“My god, it looks like a prison!” Thoughts on a new Fayetteville apartment complex | Street Jazz

Monday, October 14, 2013

“My god, it looks like a prison!” Thoughts on a new Fayetteville apartment complex

Posted By on Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

It's an evil thing the liberal community does; it wants to see the slums cleared but doesn't fight to see housing for lower-income groups built first. It reinforces all the terrible things we're talking about in the big cities. - Florence Scala, quoted in Suds Terkel's "Division Street: America."

Rounding the corner one morning, I happened upon one of our new “upscale” apartment complexes. It isn’t all that often that I stop, stare, and exclaim something out loud, but I sort of felt like astronaut Dave Bowman in 2001: A >Space Odyssey (the novel, not the film, though the sequel includes his line) when he says, in wonder, “My god, it’s full of stars!”

I stopped in my tracks and said, in true horror, “My god, it looks like a prison!”

And then - no offense to architects in the world - I thought of George Costanza of Seinfeld, who was fond of telling women that he was an architect, in the hopes of impressing them. This, I reflected to myself, was exactly the sort of building the hapless George might well come up with, should he be forced to demonstrate his “talent.”

Except for the balconies, it doesn’t look that much different from the large prison that Tracy and I pass by when we drive through Oklahoma several times a year. Ah well, maybe they are real pretty on the inside . . .

Fayetteville, which has many working class residents, has few - and “few” is a charitable word foir it - housing services which cater to them, despite the numbers of working class workers in our city. We have “student” apartments (if you are not a student and get turned away, would you have grounds for a great lawsuit?) or “upscale” (again, read “student”) apartments.

Thank god we have a city council which springs into action anytime existing housing - no matter the form - is torn down so that new upscale apartments can be built. Cuz, you know, nothing spells success like protecting the rental homes of voters.

Yeah . . .

One might think that if a project promotes itself as “upscale” (meaning expensive - because nothing says “I despise my kid” like putting him in a place without a sauna or a communal game room) it might actually look upscale - especially if building the damn thing forces folks who already live on the land, whether it be in trailers or apartments, to move - maybe even out of town.

There is the infamous story of the Fayetteville politician, when asked about a certain part of town, responded that some trailer parks were demolished and nice new apartments were built. It never seemed to enter his mind what might have happened to the people who were forced to move out.

Would that he were the rarity . . .

******

Quote of the Day

“[MGM] had us working days and nights on end. They’d give us pep-up pills to keep us on our feet long after we were exhausted. Then they’d take us to the studio hospital and knock us cold with sleeping pills . . . Then after four hours they’d wake us up and give us the pep-up pills again so we could work another seventy-two hours in a row. - Judy Garland

rsdrake@cox.net

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