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Did you catch this thought-provoking little piece in Thursday's NYT Styles section?

Some of the many casualties of this economic downtown have been the small locally-owned niche businesses that have sprung up in gentrifying urban neighborhoods.  This particular article highlights the shifts in Los Angeles, but we've seen it just as much here in my little corner of SF.  The charming stationer's shop up the street shuttered its doors last month, my favorite hole-in-the-wall used bookstore moved out last fall, and an excellent trend-setting vegetarian restaurant folded not long ago, as well.  Disappointments, all.

It's especially interesting when you consider the "bourgeois bohemian" lifestyles these places help to sustain.  When economics become the determinant, what happens to the aesthetic edge??  The NYT article "poses a rattling question of identity: What happens to bourgeois bohemia when the bourgeois part drops out?"

I'm lucky enough to live in an area that balances tenuously between hip/safe and edgy/dangerous.  The gentrification that comes with that is a mixed blessing; good for the locals who want a charming coffee shop and a cute used bookstore, not so great for the more marginalized types who used to run a drag bar where that new bookstore has moved in, and have since been displaced.  

Read the article.  It raises some interesting questions about gentrification, urbanity and where boho values/lifestyles fit into these tough economic times.

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