Friday, April 25, 2008

Socioeconomics in Manassas

Okay, so I meet this lady while I am walking today in the Battlefield. She's really nice and strikes up a conversation with me. She tells me about this subdivision in Manassas off Lomond Drive (Sumner Lake). She says there's a really nice walking path, a fountain, ducks and geese and everything, that I should check it out. It used to be a farm, she says.

So I get all excited because this nice lady who must appreciate nature (I assume, because she likes walking in the Battlefield) gives me a tip on a new place to walk.

To get to this place, you have to drive all the way through Lomond Drive in Manassas. Now, I drive through those areas a lot, I've lived near there, and I've subbed at Stonewall a few times. So I know what the neighborhoods look like. They're cute. But since I haven't been there in awhile in daylight, I think, hmmmm....now maybe I will actually see some rot that they talk about on BVBL.

No lie...all the way there, all the way up Lomond, I see ONE house with overgrown grass. This ONE house needs a paint job. The rest of the houses are middle class places, 20-40 years old with yards big enough to make ME drool and enough mature trees to make me whine. And many, many are up for sale, just as they are in my Bristow town home neighborhood.

So I accidentally drive by Sumner and onto Stonewall which means I have to turn around, but before I do, I see some more affordable looking apartments and town homes. I see a group of minorities (mixed) playing basketball in the parking lot of their development. I see people pushing baby carriages and I see blooming spring flowers.

I finally DO make it back to Sumner.

OH MY GOD.

My idea of TOTAL HELL.

McMansions everywhere shoved next to each other, yes, a fountain, but a fountain stuck in the middle of this hoity-toity subdivision that would give me hives if I had to live there. And this is what they've done to it. To boot.....loads of homes for sale.

It occurs to me that some of the people who live in subdivisions like these don't appreciate their neighbors because the tenured streets look, well, too working or middle class. Developers will often come into older neighborhoods and "gentrify." Unfortunately, many of the "gentry" don't appreciate the original charm of the area and would like to anaconda-out anyone who doesn't earn at least three times the median income of the state.

So, no offense to anyone who might live there, but it's apparent to me why there are social tensions in Manassas. It's not just about race. It's about class.
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