Monday, July 29, 2013

Almost Full Circle

My very first post was from weave found at 38th street and Greenmount avenue. That area is a crossroads between the gated neighborhood of Guilford and the less gated area of The Waverlies. Guilford has a security team in clean white 'securitas' cars (part of the independent Securitas company), and labyrinthine streets. Waverly does not have a security team, but also boasts a good number of confusing one way streets.
Looking back at that post from two years ago, it's weak. That area deserves greater attention. Here is my opportunity to make up for it in a small way. Recently a friend in Baltimore sent me a picture from not too far away from that original spot: Cold Spring lane and York road.
Here it is:
This may be the biggest piece any one has sent me a picture of so far. I once saw a full wig, but that may have just been a rat. The confusion is common in Baltimore. Not to get graphic, but when the weather gets warm and drowned rats start decorating gutters and street corners it can be visually confusing.
To set the stage of this area, here you can find a barber shop called 'Nappee by Nature', a hectic transfer site for MTA buses, and a supremely bustling intersection. Other notable locations: York road Animal Hospital, Lianah Dominican Hair Salon, and a fried chicken/ lake trout spot called Chicken Run. A weird assortment for all your hair and chicken needs.
I used to bike through that intersection to get to Roland Park from Waverly. There were always residents out in lawn chairs talking and gossiping and children playing on porches. Another common sight is men with suspiciously slouched, stumbling, feet-dragging swaggers. Are you following me here?
When this was my daily route, these men gave me nicknames like 'Snow Flake' and 'Snow White'- just to include me. One of these men, in addition to being a vocal advocate of 'Nappee by Nature', had a penchant for carrying and brandishing machetes. It may have just been one machete. Owning one machete is rare, multiple blades would be outrageous.
Another anecdote that I can't keep in: on the 8 bus a few days, while I listened to two men bicker about the appropriate way to treat women (a good sign for the future of young adults), I watched a couple of people sell Coronas out of a battered box to drivers stopped at that light for 3 bucks a piece. You never see the same thing twice at that intersection.
If you haven't seen the aforementioned corner, it's positioned between the neighborhoods of Waverly, Govans, Guilford, and Pen Lucy. Can we please give a shout out to Pen Lucy? That neighborhood is dwarfed by some giants. An even smaller neighborhood? Richnor Springs
See? Small
According to, Richnor Springs is "one of those great little secrets of Baltimore City life". The page describes it as a tight community with quiet, tree-lined streets. Most residents have lived there their entire lives. They know the area and they've watched it grow and change, wax and wane. There is a change based on the average home sales from 2008 to 2010. In 2008, the average price was $128, 402 and 7 homes were sold; in 2009 the average price was $39,750 and 2 houses were sold; in 2010 the average price was $38,786 and 7 were sold.
If you do a search for news at that specified intersection, as of July 29th, the most recent article is about an attempted carjacking from last month(1). The second hit is from 2010. On the page for Richnor Springs from the Live Baltimore website, you can follow a link to see the crime map provided by the Baltimore police force. After entering the address for Nappee by Nature, this is the map provided:
As the dates on the map show, this is just for the past two weeks.
This website has a good breakdown of the demographics. It states at the bottom of the page that all information is "reliable but not guaranteed", and has been updated in the current year. Good disclaimer. I was directed there by the website, which is a real estate company that is different from other companies because, according to their about section, they're "really on your side". Their breakdown of demographics reflects a community primarily of homeowners who are, again primarily, between the ages of 5-14, 25-29, and 50-54. A majority of the residents have attained a high school diploma or some college, and a white collar job. The crime FAQs indicates 7 times the risk for robbery and 6 times the risk for murder. It doesn't say, but I'm assuming that is a national average. The chart above from the crime map is showing stolen cars as the greatest risk for the past two weeks.

What these stats don't show is the eagerness of the community association to involve residents, plan events, and address community concerns. Richnor Springs is a good example of a small neighborhood getting swallowed up by larger city concerns and the sometimes harsh stigma surrounding the residents.

