The northeast side of Richmond is pleasant architecturally. It is cut off from the wealthier side of town by I-64. I biked through quiet streets, but I could not help but try to ride quickly. Was I correct in not feeling safe?
This poor side of Richmond eventually crosses into Henrico County. On the highway towards Mechanicsville, things in Henrico are similarly depressed, but not in such an urban fashion.
Back in the other side of town, The War never quite goes away. Monument Avenue is a glorious piece of urban design, even if the cause it celebrates makes me uncomfortable. I have lots of relatives who fought for the South. We lost; get over it. It was a bad idea, and a bad cause.
There is a major monument to a Civil War hero every couple of blocks. This one is to Jefferson Davis. Its inscription reads:
FROM SUMTER TO APPOMATTOX, FOUR YEARS OF UNFLINCHING STRUGGLE AGAINST OVERWHELMING ODDS
Plus there is General Lee, of course.
To others in Richmond, The War has indeed gone away. Many of those monuments have a lot of bird droppings on them. VCU has a well received art school, and Richmond’s brick urban fabric make hipsters feel at home.
That evening, closer to downtown, I had one of the best Italian meals I have had outside of Italy. Mamma Zu looks rough inside and out. It was crowded on a Saturday night, people waiting for a table or a seat at the bar. No reservations, cash only, even though it was relatively expensive. The menu is on a blackboard.
From my seat at the bar, I could watch the preparation of the various dishes. While I had a delicious eggplant parmigiana, many others were ordering seafood.
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