Author Topic: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II  (Read 16869 times)

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Offline roundcorners

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In my ongoing efforts in trying to define, quantify and articulate what a great neighborhood is; I have recently tested a few hypotheses from my last posts.

http://www.talkirvine.com/index.php?topic=1143.0

One of my key points there was this notion of having a diversity of people of all ages within a certain neighborhood. For this example forget Long Beach, and I’ll use something more relevant to Irvine.

The wife and I have been hanging out at Walnut Village Center and across the street at Heritage Plaza a lot recently. When shopping, working out, running errands, coffee we would actually go out of our way and make the extra effort to drive 10 minutes more; versus shopping at Woodbury Town Center.

The difference even just within 10 minutes from each other in Irvine is dramatic; and this is what I was trying to allude to about the feel of Long Beach.

At every other Trader Joes, Long Beach, Torrance, UTC the workers just seem to be nicer and friendlier. Now TJs workers are already known to be customer friendly, but really walk into the TJs at Woodbury and go to the one on Walnut right afterwards; and you’ll know what I mean. For time sakes here I’ll just summarize:

Walnut
1) You’ll see a lot of Irvine Old-Timers residences; if you ask them they’ll tell you they have been living in Irvine for 30+ years.
2) You can see a lot of them socializing and catching up around the plaza; shopping together, having coffee; and this is important – doing it leisurely. Sure most of them during the day look like they are retire but that is the point.
3) You can easily go up to any and start a conversation; and I’ll almost get a few every time that someone will stop and ask about the kid.
4) The sample booth at the Walnut TJs looks something like a impromptu social gathering; if you want feel like going to a party anytime just visit that TJs.

Contrast to the Woodbury TJs

Woodbury
1) You’ll see mainly young families and single professionals. Who have recently moved here or don’t live in the neighborhood (Lakeforest, for just work in Irvine).
2) Not much socializing; everyone keeps to themselves and not much eye contact. Everyone is in a rush to get in and out; get what they need and leave.
3) I feel awkward every time try to start a conversation with anyone there; the atmosphere is not a communal shopping experience.
4) The sample booth is one of the stingiest TJs ever. They stop serving coffee after 10, and they look at you funny if you take a sample. Once you do, you better walk away fast.

I think here are a few things going on here; again sorry about the list format:

Older Neighborhoods
1) Usually have people who are in their second half of life where they are “giving” away dispensing time, energy, wisdom and resources versus accumulating it during their younger years.
2) They usually know what is more important in life; taking the time for each other and relationships.
3) They are usually in a financially stable position to leisure and not worry about paying the mortgage, bills, going back to work or closing the next job.
4) They have grown children so their time and energy is freed up for other people around time.

A thriving neighborhood needs a diverse population of mixed ages. That was my whole point about Woodbury where most people here are young families or singles that are:

1) Completely “selfish” in focusing on simply surviving and raising a family.
2) Are in the fierce driven stage of life where you just might have to step on your neighbor to get ahead.
3) Sacrifice relationships with family and friends just to get ahead.
4) Time, energy and focus is simply just to stay afloat financially.

The next you’re getting off Culver on the 5; duck inside TJs in Walnut Village; and say hello to Ann. She is the lady serving samples there. Watch the gracefulness of her demeanor and feel the pace of her words. You’ll almost feel yourself calming down and unwinding your spirit. Feel and look around how people are actually smiling and seeing each other. Feel the warmth and presence of those around you that is not felt in younger neighborhoods.
Los Angeles...  Android...  Happy  ~RC

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Offline Talyssa

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 01:15:47 PM »
Ah the 'old' OC vs the 'new' OC.   I am not a very sociable person in general but its really pleasant to have little casual conversations with people around you.   I ran into my mom's neighbor at the store the other day and she recognized me, I helped her carry some large items she was struggling with up to the cash register, we chatted about the annual halloween potluck.    Its nice and my parents are nice older people who watch the neighbor kids on occassion and let them swim (with a parent present for hte younger kids) and my mom keeps a stash of children's programs on DVD to pop in whenever kids wander in.    My mom's neighbor keeps bringing her food in an attempt to convert her to veganism.   Its nice but I don't know if I woudl participate as much if I lived there.  Right now we get home, slip inside, shut the door, and if we see our next door neighbors exchange incredibly awkward 'hi's before we flee back inside.  So I mean, we're certainly part of the problem.    And its not like we are frantically participating in the rat race, it just somehow feels uncomfortable to talk to your neighbors - I mean, you have to LIVE wiht these people, do you want to be friends too?

