Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Strip Club for Sale" -- A Farewell to the Ghetto in Norfolk, Virginia

This strip club for sale in Norfolk is the last reminder that its neighborhood was not always full of multi-million dollar beach homes.

Norfolk holds a warm place in my heart because I spent lots of time there visiting my grandparents back in the early 1980s. After many years, I returned to Norfolk this weekend to join the events surrounding the Velux 5 Oceans solo around the world sailing race and I could barely recognize some of my old haunts. Especially the beach.

My grandfather would take me and my little brother to the Norfolk City Beach to go fishing and take home cool debris like rusty howitzer shells left by the Navy during practice drills.

Most people don't think of a beach being in the ghetto, but this one was rough in the 80s. There used to be a run-down hot dog stand and a shuttered cement factory on the sand amidst surroundings you wouldn't walk through after dusk.

But things have changed now. The cement factory is gone and the area is packed with massive, Carolina-style beach homes -- every fifth one still under construction.

And the above strip club is the only reminder of the neighborhood's old self. I'd never seen a gentleman's club with painted pictures of the women you can expect to see inside. Her sad eyes have looked out over the neighborhood for 25 years -- her face, soon to be torn down to make way for perhaps a TGI Friday's or an ice cream shop.

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