Thanks to Mo for the picture
Thanks to Baltimore


No Sleep till Brooklyn, Baltimore

This weave isn't tumbling anywhere. It's firmly secured in packaging with tags and prices and accompanying accessories. These wigs and extensions have been carefully displayed and one day be purchased and worn with care.

Weave can get pricey. Most means of beautification are costly, time consuming, and require reoccurring attention. Such 'hobbies' are associated with women, and thus they aren't as important to discuss; they are "inferior"1. Before this becomes a discussion of gendered expectations of success with physical appearance, let me say the financial burden places on women- identified people is much higher than for men. It isn't fair. This may have been the greatest thrift store I've been to in Maryland, but the extensive hair selection made it the greatest I've been to in the few states in the United States (shout out to Savers). Hell yeah- people who need wigs or weave get a chance to save some money. Times are tough and fashion sense isn't getting any cheaper.
Fun facts about Brooklyn:
Brooklyn isn't just a place in New York.
Finally, there is the aforementioned neighborhood Brooklyn in Baltimore, and there is Brooklyn Park in Anne Arundel county. Way to rack up the Brooklyns Maryland. Let's jump into the stats: Brooklyn/ Curtis Bay, when compared to Baltimore City, has higher percentages of white and Hispanic residents, "some other races", and "two or more races"2. Some other races...two or more day this will be expanded without it being considered superfluous fact.
Income, proficiency levels, and school absenteeism for elementary through high school is comparable. An interesting statistical difference as listed in the 2011 Neighborhood Health Profile of Brooklyn/ Curtis Bay/ Hawkins Pt. is that of adult educational attainment. Brooklyn residents beat out the average percentage of Baltimore City residents with a high school diploma by 20% (75% versus 52%), but Baltimore City residents win with college diplomas by 20% (5% versus 25%). This has to be because of the presence of so many universities and colleges in Baltimore city, as well as the number of transplants who graduate from these universities and colleges and stay in Baltimore.
Anyone following current events in Baltimore these days knows that the number of shootings and police activity has been off the charts recently. Unfortunately the rates of fatal and non-fatal shootings in Brooklyn are higher than the average of Bmore City (as are rates of domestic violence). This is not to say that the number of shootings in Brooklyn has increased in tandem recently. My stats are from 2011 averages.
This information is from (I'm sorry, college professors): because of "general neglect from the city of Baltimore" and its proximity to Cherry Hill, Brooklyn struggles with crime and drug activity. There is a question about the source for the quote about Baltimore neglect; I can't say if it's true or not. I only personally know the 20-somethings go to Brooklyn for the thrift stores and they say "it isn't safe, but where in Baltimore is?". Like Station North, there are plans for gentrification in Brooklyn but this hasn't been moving forward with the same speed. That's not uncommon- communities on the outskirts of a city are never tended to as quickly (see: parishes outside of New Orleans). There is some truth to the wikipedia facts based on this website: It gives a good breakdown- very thorough.
But in the end, only the people who live there can say anything with certainty and truth. I am not tech saavy enough to reformat to get the video to fit. You should follow the link here and above to see it. Neighborhoods don't need false advertising from weave-stalkers. Let them speak for themselves.
To tie it back to the beginning: in the video a man says "There aren't too many outlets for little girls". As cities take stock of what places to "gentrify" (because it is a harsh and much-debated inevitability), leaders need to remember the needs of the children and young adults come first. Methods of physical adornment and ornamentation are important in their own right, but it can't be the only outlet for young women. 

Do you want your travels loosely documented, or your neighborhood featured? Email me at
Include the neighborhood or the cross streets, if possible!



