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How to Know Your Neighborhood Is Going to Hell



When I first moved to my neighborhood, I knew it was something on the edgier side of  “up-and-coming,” kind of like “slowly approaching” or “look upwards, sometimes.”  But I figured with the next stop on the PATH train turning around so quickly, it was just a matter of time.

A lot of time.

So then there was housing’s busted bubble, a foreclosure free-for-all, and maybe a recession thrown in for a little extra fun.  And what was once up-and-coming is just plain borderline.

I thought it might be ready for a rebound when I saw a couple of regrettable business ventures close up shop.  I mean, do we really need another flea-market store?  These aren’t even dollar stores.  Those have vendors, inventory, sales.  No, these are like consignment stores filled with the crap that’s typically found for sale on blankets on the sidewalk in New York.  One man’s trash is, well, just crap.

So beside the indoor yardsales, what we have are a lot of fast food restaurants.  There are few fast food chains that aren’t represented within my ten-block radius, and I have to think of the lower rungs of the fast food ladder to find them – like Arby’s or Long John Silver’s.

The “nicer” restaurants are just buffets in a setting that includes folding tables and chairs.  It’s really not a step up from McDonald’s.  The former might offer chairs you can move; but the latter actually offers better atmosphere.

So with all of this to walk past on a daily basis, I got a little excited when I saw that a new restaurant was opening.  I anxiously awaited the opening like some people might look forward to seeing the lottery numbers announced.  And like most of them, I was a loser.

This weekend, the new restaurant opened with a huge, permanent sign that read “Chinese and Mixcan Restaurant.”  Now, I’m omitting the first part of the name because 1) you can pretty much guess it will include the words “lucky” or “happy” in it, and 2) how could that possibly matter next to “mixcan”?

I’m not even sure it wasn’t intentional?  Maybe they’re really serving mixed canned food, and this is just a cute colloquialism for it.  How would I know?  I’m too focused on how this doesn’t bode very well for my neighborhood coming up …it’s more like it’s going down.



23 thoughts on “How to Know Your Neighborhood Is Going to Hell

  1. It is easy for me to laugh at your misfortune–much more difficult for you though.

  2. Sounds like you and your neighborhood have grown apart. You might want to go find yourself a more gentrified one.

  3. “Mixcan”? If that’s not a joke (which I still have my suspicions that it is :P) I sincerely hope it’s intentional.

    What’s the food like I wonder?

  4. My last neighborhood is still in ‘Hell’, that is why I moved!

    ~Ramona Kent~
    Author of Anomar’s Journey

  5. oh boy, you guys are really headed downhill. Better get out of there when you can. best of luck!



  6. Only religion will tell.


  7. A friend told me the best way to find an ‘up and coming’ neighbourhood was to find out where the next Starbucks was opening up. They do a lot of real estate research and are really exclusive about where they place their stores.

  8. haha if they can’t spell a simple word I wonder how their recipes will turn out

  9. Give it a try! Can’t wait to hear what’s on the menu.

  10. I hope things get better. We’ve seen it here too the up and coming becoming borderline.

  11. Oh dear : ( I wouldn’t be taking a chance and eating at Mixcan…
    Sounds like there is definitely a place in the market for someone with some business savvy?? Someone who appreciates quality food and business and realises not everyone wants deep-fried, heart-kililng fastfood??
    Nice post : )

  12. hey this is my new wordpress blog name came and see it its therealus its a reallly cool blog….soo see it=)

  13. I used to live in a place like in the picture. It was the downtown are of where I lived. But i lived in the good part of town.
    hey! visit my blogs!



  14. Wow. Your neighborhood, indeed, is in the Handbasket on the express ride.
    You have made my day.

  15. O_O

    Mixcan? Wow… ok, that IS sad. Though, on the bright side, I’d be willing to bet their menus have all sorts of other typos and you might be able to convince them to hire you as a copy editor to help with that. You make a couple extra bucks and they improve their business (probably). Win win.

  16. I know the feeling- have huge problems (very similar to yours) within my own neighborhood! Thanks for posting!

  17. Nice post. I once lived in a neighborhood with “OK Chinese Food” and constantly wondered why I shouldn’t go a block further for something better than ‘ok.’

  18. Spot on post. I had my best belly laugh of the day at your description of the Mixcan restaurant. Sadly, we have many neighborhoods like you describe on the rural fringes of Ohio. In the dead inner cities, they don’t even get chains, but all of the independent beer and diaper stores have huge posters explaining how to get WIC services.

  19. Maybe there’s a mix of canned laughter playing in the background? That way when you’re out to eat with your friends and you tell a really funny joke the whole place laughs!

  20. Thanks for all the comments! I had no idea this would be such a popular topic. And to fangirlshandbag – Starbucks is a good sign. I should have known my neighborhood was bad when my friend’s neighborhood in Harlem – where the liquor in the liquor store is behind 3-inch plexiglass – even her neighboorhood has a Starbucks. Mine…does not.

  21. Haha I have a feeling my neighborhood is becoming like this (Bushwick in Brooklyn, next to Williamsburg). Talk about next spot waiting to be gentrified…it’s so angering!

  22. I found your site from the WordPress.com page which has several sites that are strong enough to make the page. Your site is wonderful and beautiful.

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