I strategically moved to South End in June 2013 to be near a new job. Once I got here I worked hard to do all of the South End-y activities I could. I rode the light rail into uptown for work events. I walked to The Common Market for cups of Sexy Power coffee and bottles of wine. I met friends during art crawls and at breweries.
Years later, I found out that I might actually technically live in Dilworth. So began my neighborhood identity crisis.
The Google didn’t help.
City-data.com labels my area of confusion: “South End (Dilworth) neighborhood in Charlotte, North Carolina (NC), 28203, 28204.” No hint of separation.
Neighborhoodlink.com features conflicting maps of Historic South End…
…and of Dilworth. Note the disparity along the South Boulevard boundary moving toward 277, in particular.
Then I noticed two conflicting signs on the “Dilworth side” of South Boulevard, about equidistant from the busy street.
Near the intersection of East/South Boulevards:
Near the intersection of McDonald Avenue/South Boulevard:
I wanted to know: Where did I belong? In my mind, South End and Dilworth function as parallel universes, and I wanted to know which one I was a part of.
Where South End has Publix (out-of-town business), Dilworth has Harris Teeter (local business).
Where South End has a pulsating, high-rise apartment vibe, Dilworth has more of a mature, familial home feel.
The only obvious synchronicity is South Boulevard and the fact that both neighborhoods contain a Bulldog Beer & Wine location. So where does one end and the next begin?
The official answer
This is the official map of South End’s municipal services district, according to Varian Shrum, Community Engagement Consultant at Charlotte Center City Partners.
That white line running parallel to the right of the Blue Line rail route is South Boulevard. The hilarious part of all of this is that my apartment is basically smack dab on a boundary line.
My identity crisis continues.
But really, I identify with both neighborhoods. Maybe I can’t choose (or even figure out) where I come from, but I can choose where I go. Bakersfield in Dilworth for National Margarita Day? Yes. Junction 1504 in South End for a “Bachelor” viewing party? For sure.
And if you ask me where I live, I’ll just say: “Charlotte.”