Thank you to the Beastie Boys for quotable song titles
Thank you to Baltimore. Every day

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lots of missing: this time, this year

It's been over a year since the last post! Let's jump right in.
Hampshire College.
Located in Amherst, MA, this private liberal arts school boasts a student body of about 1,500. The college was founded around the late 60s/early 70s time, and is earnest in its approach to providing an education that seems even more pseudo-hippie than Bard. I could point fun and say "no grades? what are you even doing there you liberal yuppies?" But I went to a small, private, 'liberal' school too. Who am I to judge? And for real- this school is in the Five College consortium, giving their students access to Amherst, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Who here is going to say that isn't a pretty good deal? Sit down Claremont Consortium.
And onwards to the point:
location: Hampshire college, 2013

Back in April, Hampshire is hosting a conference run by Civil Liberties and Public Policy. Oh, you want to know about them? The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP) functions to to help smash the state and end patriarchy! Well, actually they educate and train leaders and activists on issues of reproductive rights and health, and social economic justice. Developing in the wake of Reagan-era enti-abortion pressure and right-wing attacks, CLPP emerged to engage students in activism and social justice.
Does anyone care about Hampshire stats or just another picture of weave? Whatever, you're getting a little bit of everything today. It's been a while!
Based on numbers provided by Hampshire's admissions website, the teacher to student ratio is 12:1. Neat, good size. That's small, so lots of attention. Ok, what's next? Some of the same idea- average class size is 18. Next? Students of color: 18%; International students: 6%. That's it. Those are all of statistics. It can't always be a priority to break down racial or ethnic diversity- or am I saying that because I am perceived as a mainstream looking young person (read: looking pretty white). The percentage of white students isn't listed because it's assumed that the school is going to be primarily white and, in my experience, probably female-bodied or woman-identifying. For more perspective, Amherst Massachusetts is also primarily white, female, and middle class as well.
But even I can't stay angry about everything all the time. This conference looked like an incredible event that deserves a shout out and praise. Diversity is always a photo opportunity (remember I went to a small liberal arts school, so I know this to be fact), but it doesn't feel contrived coming from the 2013 CLPP conference. I can't say more because I wasn't there, but I feel empowered just looking at the website and watching video clips.
More power to an institution like Hampshire if they provide a space that is safe, inclusive, empowering, and productive for this conference to take place. And love to the CLPP for bringing "over a thousand activists, students, academics, and professionals from 132 campuses and 260 organizations" together for the weekend.
And for serious readers of this kind of activism, it gets better. According to more info stuffed in the conference's website, the following things were provided: childcare, scent-free environments for those with chemical sensitivities, non-discriminatory bathrooms, wheel chair accessibility, ASL translators, and all-inclusive meal options. To help with funding, they provided help for fundraising campaigns and opportunities to apply for transportation and housing stipends. Aid with funding is monumental  in order to prevent the exclusion of activists on the basis of economic status. Dialogue is strengthened.
I hope too much synthetic hair wasn't lost at this conference.

Thank you to Genna for the picture
Thank you to Defiance, Ohio for 'This Time, This Year'
Thank you to Hampshire College
Thank you to the CLPP

Other Sources:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Every ghetto, every city, and suburban place I've been

New location alert. It isn't Baltimore, or Philadelphia, or even San Francisco. It isn't even a city. It's a suburb. A suburb of Philadelphia, but still a suburb.
Outside of Philadelphia along the Media/Elwyn line (the R3 for those who refuse to change with the times) is Swarthmore, PA. Home to Swarthmore College...and that's about it. There are nice houses, little shops, a coffee shop, a church, a this, a that. Nothing is open past 9:30pm. It's a hip and happening place. Also, it's dry. The closest bar is 2 miles away. According to, "Swarthmore is a tree-lined residential community of distinctive homes and quiet neighborhoods, anchored by the campus of Swarthmore College. At the center of Borough is a downtown core of unique, independent shops and services." To summarize, Swarthmore invented the yawn and underage drinking. In tandem possibly. 
During my brief moment of gainful employment in this town, the most interesting thing that happened to me was telling teenage boys not to pee on the side of the building in broad daylight. Well, that was before the exciting day when I found this inside my place of employment:

