Thursday, September 01, 2011

Rust Belt Chic Alpharetta

No brain drain, no Rust Belt Chic. Expatriates are responsible for the preoccupation with Rust Belt culture. Just ask the Pierogies Diaspora:

A Youngstown, Ohio native, Hardaway moved to Alpharetta five years ago. Like many transplants, she missed some of the foods she had grown up with.

In her case, it was pierogies. ...

... "I took some samples to the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce. After tasting them, they said ‘you’re in,’ and they were practically fighting over the last one,” Hardaway said with a laugh.

At the festival, people standing in line at the barbecue booth next to hers would casually glance over to her booth, Hardaway said.

“A lot of them jumped out of that line and came over to me, saying stuff like ‘oh my gosh, I haven’t seen pierogies since I moved down here.’”

Apparently, north Fulton has a nucleus of relocated Northern and Midwest residents who, like Hardaway, are nostalgic about the familiar foods they left behind.

“They told me they’d been searching for pierogies for years. It was a thrill to listen to them,” Hardaway said.

Emphasis added. The strong interest in pierogies surprised Hardaway. You move away and discover your culture, your identity. This perspective can inform regional cooperation. Expats from Youngstown and Buffalo have a lot in common. Nowhere is that more clear than in a community like Alpharetta.

Something you took for granted and wasn't special is now a point of pride. A Rust Belt consciousness is developing. Return migration will get stronger (it's already stronger than just about anybody reckoned). Revenge of the shrinking city.

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