On Fridays this summer in Chicago I went to the Department of Human Services offices on 63rd Street to invite people to visit the farmers' market. Unless I had more outreach to do in Woodlawn or South Shore, I didn't ride my bike. The first time I rode over, I was encouraged by the security guard to bring it in and since I hated the time it took to lock up my bike and ostentatious display of bike-riding, I just started walking over from my office a couple blocks away. Timing was everything for this outreach: If you went at 9 when the office opened nobody was there, and any later than 11 and the same was true. The benefit of going at 10 meant it wasn't too hot yet and I'd still manage to grab a donut and iced coffee at Robust Coffee Lounge on my way back.
In the Times, Nelson Schwartz looks at the erosion of the middle class via indicators in the business world—stores like Loehmann's, J.C. Penney, and Sears and restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden have declined in the past few years while businesses like Barneys which sell high-end goods, and bargain basement chains like Dollar Tree have seen gains on opposite ends:
Douglas Coupland, who writes a fortnightly discussions about culture and money for the Financial Times, talked to assembly-line workers who were working at a Shanghai factory producing internet routers, and asked them what class they believed they belonged to. They were unable to provide him with an answer. This got Coupland thinking about how we might think about class in the future, and he put together a (facetious) list. (i.e. jeudism: "In the future, every day of the week will be a Thursday. We’re all working to the grave, and life will be one perpetual fast food job of the soul. The weekend? Gone. And we all pretty much know it in our bones.")
Priceonomics talked to a homeless man in San Francisco
named Nathaniel who has been on the streets for 15 years. Logan has been on this beat here in NYC
, but it's good to look at how the homeless navigate the streets in other cities.
The New York Times's 22,000-word piece about Dasani
, an 11-year-old who is part of an "invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America" has been making the rounds on the internet, and yes, is most definitely worth reading.