On the ground, resting with pride and a certain sense of knowing it didn't belong, was this weave. I almost swept it up, thinking it was an unwieldy clump of dust. I caught myself just in time; I pretended I didn't notice it, tucked my phone in my apron pocket, and took a picture while "wiping down" a counter or something. Overjoyed by my discovery, I found work tolerable that day.
The only thing that made my day even better? This:
No, I wasn't glad to see that even in Swarthmore someone made a mistake like littering. See that black smudge? More weave. Xmas had come late, but just in time for me.
While I will not disclose the name of the store for the sake of my pride (who gets fired these days?), I will talk about Swarthmore.
That place is tiny: it's 1.38 square miles, and the population is about 6,100 people. The median income is $119,315. That's a pretty penny. Almost everyone is Catholic, or of a mainline Protestant division. Obama led the election in Swarthmore in 2008 (61% to 39% for McCain). An impressive 8% of the population is using alternative energy. That's an impressive amount for a tiny borough.
Here is the racial breakdown: 79.6% White, 9.4% Asian 'alone', 4.8% Black 'alone', 2.9% Hispanic, 2.5% two or more races. and 0.8% other. Has anyone figured out what other means yet? When you do, let me know. It is not very diverse in terms of religion, race, type of reusable shopping bag, or socioeconomic status.
Again, there are a lot of very pretty homes and clean apartment complexes. Lawns and exterior paint jobs are well maintained. Lots of families go out for breakfast or take walks together on Saturday and Sunday morning. When I went to  the municipal building to pay my $5 parking ticket, the woman working in the office gave me an apple and told me to have a beautiful day. It's like living inside of a Stepford wife.
Here's another anecdote about Swarthmore: one my co-workers (just one) was a black woman.  She still works there, and is all around pretty cool. There are a handful of black families that frequented our place of employment, and event more white parents with adopted black children. The following story involves non-black people who have seen black people before. On a daily basis, my coworker has white people ask about her hair. She wears it natural, and this is a never ending source of amazement for a number of white patrons. They ask how she maintains it, if they can touch it, if she can teach them how to care for it (if they have an adopted child who is black), etc. Many of these questions seem intrusive, rude, and sometimes condescending because they are. They're forcing an appreciate of "other people" to the point of being offensive. Swarthmore is full of people with good intentions who have stumbled down the wrong path for a brief moment.
Do you understand my shock at seeing these lost pieces of weave?

 Thank you to Swarthmore for reinforcing the status quo
Thank you to Lauryn Hill for "Every ghetto, every city"


Guest Starring: a mustache

In all my days I've never seen someone lose their mustache on the street. A clean, full mustache tossed aside like an unwanted candy wrapper. A few days ago I received an email from a good friend who is currently traveling about on a cruise ship, playing in the band. He spends his free time searching high and low in tropical places for lost hair extensions for me. He failed in that endeavor, but he found me a mustache. Since receiving that email from him, I've woken up every day with thanks in my heart and a smile on my face.
Syke out. It's not a real mustache. This little emerald farce was found in Tampa, FL in the port district. But like this mustache, Tampa's port isn't even the real deal. It ranks second to Miami's port in terms of the number of cruise ships that regularly stink up the coast with boring tourists who will all probably get a flesh eating bacteria. At the least Tampa has the honor of playing host to Wikipedia's server farm and other Wikimedia Foundation projects. What a fabulous place indeed.
Stay with me, dear readers, as I've never reviewed a location based on fake facial hair, only faux follicles found for the head. The mustache is a St. Patrick's day throw back, but Tampa isn't exactly the capital for St. Patty's celebrations. Ok, train of thought. Chuga chuga choo- let's just look at tourism in Tampa, and maybe some stats about St. Patrick's day in general. That's a holiday rife with tradition and stoicism.
After some shoddy internet based research, I gave up after I found; the most recent statistics they have are from 2010. What are they doing down there that prevents them from providing me updates? Serves them right that their tourism dropped by 7.4% between 2009 to 2010 to a measly 13.9 million people. All they brought in was a paltry 3.2 billion dollars. That's only equal to winning one lottery these days. I did cease my high speed reading and mockery at this though: tourism brought in around 47,384 jobs and $1.3 billion towards wages for those in the service industry. Total cruise passengers at the Port of Tampa reached 845,918 for calendar year 2010, which represented a 6.6% increase over 2009 figures. I'm sure my good pal is glad to be part of that statistic for 2012. International visitors made up 13% of tourists that year, and most of them came from Canada. Not impressed. If you have any questions about those things, feel free to contact Travis Claytor, communications manager for Tampa Bay & Company. His information is listed on the aforementioned site.
Apparently St. Patrick's day in Tampa was like St. Patrick's day in all cities in United States: the law looked the other way while drunk people really tested the limits of public decency while bars served them green beer. They're trying to improve their tourism around the holiday, and it's working ok. I guess. I doubt most people care where they are on St. Patrick's day, as long as you're with people who will protect you from yourself and/ or others. One gem I found was an H&R block office in Apollo Beach offered free reviews all day on March 17th. What exactly prompted the owners to do this, I will never know. Hopefully their offices were respected by responsible persons hoping to get their finances under control. No green puke in the bathrooms or urine on the sides of their building. If this rather nice picture has taught us anything, it's that people cannot let this mustache craze end.

