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Letters from America
Charlotte, North Carolina's South End Neighborhood Is America's Itaewon
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
Charlotte, North Carolina's South End Neighborhood in the Uited States
If you venture over to Charlotte’s South End of historic streets, celebrity sightings, and quaint townhouses, you might be intrigued. Upon wandering along the manicured tree-lined streets to hear the thumping of the backbeat of today’s youth culture, Blackpink, Seo Taiji and Boys or BTS. Kids and adults dressed in Chimmy or NCT merch, EXO earmuffs, Super Junior sweats and t-shirts, and even sporting Koya phone protectors. Where are we, Itaewon? Not quite; we are about 7,097 miles or 11,421.51 kilometers to the west. But it might be difficult to tell the difference.

Turn a few corners and come upon an eatery with a line out the door. It stretches down the street, wrapping around the block. The restaurant, Seoul Food Meat Company, and the eatery beside it Let’s Meat, both Korean BBQ style joints with K-Pop blaring, neon lights, Soju being served by the pitcher and young hipsters and high rollers, filling their bellies with Yukgaejang, Bibimbap, Bulgogi, Kimchi, Korean Fried Chicken and more. The atmosphere is electric, the area is chic and popular, with fancy cars and uber-trendy clothes.

You feel as if you stepped out of your door and onto the streets of the Itaewon neighborhood, the world’s newest cool. Peer into one of the million-dollar townhouses and expect to see, on one of the LG - 75” Class NanoCell 80 Series LED 4K UHD smart webOS TV screens an episode of Run On. Or maybe Lovestruck in the City starring Kim Ji-won and Ji Chang-wook, Private Lives, or one of the other ultra-popular Korean dramas that leave the American girls drenched in tears. There hasn’t been a movement like this since the Beatles got bowl cuts.

But it’s not just the girls that are intrigued; Seoul Food is my favorite restaurant. The Bulgogi Kim Bap is my favorite dish washed down with Lemon Soju. It is an out-of-body experience, and they even have a dog park so we can bring our rambunctious mutts to get filthy and chase each other around. A few times, I was sure I bumped into Bae Suzy, Song Hye-kyo, Park Shin-hye, and Lee Min-ho.

As you drive through the glitz and glamour, the night comes alive with the thumping of dance halls and nightclubs, glittering lights, street markets here and there, and young people on every corner. It is where the young can be found, like glittering vampires, after the sun disappears behind the shimmering buildings of uptown.

There are layers of makeup, hair every color on the spectrum, dripping in jewelry, some in costume, others in Bvlgari, Wings of Rome, or Harry Winston’s Winter Wonderland, they move about, seemingly in rhythm with the K-pop echoing through the charming streets.

Anything Korean in Charlotte is the place to be. It is emo, dynamic, and influencing an entire generation. Wake up in Charlotte, or maybe it is Itaewon. The only way you might be able to tell the difference is the weather.

Greg Evans
Associate Director of Communications
King University
1350 King College Road
Bristol, TN 37620
Gaevans1@king.edu
Cell: (615) 785-4321



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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