Signs your neighborhood has jumped the shark

I was eating breakfast at Carroll Street Cafe in Cabbagetown with a friend Sunday morning, when in quick succession I notice the following:

  • the table next to us had two nice middle aged couples
  • a 30-something woman in a lime green fuzzy running/sweat suit came into the restaurant
  • as we were leaving a couple comes in with two young children in tow
  • a woman was walking her Sheltie as we walked to the car
I looked at my friend and said, “I think Cabbagetown has jumped the shark.”  I mean, there is nothing inherintly wrong with any of the things I saw (except probably for the lime green track suit), it just wasn’t really the mental image I have in mind for Cabbagetown.  It also made me much more uncomfortable with how old I am.
I’ve got to admit that my own neighborhood, Virginia-Highland, jumped the shark years ago.  I have been surprised that Little Five has stayed relatively authentic, even if they replaced the Point with a clothing boutique.  EAV is still pretty raw, what with people getting shot in parking lots and all.  Cabbagetown still has its gritty side, but I guess it was just too cute for its own good.  (And FTR, I fully realize that I might be part of the problem, even if I do remember seeing the Vandals at the Point).

6 Comments so far

  1. Will (atl_will) on January 26th, 2009 @ 2:03 am

    What does authentic mean in this context?

  2. silverrubicon on January 26th, 2009 @ 9:35 am

    Good question. What does "authentic" mean? Were these neighborhoods "authentic" in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s with families, dogs, and children? Were they "authentic" in the 60’s with an increase in hippies? Were they "authentic" in the 70’s with white flight? Were they authentic in 80’s with the influx of urban explorers? Were they authentic in the 90’s with urban renewal? Or are they authentic now with faimiles, dogs, children, and joggers?

  3. bking on January 26th, 2009 @ 11:35 am

    Not trying to get terribly deep here – just saying that Cabbagetown used to feel cool and interesting, and Sunday morning it felt pretty vanilla. Nothing "inauthentic" about joggers and families – they are people, too, nothing to be ashamed about, yadda yadda. It just isn’t a group I have historically identified with, and it isn’t the social climate that attracted me to neighborhoods like Cabbagetown or EAV in the first place. So if it makes you feel better, substitute any of the following words for "authentic": interesting, cool, hip, gritty, young, artistic, edgy, DIY, etc.

    As far as L5P staying authentic, it is partly a reflection of how I have always seen L5P – so in that particular context, I meant that L5P hadn’t really changed that much. When the Point closed and they put in a mini-precinct, I thought L5P was going to die culturally, but I see the same suburban punks and hippies there that I did in high school, and I’m pretty sure the pediatrician I went to back in the day still has an office above Abbadabba’s. I personally always felt like L5P was just a tad too tourist-y, but I’ve been surprised at how it hasn’t gotten really any more so over the last 10 years. So I don’t really feel like it has changed that much, even if I never felt like it was that cool in the first place. Of course, people who remember it in the 70’s and 80’s will disagree with me.

  4. georgepburdell on January 26th, 2009 @ 11:47 am

    Carroll Street Cafe (along with Agave) is the only reason most people know of Cabbagetown. I pretty much loathe the crowd at carroll st. cafe and have eaten there twice since I’ve lived in the neighborhood for the last few years.

    if you go to a sunday morning brunch place, expect to see a sunday morning brunch crowd. the scene you describe can easily be applied to Solstice cafe, lamplighter, ria’s, radial, neighbors, flying biscuit etc. etc.

    Brewhouse is possibly the one exception becuase it has drunk soccer hooligans as a brunch crowd.

    Seriously – what the hell do you expect on a sunday morning? Mohawks and hipster haircuts with skinny jeans and fixed gears? These types are working there on a sunday morning, or working at the bars friday night….

  5. abby on January 26th, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

    I just wrote this email to burdell and thought I should instead share it with the general atl metblog-reading population:

    To answer the question of grittiness, hipness, edginess, artsiness, interestingness:
    I could list the times we’ve called the police or seen the police response to issues like gunshots through our window, our car stolen, seeing neighbors beating each other with tire irons in response to car stealing (I think that’s what that was about). Or describe the mountain of needles they found under Betty’s porch when they tore her house down after the tornado. Or post a photo of the boarded-up house on my street that needs to be torn down (also from tornado damage) with the people still living in the shed in the back. Or a photo of Neal, the most recent self-appointed "mayor of cabbagetown," or any of many “Originals” that still aren’t fully comfortable with us and people like us (read: not people they grew up with) living on their streets/in their houses.

    Ooh, or an audio file of the church goers across the street from our place belting out hymns along with a drum and a bass guitar on Sunday afternoon or Wednesday evening. Or that absurd house cleansing they held a few months ago to clear that place on Tye’s bad spirits (sorry, I just looked it up – they “dramatized the exit of negative energy” from the house). And the hipsters snorting coke in the bathrooms of Estoria, or the album covers you see being photographed EVERY DAY in Krog tunnel.

    Maybe I’m not with it but I don’t think any sharks have been jumped.

    It was a good point about the brunch crowd. I think the neighborhood is probably more diverse than it’s ever been – 20 years ago Cabbagetown was the “whitest ghetto in America.” It’s nice that we have all the ridiculousness I listed, and lime green track suit ladies still feel okay coming by to pick up an overpriced brunch at our neighborhood bar/restaurant. Plus, I suppose I have to plan on being middle-aged one day, and I can promise you that’s not going to happen in Norcross or Alpharetta.

  6. thedude911 on January 26th, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

    You’re exactly the type of "elitist" hipster wanna be I loathe. You are the type of person that judges people by what they wear not who they are….did you just graduate highschool or something? And now on to the main problem with your thinking… East Atlanta still being raw as you put it and people getting shot….your article makes it sound like you consider this a positive attribute to EAV. Yeah its real cool for shootings to happen and people dieing.Obviously you’ve never been held up at gunpoint. Your blog was disgusting and a disgrace to all the residents that live in OUR area.

    Do us all a favor and stay in Virginia Highland.

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