 A special thanks to Tampa for being there.
And even more special thanks to David for providing this picture.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Been a While, But We're Back with Style.

Readers, it's been a while. I've missed you. Weave has not been in the forefront of my thinking recently, but I look for it everywhere I go. I even found some on the island off the coast of New Hampshire (I think). But let's ease back in with a city I am beginning to get to know better. San Francisco officially became a city in 1826, but before it was established it was a site that positively glowed with ideals of success and a better life.
For quite a bit of time, Spain, Russia, and England were all vying for power and seeking domination on the Pacific Coast- Spain won. Laurels crown the names of Bucareli the viceroy of new spain, Anze the explorer and colonist, and Serra the president of the missions. A letter sent in 1774 from Bucareli to Serra marks the official beginning of the founding of San Francisco. Thus starts a long list of boat rides, surveys, arrivals, and departures. And all of that is how we now find ourselves here:

This weave has caught the sun, waiting for a lurid voyeur to come take a picture. It's almost as though it had been delicately placed on the Newport box just for you guys.

Here's a breakdown of the San Francisco:
The city is small, full of hills, beautiful at times, and way too expensive for an east coast dweller living south of New York and north of D.C. The city is small, and because of the size the demographics and statistics generally overlap between the county and the city. All I know about the county is that it hosts the only real pancake house in a suburb called Millbrae. I recommend their blueberry pancakes.
The city hosts somewhere between 776,000 and 808,000 people, and that is split about almost even between male and female (though it sports a few more men). The largest age groups span from 25 to 54. The majority of city dwellers have an income that falls between $50,000 to $74,999. Like I said, that city is expensive. In terms of race, whites are coming in the lead and are followed by Asian, Hispanic/Latino, African American, the mysterious "other", American Indian, and then Pacific Islander.
The website rates cities and compares how safe they are in contrast to other cities in the United States. Thanks to this site, I know that my chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in San Francisco is 1 in 118. S.F. safer than only 9% of other U.S. cities. But don't worry tourists, the rate of property crime is much higher, with about 37,039 property crimes compared to 6,808 violent crimes a year.
But numbers and stats are boring to read as much as they are boring to research. San Francisco is full of wildly diverse neighborhoods, and you know exactly when you've left one and entered another. Is this a sign of age, race, ethnic, or religious segregation based on streets? Maybe, but it also gives each space a unique identity.
Occupying is big these days. Let's talk about that. The Occupy SF movement isn't just a group of kids in front of the Ferry Building at Justin Herman Plaza and hosting drummers and trolley car shaped tents, there are outposts in front of Wells Fargo locations around the city. That city effing hates Wells Fargo.
In the 1960s, San Francisco (and Berkley and Oakland) were rife with social justice movements. This city is no stranger to a diverse population with a wide range of stories about oppression and violence.
If you're a little nervous about the occupy groups, the police just broke down the settlement early this morning. No need to worry anymore.
Good thing NoFX got there before that all went down:

San Francisco isn't all sunshine and beautiful gardens, the city is struggling financially. The cost of transportation, housing, amusement, and everything else is going up. I'd be more careful about shedding weave if I live in California these days; every penny counts.

