I had read much in recent years about what high tech money has done to SF; gentrification that is pushing the working class and true middle class out of the city. It is happening to every city in America that's experiencing growth. Affordability is certainly a top three issue in Austin as well.
I guess with all the kvetching I expected something akin to Manhattan, say, where every corner sports a chain store or restaurant and even the Bowery has sky-high rents and hip eateries.
I'm here to report that the transition to prosperity is not yet complete.
We decided to join the Earth Day celebration in a neighborhood known as The Mission. Yes, along the main drag there are all the signs of gentrification with artisan ice cream and a shop selling turntables and the kinds of things you see in Dwell magazine, but move on to back blocks and it's still a Spanish speaking 'hood. As to the people, the booths and the food trucks at the fest? We really could have been in Austin. Almost.
It was Nude Bike Ride day as well. It's an annual event and city officials apparently don't care. I smiled when I heard a woman behind me tell her young child "Yes honey, they ride their bikes with no clothes on," and realize that the child will simply file that away as unexceptional because children are so beautifully accepting. But it's nice to see the bikers are setting a good example for the kids by wearing helmets.
I can also report that The Tenderloin is still The Tenderloin; in other words what The Bowery used to be.