USA Today: Brooklyn Is Back

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    Yes, the hipness of Brooklyn has become so mainstream USA Today has a huge feature about it. To its credit, the story is not only about the hipster and gentrified areas of Brooklyn, but covers many aspects of the borough and its history since the 1940s.

    The Brooklyn the Dodgers left was unsophisticated and unfashionable, the butt of the kind of jokes now directed at New Jersey. The Brooklyn after that, from roughly 1970 through 1995, was synonymous with crime, drugs and welfare. But the Brooklyn where Kari Browne has opened a business and plans to raise a family has been transformed into what she calls “a brand.”

    The feature roughly sketches the history of Bushwick as a stand-in for the transformation of Brooklyn as a whole. The article interviews a typical Brooklynite, a type we almost never see portrayed in the media, a minority who grew up in a bad area and still lives there, and has a well-paying, professional job and a stable, middle-class life. It also covers artisanal pickles, rooftop farms, integrated playgrounds and the relentless pace of gentrification: “It’s stopped by nothing, not even the low-income housing projects that traditionally marked gentrification’s limits.” We have a quibble or two about some distortions caused by covering so much ground so quickly: Property values plunged in areas where minorities settled because of redlining, and it happened well before the fires and looting of the 1970s. Also, the article draws too sharp a distinction between gentrified areas and high-crime neighborhoods, where it sounds like little happens except shootings. What do you think? Is Brooklyn still cool? Click through to the article for a timeline of significant events in Brooklyn history.
    Brooklyn Rebounds as the New Bohemia [USA Today]
    Photo by greyvdm

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