My roommates and I have just about had it with your recent invasion of our treasured community. As you pour into these blocks in droves, you fail to recognize the impact your sudden inundation is having on this community. We should know—we’ve been residents of this neighborhood for over fourteen months.

This is not some slab of asphalt with cheap rent and quick train access for you to suddenly call your own. You did not discover this neighborhood. We did. And before you arrived, there was a vibrant community of immigrants from a country in Eastern Europe whose name is, unfortunately, escaping me at the moment. They had these great knish-like pastries we’d get on the way home from the bars.

The point is, there were families here just trying to make a living and get by.

Put simply, your recent arrival has totally changed the landscape of our community. There was no “Matcha Cold Brew Winnebago” 15 months ago…

It’s strange to think back to what this place was like when we first cautiously toured it less than two years ago. We remember a simpler time, when you couldn’t get fancy artisanal cheese at Brioche on Duncan Ave. You had to walk across Ellison until you hit the indoor farmer’s market to get aged Gouda. And you know what? We liked it better that way.

We were actually some of the first tenants in our building, a brand new complex from a massive real estate developer famous for predatory housing endeavors. And when we moved into our building, we didn’t have any luxury rooftop pools to swim laps in every morning. Instead, we’d take the elevator to the gym on the 6th floor and exercise a bit more humbly. I guess you could say we’re a little old-fashioned in that way.

All this, mind you, fails to address the ramifications of having more and more young professionals coming in and driving up rent for working-class families. We were the first to begin doing that more than a year ago. Back then, it was technically considered urban renewal—we were providing a healthy economic stimulus to the existing residents.

Put simply, your recent arrival has totally changed the landscape of our community. There was no “Matcha Cold Brew Winnebago” 15 months ago if you can even believe it. You could get Matcha at Andanté and Cold Brew at La Fournette and yeah, I guess you’d have to just mix the two together. How pedestrian.

I still remember our housewarming party and how our friends were literally afraid to come visit us. Ask our neighbors—that fat man and his very short wife—they’ve been living here for over 30 years. We walk by them every single morning and say absolutely nothing. In that sense, we’re like family.

This neighborhood was not awaiting your cultural renaissance. We don’t need your Dr. Martens stomping around our beloved streets. Also, you probably got them from the thrift store we sold our old ones to anyway.

With both disgust and nostalgia,

The residents of 83 Elm Ave.

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