Possibly its generational, rather than an age thing -- i mean this generation might act the same when we are 60 too.   We are used to having a lot of sources of friendships, and we form and maintain our friendships based on personality and common hobbies -- whereas in the old days (pre-internet!?) you formed  friendships partially based just on proximity.   I mean, the idea that people are restricted to dating just the people they meet due to coincidences of timing and proximity is awful to me.    And in terms of casual day to day chatting, i have friends that I might exchange a few words throughout the day with via text message or IM.  so its not like I feel totally isolated if I don't chat at TJ's

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Offline whatever

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 01:43:57 PM »
At every other Trader Joes, Long Beach, Torrance, UTC the workers just seem to be nicer and friendlier. Now TJs workers are already known to be customer friendly, but really walk into the TJs at Woodbury and go to the one on Walnut right afterwards; and you’ll know what I mean. For time sakes here I’ll just summarize:

Speaking as someone who has been to just about every Trader Joes in Southern California from Santa Barbara to San Diego, I have no idea what you are talking about.  I have never encountered a rude or unfriendly or unhelpful staff member at any of those stores.

It would be more relevant if you would compare and contrast the Ralph's, Von's/Pavilion's and Albertson's employees to any of the non-supermarket union employees.

Offline whatever

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 01:47:02 PM »
Ok, so you were talking about the patrons and not the employees.  What can I say?  I am a product of Irvine schools and have poor reading comprehension skills even though I excel on multiple choice exams.

I really can't read such long blocks of text at one time.

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Offline Irvine2Irvine

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 01:53:59 PM »
I have been going to Heritage Plaza and Walnut Village for 15 years now since I live right next to it.

The TJ at Walnut village usually has pleasant people working there and I like going there.  I have not been to TJ in Woodbury so no opinions yet.

The Ralphs at Heritage Plaza is HORRIBLE.  The cashiers are rude and selection is underwhelming.  The Ralphs at WD is great.  The place is clean, much larger with better selection of just about everything, especially the deli.  Another huge plus is that WB and Tustin Ranch Ralphs carry USDA Choice beef for same price as USDA Select that every other Ralphs carries around the town.

Many of other shops in Heritage and Wanut are getting rather old and need some updates.  Also, it can get very crowded and sometime have to fight for parking or walk.  Woodbury seems to have plenty of parking and is uncrowded, for now.

I haven't moved to Woodbury yet, but enjoy going to the Woodbury center.  All new without the crowd, unlike Diamond Jamboree which I avoid like a plague.

As far as older neighborhood, in my case, El Camino Real.  There really are three major different demographics living there.
Some are older homeowners who have been there 30+ years mostly with houses that still have many original features.  Many are younger family moving into the neighborhood with little kids and they are the ones who fix up the house and make the neighborhood look better..  Others are renters as there are a lot of rental houses and the houses look tired as you can expect from rental house.

In my experience, the neighbors and their friendliness really depends on the individuals.  I really can't group them as certain demographic being more friendly or not.  Mostly we just exchange simple pleasantries and have simple conversations.  The neighbors who we "hang out" with are the boy scout parents since we do many activities together.


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Offline whatever

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 02:26:32 PM »
The TJ at Walnut village usually has pleasant people working there and I like going there.  I have not been to TJ in Woodbury so no opinions yet.

The Ralphs at Heritage Plaza is HORRIBLE.  The cashiers are rude and selection is underwhelming.  The Ralphs at WD is great.  The place is clean, much larger with better selection of just about everything, especially the deli.  Another huge plus is that WB and Tustin Ranch Ralphs carry USDA Choice beef for same price as USDA Select that every other Ralphs carries around the town.

