A scene from the block party, circa late 1970s. Photo via New York Magazine
Through a combination of census data, sweet potato pie recipes and interviews with 62 block residents, both current and former, New York Magazine reporters attempted to gauge the essence of one block of Bed Stuy’s MacDonough Street, from Patchen Avenue to Malcolm X Boulevard. (more…)
South Bronx, South South Bronx…is the new Brooklyn, in the sense that rapacious waterfront development is set to make some people really rich, more people really angry and potentially change the face of an entire borough. (more…)
In honor of Brownstoner’s Steel Anniversary, we asked a number of longtime Brooklynites — from borough bigwigs to longtime Brownstoner readers, in neighborhoods from Cobble Hill to Flatlands — for their thoughts on how Brooklyn has changed since the site was founded in 2004.
Here’s their take on gentrification, Brooklyn’s international reputation, the real estate market, Atlantic Yards and more. (more…)
Brooklyn is known as the “borough of churches,” but it is gaining a reputation as a borough of books. Steeped in literary history, it is home to some of the greatest writers and characters in literature.
We all know the classics. But what are the best books that embody Brooklyn’s spirit today? On Friday, the Brooklyn Eagles, volunteer fundraisers for the Brooklyn Public Library, gave their answer. (more…)
The Gilmores, a family of five, all sleep together in one bed in their one-bedroom apartment in South Slope. It’s a queen-size bunk bed — two kids on top, two adults and a baby on the bottom — and they had it custom made. (more…)
A Brownstoner reader and longtime resident of Bushwick sent Brownstoner her thoughts about recent changes and gentrification in Bushwick:
“Just a quick email to see if you can help me understand what exactly is occurring in Bushwick. I have lived in Bushwick for what seems like forever and seen the changes that have happened here.
Yes I must agree some things are in the best interest of all who reside in this area but then again many of our longtime residents are forced to leave. Why you ask — well the rents are increasing rapidly and it is very difficult for the families to pay this. (more…)
Jazzy Jumpers perform at MGB Pops market. Photo via MGB Pops
Gentrification has not yet reached Brownsville but is lapping at its shores. Local residents are making a push to improve the area on their own terms, or gentrify “from within,” according to a story in Al-Jazeera. The idea is to improve employment, education, safety and quality of life before high rents arrive to push out longtime locals.
Efforts include job training, an outdoor marketplace with locally made goods and performances, a cafe and business incubator and street improvements:
MGB Pops, a seasonal outdoor marketplace at 425 Mother Gaston Boulevard, kicked off in fall 2014. In addition to locally grown produce and other locally made products, it features art and performances. Recent events have included a ribbon cutting for a street improvements such as seating and a happy hour.
Made in Brownsville offers architecture and design training and jobs to local youths.
A revitalization plan, spearheaded by the Brownsville Community Justice Center, will improve Belmont Avenue.
Dream Big Foundation’s Three Black Cats Cafe, set to open later this year on Belmont Avenue, will serve as a community hub and business incubator.
“We’re trying to disrupt the normal flow of things,” the story quotes one of the organizers of MGB Pops, Quardean Lewis-Allen, as saying. “If we can empower the residents with jobs and skills that will help them shape the neighborhood’s future, then they are less likely to be displaced when Brownsville suddenly becomes hip.” (more…)
Is gentrification a human rights violation? Yes, according to one Brooklyn-based organization recently profiled in The Atlantic. Right to the City is a national alliance of racial, economic, and environmental justice organizations which believes “the freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is…one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights,” in the words of famous anthropologist and geographer David Harvey, whom it quotes in its literature.
Formed in 2007, Right to the City list just five staff members on its website, but lists over 60 member affiliations, and 23 allied groups. A national alliance, the group’s work has focused on civic engagement, community organization, and various housing campaigns. Its office is on Atlantic Avenue.
Gentrification has often been critiqued for displacing long-time residents and businesses, escalating rents to record breaking highs, and rendering New York’s landscape corporate and soulless. On the other hand, it has also been credited with revitalizing once devastated neighborhoods, restoring New York’s economy from the brink of bankruptcy, and has been correlated with a significantly lowered crime rate.
“The most notorious urban helicopter parenting cultures have emerged from the most rapidly gentrifying areas,” writes Kathryn Jezer-Morton. “San Francisco and Brooklyn, two places where the cost of living has spiked especially dramatically, have become well known for their anxious, well-intentioned moms and dads.”
But can Brooklyn helicopter parenting really be blamed on gentrification?