Sunday, December 1, 2013

I’ve been thinking more about the concepts of change and traditions in my city life and the importance of preserving and encouraging the humane and the personal. We don’t see the bread man anymore, but a few blocks away our hole-in-the-wall verdulería survives, attracting neighbors with fresh fruits and vegetables from the Mercado Central. Next door is a small dry cleaners, a beauty shop and, on the corner, the handy almacén where everything from dairy products to detergents can be found on its cramped shelves.

When a large company presented a plan to construct a mall in the neighborhood, I joined the neighborhood association’s campaign to put a stop to the mall. We knew it would change the character of our residential enclave, already surrounded by a concrete forest of towering apartment buildings. It would also put an end to the small shops. Our door-to-door, grass roots campaign prevailed over big money. In this fast-growing metropolis, dotted with construction cranes in every direction, those of us in older, established areas continue to raise our voices as to the importance of maintaining a sense of neighborhood.

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