Many of other shops in Heritage and Wanut are getting rather old and need some updates.  Also, it can get very crowded and sometime have to fight for parking or walk.  Woodbury seems to have plenty of parking and is uncrowded, for now.

I haven't moved to Woodbury yet, but enjoy going to the Woodbury center.  All new without the crowd, unlike Diamond Jamboree which I avoid like a plague.


Funny, because the last time I went to the Ralph's in Woodbury, the cashier was rude and non attentive.  I won't blame the store because she was just one person, actually the only person, working in the check-out line.  The Ralph's on Culver is old and dirty but I found the people nice.  I almost never buy meat or produce at any of the major supermarkets so it doesn't bother me if the quality is not up to par.


Offline IrvinePilot

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 03:00:52 PM »
Anecdotally, I would agree that the staff at TJ at WVC seems more talkative and interested in what the customers are shopping for than the staff at TJ in WB; but I’m not willing to drive farther to go the TJ at WVC for that shopping experience.  I shop where it's most convenient for me; lack of a bonding experience at TJ doesn’t bother me at all. 

Offline irvinehomeowner

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 03:23:23 PM »
RC:

I think you need patience. Nothing happens immediately... of course the newest 'hood and the newest shopping center will be like that... but that will change with time.

In 2020, when we are talking about the Great Park Trader Joes... you will think Woodbury is paradise.

Life is a journey... not a destination... it's very hard to contrast one stop with another... each one has its pros and cons and you either live with it... or move on.
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Offline irvinehomeowner

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 03:55:31 PM »
RC:

I think you need patience. Nothing happens immediately... of course the newest 'hood and the newest shopping center will be like that... but that will change with time.

In 2020, when we are talking about the Great Park Trader Joes... you will think Woodbury is paradise.

Not sure I agree with this advice. Instead of waiting 10 years and hoping Woodbury changes to your preferences, wouldn't it make more sense just to move to Walnut/Woodbridge where the preferred age diversity probably already exists? Some things can happen immediately, especially if you are renting.
You out-of-contexted me... my last sentence says as much:
Quote
Life is a journey... not a destination... it's very hard to contrast one stop with another... each one has its pros and cons and you either live with it... or move on.
Once you go 3-car garage... your junk can never go back.
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Offline irvinehomeowner

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 05:00:06 PM »
Sorry for out-of-contexting you. To summarize our positions:

IHO: you either live with it... or move on.
BBE: move on.
Ahh... I see... you are correct.

Mine was more passive... because I always believe in choice. But your position is probably more accurate.
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Offline USCTrojanCPA

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 08:20:41 PM »
You out-of-contexted me... my last sentence says as much:
Quote
Life is a journey... not a destination... it's very hard to contrast one stop with another... each one has its pros and cons and you either live with it... or move on.
Sorry for out-of-contexting you. To summarize our positions:

IHO: you either live with it... or move on.
BBE: move on.

I see what you did there.
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Offline traceimage

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2010, 08:55:03 PM »
You know what I don't like about older people at the grocery store? They pay with CHECKS. Who the heck pays with checks these days? It takes soooo long for them to write out their check, and then have it processed by the checker. Have they not heard of credit cards? Check cards? Cash?

Yes, older people have more time to ponder what is important in life, but that is because they are not dragging a whiny toddler around Trader Joe's and then rushing home to put said whiny toddler down for a nap. I don't think people in our phase of life are necessarily more selfish, but instead we are more single-minded in terms of day-to-day responsibilities. We don't have time to stop and smell the roses. It would be nice if we did. But I really think I would prefer a younger community, with kids my son's age for him to play with, rather than a 'hood of check-writers driving 2 miles an hour in their Buicks.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 08:59:16 PM by traceimage »

Offline Irvine2Irvine

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 09:27:02 PM »
You know what I don't like about older people at the grocery store? They pay with CHECKS. Who the heck pays with checks these days? It takes soooo long for them to write out their check, and then have it processed by the checker. Have they not heard of credit cards? Check cards? Cash?