Thanks to Alvin and the Chipmunks for the title.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pike Street to Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Weave fans, weave lovers, and weave followers-

The time has come to talk of any things- actually, we're just here to talk about weave. Since heading to this island, I have realized that lacking diversity of any kind generally means there is going to be a lack of weave. It may be a generalization, but it could very well be the truth. Since I have chosen to work for a handful of months in the whitest place since 'Stuff White People Like', I depend on whoever feels inclined to send me pictures they awkwardly took of something on the ground. Today, I can thank Jane for helping me out!

The weave is waiting in your path, guiding you through the wilds of urban living.

If I were ever to write a children's book, I use this photo. It would be a modern telling of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Instead of dropping crumbs, they will drop scraps of weave to help bring them home. The twist will be: there is so much weave on the streets of New York that they will follow the wrong pieces home. Boom.
These pieces were found at the corner of 7th Ave. and 13th St. in Park Slope. Thanks to the magic of the internet (and my free time in the office), I found a picture of the very same corner on Google earth.

If you continue to read this blog, you will never have to go on vacation again. My updates are like windows into magical new worlds.
Let me set the stage: Park Slope, Brooklyn. Now this is a place that should be featured on the blog 'Stuff White People Like'. That place is crawling with same-sex couples pushing strollers, small dogs being held in their owners' arms during walks, and well-groomed window boxes full of bright flowers on streets shaded by real trees. Incidentally, this is not something I have made up. I highly recommend you check out this article before you do anything else: I have a cited source, you MLA freaks.
I could easily expand into a loquacious, and poorly written, novella about the Slope Rage meme that is spreading like Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease through a daycare, but we have demographics to discuss. The rumor mill is churning out an endless supply of hateraid about Park Slope, but what is it actually like there?
Well, let the internet tell you. Park Slope is a neighborhood in western Brooklyn, New York City's most populous borough. Park Slope is roughly bounded by Prospect Park West to the east, Fourth Avenue to the west, Flatbush Avenue to the north, and 15th Street to the south, though other definitions are sometimes offered.But honestly, I am not that worried about the other definitions. Are you? No, you don't care.
The population is about 33,441 people, and in regards to racial makeup this is a breakdown from about 2000 (eleven years isn't that long):68% white, 27% Hispanic, 10% mysterious other, 8% Black, 5% Asian. Hold onto your hats for the next statistic because it's a doozy. The median income is $96,532. This is by far the wealthiest area to be featured on Tumble Weave. Kudos Park Slope. Is that weave made by Prada? provides fun information like 'who lives here?', and then provides a general outline of 'The main types of people who live there'.
1) Power Singles—High-income urban singles.
Highly educated professionals, many with advanced degrees. They draw a handsome salary and have reasonable living expenses while living a hip, upscale life in an urban center.
2)Makin' It Singles—Upper-scale urban singles.
Pre-middle-age to middle-age singles with upper-scale incomes. May or may not own their own home. Most have college educations and are employed in mid-management professions.
3)Multi-lingual Urbanites—Urban dwellers who speak more than one language.
Some have a high school or college education, and they work in a variety of occupations. Moderate to upper-scale earning potential.

Based on my calculations about 92% of people living in Park Slope shop at stores that make hip clothes for babies, dogs, or both.

Interestingly though, during the 1950s, Park Slope saw its decline as a result of suburban sprawl and declining local industries. Many of the wealthy and middle-class families fled for the suburban life and Park Slope became a rougher, more working class neighborhood. It was mostly Italian and Irish in the 1950s and 1960s, though this changed in the 1960s and 1970s as the black and Latino population of the Slope increased and many of the Italian and Irish population began to relocate. Then the hippies and artists showed up and gentrification grabbed hold. The rest is history.

For more information on Park Slope, see Park Slope Barbie below:

Remember to email if you find some weave. Include the location where your found it!

Keep calm and carry on.

Thank you to Jane for the pictures
Thank you to Harvey Danger for "Park Street to Park Slope"
Thank you to Park Slope for being an easy target

Cited Sources (because I went to college):
My own experiences, suckers.
The NY Times,_Brooklyn