Sunday, October 14, 2007


Two contrasting opinion pieces in today's Burlington Free Press about a Vermont that's going, going, gone? What kinds of values are important to you? You decide.

Burlington's Oasis Diner has been sold to new owners who want to make it a New York-style deli; the author bemoans the city's gentrification and its growing class divide.
I love Burlington and Vermont in general because it is unique, and it loves to be so. Or so it seemed. There is a trend making its way through Burlington and Chittenden County. It has culminated with the sale of the Oasis Diner. I began thinking about how when Oasis closes there will be no place in Burlington to get an old-fashioned, blue collar breakfast. No place where the waitresses still call you "sweetheart," or "dear" no matter how old you are or how well they know you.
The problem is, Burlington itself is undergoing the same transformation. Burlington is being sold to the highest bidders and being turned into a New York-style city. From the palatial homes popping up all over South Burlington to the Boston-area condo prices in Burlington itself, the city is transforming into a pale version of what it was.

It is becoming more and more difficult to live here on a modest salary. The diversity of people that made Burlington so unique and captivating is quickly thinning. High housing costs are pushing many people to the outskirts of Chittenden County. This is all fine if you don't mind Burlington becoming another Boston suburb like Andover, or like White Plains in New York.
The writer might want to consider supporting the
World Citizens Party of Burlington, Citizens for a Liveable City, and Waterfront Watchdogs.

On the other hand...

A flatlander transplant writes a bare-knuckled rant about nudity in sin sick, soul-less Brattleboro and its effects on his Vermont family values.
Just over a month ago my wife and children came home from a ride to Brattleboro and told me they saw something strange, a naked man on a bike. I thought they must have been mistaken but I was assured by my children that the man was in fact naked. And then the newspaper and television reports come to find out it's legal to be naked in the city of Brattleboro. Maybe it's just how I was raised, (which to my kids is known as the olden days) but running around naked in the streets in public would have landed you a free ride to a hospital for some psychological evaluation when I was a kid in Connecticut. But not today in Brattleboro, where I witnessed for myself on Friday in a Burger King parking lot a naked man get out of his car in broad daylight and walk to the trash can and throw a minuscule amount of paper away.
I always thought that someday I would move to Vermont, then in 2000 I bought some land in Grafton and started to build our family home. But with judges letting convicted child abusers and pedophiles out after serving little or no time because of the lack of rehabilitation available in our prison system for them, and the state of Vermont being one of four states left not to pass Jessica's law, seemingly without a single care about our children and the victims, and the sick little city of Brattleboro and it's people who allow this, and its City Council members who condone this, I used to think being called a flatlander was insulting, but now I could not be more proud of it. I am sick of the state in which we live.
The article has received quite a few comments already. One person correctly writes that public nudity is completely legal in Bratt and ... in the whole state. Another's is..
Brattleboro is simply getting a clue and realizing there's nothing "indecent" about the natural human form, and is trying to catch up with reality. A reality which most of Europe realized long ago. They laugh at our insanely puritan and conservative view on the human body. And our hypocrisy... since it's ok to show blood and guts and people getting their heads blown off, but show so much as a nipple and somehow our children's eyes are burned out and they're going to hell.


  1. It's happened to neighbourhoods in Seattle and in San Francisco, and to the Pijp in Amsterdam. Poor people move to cheap neighbourhoods. Often these are students, artists, immigrants, basically the people that will make a neighbourhood colourful and interesting. And once that transformation has reached critical mass, the neighbourhood becomes interesting to yuppies, who move in in droves, drive up the real estate prices, and by doing so chase out all the people that made the place interesting in the first place.

    It's a fascinating process to watch -- if you don't happen to be in the middle of all this yourself. Take for instance the Negen Straatjes in Amsterdam: a very popular neighbourhood to shop, because it's full of second hand clothing stores, antique shops, classical barber shops, musty book stores, and so on. But because people like to shop there, big chains move in, immediately killing off exactly that what made shoppers go there in the first place.

  2. Bravo...The transplant from CT should pack his bags and move back!!!

    End body suppression, get naked.

    Remember: your body IS NOT A CRIME!

    -Owen Mulligan

  3. I also have noticed the change in Burlington. When I lived up in Winooski a few years ago, not only did I notice that I had to work 50+ hours a week at a decent-paying job just to break even on living expenses... but the whole area really does seem to be losing it's soul to urban homogenization. Could the NEK be the last refuge where the artsy, bohemian types are forced to move to?


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