s a very interesting and well-researched piece. Read the whole thing.
This article starts off sounding a little wonky, but then Jordan includes this excellent bit:
While TOD [transit-oriented development] may seem like a new phenomenon, it’s a concept that has been around since before major forms of transportation were even invented. “Basically what you want is what every city, town, and village was for 10,000 years or so before we invented cars,” Chris Zimmerman said. “Things have to be within walkable distance because that’s how people get to them. That’s TOD.”
In other words, we’re looking at the places we built long ago with very little top-down planning, and trying to reverse-engineer them. The New Urbanists did this at a less intense scale; TOD does it at a denser, more intense scale.
You can argue over whether we should be master-planning this stuff, but the actual idea is nothing new at all, let alone something radical or foreign to American life. Personally, I think Northern Virginia has done transit-oriented development quite well; the dense, urban corridor leading through Arlington into D.C. was typical suburban sprawl just in the 1970s and 1980s, but it feels “real,” and it has matured a lot in the last 20 years.
Memories of home-cooked food stuck with him. Today, Lhakpa lives here in Golden, where he runs the Sherpa House Restaurant and Cultural Center, which has specialized in Himalayan cuisine since 2009. The restaurant dishes out Tibetan specialties such as momos thukpa, or Sherpa stew, and Indian dishes such as chicken tikka masala and daal bhat. But Sherpa House is not just a one-stop shop to chow on food, beer and chai. After walking through the beautifully landscaped courtyard, customers can also purchase traditional Nepalese gifts, admire a room with decor from Lhakpa’s childhood home and learn about mountaineering from a staff boasting 45 total Everest summits.
That is so cool. It reminds me of early microbreweries, where the whole process was still new and unfamiliar enough, and the industry small enough, that you learned a lot about it, and felt like you were getting a little window into it. It made you appreciate the final product more. Restaurants rarely have any real cultural element beyond the food, but reading this, I wish more restaurants from cuisines Americans are less familiar with did something like this.
But the establishment isn’t just for curious Americans; it also serves a Nepalese community, many of whom have left New York City and other larger population centers amid the pandemic and resulting economic crunch. There’s also the neat bit that many Nepalese immigrants are familiar with mountainous environments, which makes Colorado attractive and in some way familiar.
It’s a very nice and interesting read.
“Core to his vision was a belief that wine should be enjoyed and consumed on every American Table,” the company said. “When asked how Bronco Wine Company can sell wine less expensive than a bottle of water, Fred T. Franzia famously countered, ‘They’re overcharging for the water — don’t you get it?’”
The articles discusses whether Franzia boxed wine was the same company a Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw house brand, which is what “Two Buck Chuck” (now $3.29 Buck Chuck…) actually is. Neat bit of history: it was the same family, but the box wine company was sold off and now uses the name exclusively; the deal prohibited the family from using their own name on future wine products.
Is the wine any good? It’s fine. For three bucks, it’s a great value. That doesn’t make it the same as a $30 Napa bottle, but there’s nothing wrong with having a wide range of price and quality levels. When I was a kid, and I heard about “Two Buck Chuck” in the early 2000s, I suggested that maybe it should be called “Two Bill Swill.”
As an adult, I occasionally put it in my cart.
Thank you for reading! Please consider upgrading to a paid subscription to help support this newsletter. You’ll get a weekly subscribers-only post, plus full access to the archive: over 400 posts and growing. And you’ll help ensure more material like this!