Yes, older people have more time to ponder what is important in life, but that is because they are not dragging a whiny toddler around Trader Joe's and then rushing home to put said whiny toddler down for a nap. I don't think people in our phase of life are necessarily more selfish, but instead we are more single-minded in terms of day-to-day responsibilities. We don't have time to stop and smell the roses. It would be nice if we did. But I really think I would prefer a younger community, with kids my son's age for him to play with, rather than a 'hood of check-writers driving 2 miles an hour in their Buicks.

Sometimes the crankiest people are the older people too.  Of course, nicest people are older people also.  As to which kind ends up on your street, you will found out after you move into the street.

Offline traceimage

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 03:33:32 PM »
So I've been thinking about this a little more. RC, I'm directing all this at you. Normally I wouldn't bother for someone I don't even know, but I think you are a good guy (and you come across as such a tortured soul these days) and I want to get through to you, so I'm gonna try just once.

You say that "a thriving neighborhood needs a diverse population of mixed ages." I wonder, what do you mean by "thriving?" I think in most places, you are not going to find a lot of older people living with a lot of younger people, simply because most of the younger people can't afford to live where older, longer-term residents live. Older people tend to have worked longer, are richer, and have probably owned their home longer. For instance, and I'm just making up these numbers, maybe an older couple bought their house 20 years ago for $300k. Maybe it's now worth $800k. How many young families can afford that?

In my life stage, I would actually prefer to live in a place where most people are around my age. For example, in some neighborhoods in Aliso Viejo, there are lots of young families, and when you drive around, you see kids playing on the street, etc. Their aren't a lot of older people, but the neighborhoods are very vibrant and lively. Why wouldn't you consider this to be "thriving?" Sure, it might be nice to have some older people around for diversity, but wouldn't you rather have more kids in the neighborhood for your son to play with? Even if their parents are rushing around trying to work, take care of their kids, do errands, and don't have a lot of time to sit and ponder the meaning of life. We will have plenty of time to sit and think when we are older...and you know what? We'll MISS these younger days when we were running around like crazy taking care of our little kids. (That's what every older person wistfully tells me.) Right now, enjoy the hustle and bustle, because it goes fast.

I think it's nice that you want to make friends, but it is hard to make deep, meaningful friends...in ANY neighborhood. Not just young neighborhoods. Not just Irvine. Your neighborhood is not the only place you can make friends. People who live near you don't necessarily share your values or have anything in common with you. I've been reading all your posts about neighborhoods, and how you want to make deep and meaningful friendships with your neighbors. That sounds good, but I think it simply does not happen that often...again, in ANY neighborhood. In ANY city. You're down on Irvine now, that's cool, but I think you really over-generalize and stereotype Irvine residents...especially Asians. Maybe you've had some bad experiences with Asian women, I don't know. But when you talk about the "Asian Dragon Lady," (referring to the OCR post), that is so stereotypical, it's just appalling. What would you say if a white guy said all that stuff? Asian women are your mothers, sisters, etc, and it comes across as self-loathing when an Asian man pigeonholes Asian women the way you did. As you know, I have an Asian husband, but I'd never want him to talk about Asian women like that, even though he is married to a phenomenal and terrific non-Asian like me (hehe). Don't let a couple of materialistic, overly aggressive bad apples spoil your view of everyone. It's too easy to become bitter and blame the city of Irvine for your problems. I hope you won't become like that. I don't care if you choose to live in Irvine or not, but trashing a city or a group of people all the time because of unrelated personal issues - it only leads to ugliness and unhappy feelings.

I hope you find the neighborhood you like, but at the end of the day, your neighborhood is just where you live. It's not the ultimate determination of your social life. Maybe you'll have cool neighbors, maybe you won't...but if not, you can make friends in other places. I meet a lot of people at the park, and at those classes through the city. You start to see the same people around, which is nice. And isn't that what a thriving neighborhood is all about?

I really hope you find what you are looking for.

Offline irvinehomeowner

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Re: Median Age and the Quality of a Neighborhood - Meaninful Relationshps II
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 04:41:10 PM »
Is it possible to only have meaningful relationships with people who don't live in your neighborhood?

I think that describes my life.

Keep your friends close, keep strangers closer... heh.
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