Since the 1970s, the storefront at 367 7th Avenue in Park Slope has been shuttered. In January of 2014, the whole building was on the market, asking $3,499,000.

It turns out the building belonged to a reclusive artist, Leo J. Bates, who used the retail space as his studio, a story in The New York Times over the weekend revealed. The neighborhood changed dramatically over the decades, but still the space remained locked. 


Photo courtesy of defak.

Jefferson Mao, an urban planning student who blogs at Flushing Exceptionalism, published a thought provoking piece entitled ‘Letter From Flushing: On Gentrification in an Unhip Place‘ last week on the urban planning site Next City.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Perhaps most strikingly, Flushing remains a terribly unhip place despite the influx of people and capital. The demographics and priorities of the residents are just different. The streets are vibrant, but they are lined with a barebones framework of cram schools, test prep services, cheap retail and cheap food. It is first and foremost a site of social advancement, and the reason it works is because each successive wave of people who move in respects this function of the neighborhood. They reinforce and participate in the infrastructure of mobility, and move out when their wants and needs change. It has been this way since the white middle class left during the ’70s, and it continues to inform the college-educated Asian kids of today. Though the appearance of the neighborhood has changed greatly, its overarching narrative has not.

Read the article — and the comments too. And let us know what you think below or at @QueensNYCity.