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If I stay here, I will live on Queen Street
When I was a teenager, I used to come down to Queen Street every weekend. Before the conflation of Gap-like chain stores, it seemed so, so cool. The way I imagined living in New York would feel. Each storefront a gem, a passageway to ultimate streetcred: Music venues, divey restaurants, used book stores, vintage clothing boutiques, studios for recent grads of fashion design.

Years later, I work in that hood, and it is unrecognizable. Everything has been gentrified -even the hallowed Beverly Tavern has gone. Aside from a handful strongholds, it is homogenous consumerville.

Yesterday I got on the Queen streetcar, followed by a man in his late sixties - the kind of guy who looks like he's had a hard life. Tall and lean with a black overcoat, longish grey hair combed back with pomade, and the unentitled air ('tho not the smell) of someone who has been homeless for stretches.

He took hold of the railing beside me and looked out the window of the streetcar and cracked a big smile. "Queen Street," he said, to no one in particular. "My favourite street in Toronto.

"Well you have a good view of it right now!" I offered.

"All my friends, when they come here, they come down to Queen Street. If I stay here, I will live on Queen Street."

He got off just before Tri-Bell park. I watched him get off the streetcar and walk down the street, still smiling, but with an uncertain, expectant look on his face, like someone looking toward the kitchen for the waiter to come out with his order. And my heart broke, just a bit.

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2.24.2006
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post #1146
bio: adina
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2/24/2006
11:12

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