West Bank offers U alternate culture

Nathan Hall

The West Bank area is a completely different beast compared to other parts of campus. And we like it just fine that way, thank you very much.

That is the verdict of West Bank residents based on a casual poll conducted there last week.

The results of a University Relations poll conducted last winter on why University students do not frequent the West Bank area as often as other campus-area neighborhoods are set to be released at the end of June. Nevertheless, many of those who work and live on the West Bank don’t much care.

“We have so much more culture than the East Bank does,” said Everett Estby, a cook at The Wienery. “The difference here is that this one is real and that one’s fake.”

Estby said he thinks that “real people live here who are more sincere.” Estby said one reason students choose not to frequent the neighborhood is that “they might be scared since there’s more crime here.

“Some people see this area as dirty and perhaps they don’t want to associate with the lower classes,” Estby said.

A summary five-minute stroll down the street resulted in witnessing the following: a mannequin wearing an American flag and a Darth Maul mask, a bespectled gutter punk with jewelry fashioned from severed Kewpie doll parts, a two-man street brawl that warranted six police officers, a Somali dance club sign written in magic marker, a sloppy heavy metal band’s encore and a televised soccer match being watched by the entire staff of a take-out Ethiopian restaurant.

“There’s quite a difference just because of the setup,” said Solomon, the co-owner of World Beat Video, who declined to provide his last name. “The East Bank has all these fixed entities like frat houses and what have you Ö the University only became part of the West Bank much more recently, so that’s only 30 years here versus over 100 years of history there.”

Those interviewed said repeatedly the West Bank remains less dependent on students than any other part of campus, which they view as positive.

Midwest Mountaineering assistant manager John Wanshura said “There isn’t a lot of subsidized student housing here unless you count Grand Marc.

“There are more bums here and suburban kids are scared by that,” he said.

“It’ll never be the East Bank as the freeway meshes together the poor, the downtown businesses, the University and sporting events Ö Nobody could market to all of that even if they tried.”

Nathan Hall welcomes comments at [email protected]