NoDa's Secret History
Most residents of Charlotte are familiar with the basic history of NoDa's (née North Charlotte): its origin as a bustling mill village, troubles following the mills' closures, improbable rise as an artists' mecca, and its current state as Charlotte's hippest and most desirable neighborhood. In the face of the current spur of new construction, residents have become increasingly interested in preserving and honoring this history. It is in this spirit that the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Associaton's Back In the Day Committee decided that now is the right time to bring to light important facts about NoDa's arts renaissance in the 1990s and its implications for the neighborhood today.
Presented below are excerpts from correspondence between two real estate developers (we'll call them "B" and "S") that was found stashed inside of an old case of Hellmann's mayonnaise hidden behind a false wall in the former Newco property before its demolition.
We're going to be rich, or richer anyway! After scouting through sorry little towns down south for all these months, I finally found a place that's perfect for our real estate scheme. Pack your red tapestry bag and get on the next flight from New York to Charlotte. I'll explain when you get here.
September 15, 1988
I met with our investors and the lawyer today. They like the plan of gutting the mill village to make an "arts district" that will raise property values and pave the way for our condos. They will be setting up a trust to fund the project like they did in Ogdenville and Brockway. Details to follow. How are the renovations on the "gallery" spaces coming? Do the locals suspect anything? I'm sure they don't, but be sure to pass out plenty of free liquor at the crawl just in case any of them aren't totally brain dead.
May 21, 1994
I hope you're enjoying your time away from this stinkhole. Writing this from some dump called Pat's Time for One More. It should be Pat's Time for No More. But I digress. We came up with a name for the new deli that will honor these people's girth and is also a dig to the fact they think they live in a real city. Oh how I miss the Upper East Side!
June 19, 1995
I set up the first "drum circle" with the help of my old fraternity brothers last night. Chadwick balked at the idea of wearing the dreadlock wig, but I reminded him that I knew about what he'd done at the regatta on the Vineyard, and he came around. Several of the locals said they wanted to be a part of the circle next time. I just wish they didn't reek of patchouli and PBR! Alas, one must suffer for one's art ... if by "art" one means "lucre"!
September 27, 1996
I had the strangest interaction with a yokel yesterday. Get this; he was pronouncing the name of our property "no-dah", instead of "no-duh" (my little joke about the fools here). Trying to be upwardly mobile as always! I need to get out of here. Also, I've been continuing to make headway on our subway proposal – parking is virtually nonexistent (thanks to your great work with planning), and these rubes keep coming anyway. Soon the city will have to do something like the 2nd Avenue subway, and then our excavation enterprise will finally be out of the red.
April 1, 2010
I worry about one thing. If the saps here have actually bought into this idea that the arts are for everyone, we may lose control of the whole thing. Can you imagine if art starts spilling out of the galleries and into the streets? If they start thinking that people make the neighborhood and not us developers, we may never be able to get these weirdos to move out. They'll never figure out how to organize themselves though ... right?
...Hope you enjoyed your April Fool's, kids!