The snow had nearly melted in Durham, and the warmth lured people to the benches and chairs along Ninth Street.

On a bench in front of Market Street coffee, I overhead a two college women discussing whether it is safe for Duke and UNC students to travel to rival turf to watch a basketball game. Near Dain’s Place, people prayed at a table before eating their lunch. And outside the Ox & Rabbit, a man playing a Fender Squire guitar through a tiny amp.

I peeked around the corner where a copper frog stands in front of Native Threads. There, a man rested, content to be quiet and bask in the sun.

Inside Hunky Dory, a classic record store/head shop, a patron listened on headphones to We’re Only In It for the Money, an album by the Mothers of Invention, released on March 4, 1968.

It reminded me of how Ninth Street is changing: The east side of Ninth is strikingly different from the mega-development and national franchises on the west side that are changing the essence of the street: quintessential Durham, funky, a little gritty and (almost) without pretense.