I met up with a friend and former coworker and his boyfriend last weekend to hang out. They live in Hillcrest, which is essentially the heart of the LGBTQ community in San Diego, and I lived there for about six months before moving to the desert.
Anyhow, my friend’s boyfriend’s job offered to relocate him to Arizona for a CHUNK of money and they were pretty much on board to do it, as they said Hillcrest has gotten insanely expensive. This led to a discussion about the whole area that is Hillcrest and North Park and how rent keeps getting higher and higher.
I lived in San Diego for years and a majority of that time I lived on the border of North Park, which is Hipster San Diego. I lived on the slightly rougher side of it but it was still a great place to be; I had so many Mexican markets, coffee shops and beauty supplies stores to choose from, all within walking distance from my house. I lived in a little cottage that I adored and my landlord was the epitome of what a great and caring landlord should be, seeing as he fixed up the area, erected a gated fence entry and always made sure that things were fixed asap.
The area was amazing! It reminded me of the beach life in terms of how I knew all the shop owners, the dive bar bartenders and they knew me. I used to visit this one Mexican market that was also a very tiny restaurant that took all of my money due to their delicious pork chile verde. When the cats would get on my nerves, I would just wander down to one of the coffee shops and chill or listen to whatever live music/spoken word event they had. Speaking of spoken word, my old neighborhood was ripe for slam poetry open mics and contests at a local art museum, which I religiously went to. There was street fairs, restaurant weeks, wine crawls, it was an awesome place to live.
The only reason I moved is because my landlord told me the property owners were raising then doubling rent and he wanted to give me a heads up about it. So I moved to Hillcrest for six months before moving in with my boyfriend. I loved living in Hillcrest even more because I was within walking distance of a particular gay bar that showed RuPaul’s Drag Race every week and was hosted by Chad Micheals. Plus, I lived across the street from a 24-hour Mexican shop that was next to a 24-hour doughnut place. Life was good, despite the fact that I had a serious spider problem.
Anyhow, my friends told me that everything had changed and they were slowly but surely getting phased out. The way they put it, “downtown is spilling into our neighborhood.” A lot of shops and tenants are being pushed out due to rent skyrocketing and my friends have been living in their place for seven years and said that within in the last few years, their rent has jumped up significantly. They told me my old neighborhood has changed, as they were cleaning and fixing it up. That’s great and all but still, all of my neighbors were working class who looked out for one another because we understood the struggle. It just made me sad; I hear about gentrification about I’ve never experienced it on a personal level. The shops, bars and markets were priced because of the community, but if their rent gets raised, they have to up prices, which means they lose business, which can cost them their actual business.
I don’t have anything else to really say. I’m just bummed out.