I spent almost a year in Guatemala, so the neighborhood around Mt. Pleasant and Lamont all seems vaguely familiar to me. You hear the same tearful Duranguense music coming from cell phone ring tones and passing cars. And while Salvadoran tortillas smell just a little bit different than Guatemalan tortillas, you still take in lot of the same scents as you pass by the many Central American take-outs, with the odd Chinese take-out thrown in for good measure.
The thing that stood out about Mt. Pleasant is that it really does feel like a small town. And not just in the, “Hey, we’re a ‘village in the city,’ come gentrify us,” kind of way. There are bulletin boards where people post announcements, not just in coffee shops, but free-standing ones on the sidewalk. There’s a café called Dos Gringos whose walls are lined with pictures of kids from nearby schools. There’s even an underground pirate radio station lurking somewhere in the neighborhood, Radio CPR, whose DJ’s emerge from their secret station to play requests for birthday girls at Haydee’s, the local Mexican restaurant.