Kaka’ako As We Knew It/ As We Know It

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 3.20.25 PM

As I was leaving Taste this afternoon, a man stopped me and asked if I would participate in a survey. I cheerily agreed and asked what the topic was.  “Community Issues in Kaka’ako” so I said ok shoot!, but when I told him I worked right here in Kaka’ako, the mood changed. Apparently we were on a “Do Not Ask” list, they were looking for people who just came to Kaka’ako “for play”.  I asked how these people could know or be invested in community issues of a community they themselves were not a part of. He was not amused, I walked away laughing. Just yesterday I sitting outside on the steps of the Refuge as a I watched 5 little boys on fixies decked out in Vans and Aloha Army ride by laughing and chatting as a white pick up truck with about a dozen men in the bed with no shirts on were also laughing and chatting as they drove the opposite way towards to Walk In Store to buy six packs. They are both Hawaiian. They both belong. Now it’s got me thinking about intergenerational exchange, gentrification, assimilation, revitalization, and the difference between change and progress.

Kakaako

Kaka‘ako As We Knew It , published in 2011 by Marsha Gibson, is about the multicultural neighborhood history of Kaka‘ako. It’s a combination of history and personal memories from some of Hawaii’s most notable citizens and celebrities sharing their experiences of growing up and living in “the crossroads of Honolulu” and how it’s changed.

The book begins with a breakdown of how Kaka‘ako was organized into “camps”, the areas were determined by the main streets and blocks, and the families lived in them. There are chapters that focus on recreation in the area, the schools, the neighborhood businesses, theaters and entertainments, and a whole chapter about living in Kaka‘ako during the war. What I liked reading about the most was Kaka‘ako’s reputation on the island and how its residents were often mistaken for underdogs ;)

Although it’s full of information, pictures and anecdotes, Kakaako As We Knew It isn’t very long, with about 156 pages including the notes.  As far as non-fiction history books go, it’s a pretty casual read. From the haunted South Street fire station to the strong Portuguese presence, these people stories tell of the importance of being a part of the community and how living in Kaka‘ako helped define them.

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 3.37.52 PM

Although it’s full of information, pictures and anecdotes, Kakaako As We Knew It isn’t very long, with about 156 pages including the notes.  As far as non-fiction history books go, it’s a pretty casual read. From the haunted South Street fire station to the strong Portuguese presence, these people stories tell of the importance of being a part of the community and how living in Kaka‘ako helped define them.

Kaka‘ako as we see it today is mostly comprised of pop up businesses, galleries, warehouses, and auto body shops and it’s still changing. Some want to see Kaka’ako as the next Waikiki/Brooklyn hybrid. What do you think?

62_Kakaako_01

16

Orginal Book Review 2011