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The New York Times has fixed its gaze on Bedford Stuyvesant, one of the most popular destinations for urban gentrifiers dying to get a piece of New York City life. Located in central Brooklyn, the neighborhood is perhaps most famous for being the setting of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing and for having been the stomping grounds of Biggie and Jay-Z. Once the largest African-American community in the country, the 2010 Census saw the Black population drop from 75  percent ten years ago to barely sixty percent; the section of the neighborhood west of Throop Avenue is now less than fifty percent Black.

The article features a few soundbites from the classic gentrifier couple that is profiled in these articles: came from a predominately White suburban area, grateful for the diversity, no mention of the lower-class displacement that has occurred.

From 2000 to 2010, Bed Stuy’s White population “soared 633 percent — the biggest percentage increase of any major racial or ethnic group in any New York City neighborhood.” Many homes in the area sell for prices upwards of one million dollars. And down the street from the Sal’s Bizarre featured in Lee’s film is now an Italian restaurant that sells pies with smoked salmon and cream cheese for twenty bucks.

Many Black homeowners have been able to remain in the Stuy, though some have chosen to seek greener pastures down South; renters have not fared so well, as a significant number have been priced out of the place they call home. Bed Stuy is still considerably less than other trendy BK ‘hoods, such as the neighboring Williamsburg, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene, but the new tide is still a bit much for lower-income resident.

I live in Bed Stuy and the change over the past few years has been mind-blowing. While I appreciate the improvements to the subway and new dining options, I resent the fact that there had to be an economic and racial changing of the guard to make it happen. I also worry that the neighborhood will lose much of the Black cultural epicenter feel that drew me in originally and if I will ever be able to afford to raise a family here. While some of the new neighbors are wonderful people, there are some very uncomfortable feelings to manage when it comes to them (especially those who came with suitcases packed with entitlement).Ultimately, people of all races have to take responsibility for the challenges that left Bed Stuy open to being gentrified in the first place, but my people are the ones who have so much to lose when it comes to this new era of urban living. And so it is with Chicago, Philly, DC….

Is your area being gentrified? How do you feel? Are you grateful for improvements? Enjoying the diversity? Feeling marginalized? What’s your take, Clutchettes and Clutch Gents?

 

 

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  • Constance

    YES I was born & raised in Bedstuy, YES I am a home owner of a lovely BrownStone, and YES I also have tenants that are non African American and some who are.

    Now I love how my Stuy is becoming but I hate the fact that it took people who are not African America to make this fact go into work. 

    Let me example how this has happen, when growing up you would never see cops walking around, ever, making sure things were safe. You could notify  the police department that you had a building on your block that has nothing but drugdealers selling there. But did the cops come, no, and trust our Block Associations were on top of that, but they didn’t come still.

    And once a sprinkle of White people moved in an they got attack, like what happen on Nostrane Av, the cops are all over, walking down streets and staying near trainstations. They aslo now decided to locking up every dealer and bad ass boys running around that we complained about for years. 

    Now Bedstuy crime rate has dropped, making the neighborhood now safer dnd more inviting for all. 

    So if cops would have came out for us in the beginning the neighborhood would look like how it does now. And most of the stores and resturants that has popped up are black own. One of Peaches owner is Black, Tin Shop, Wine Therapy, the House of Art, and a whole look more.   

    I’m just happy now that Bedstuy is what I knew it could always be. 

  • I studied for my MA degree in Chicago, and after observing/working in various communities, I have to say that gentrification has a positive effect on low-income, disadvantaged communities. Most low-income neighborhoods are crime-ridden because of the lack of jobs, transportation, and education that are available. When a neighborhood is gentrified, the property values go up and the community has more funds to invest in and develop an area. Furthermore, both professional middle-class Blacks as well as Whites participate in gentrification. We want safe neighborhoods, good schools, and resources at our reach and don’t mind investing more to achieve these things, despite those who can’t afford it due to personal choices they’ve made that have affected their finances (ex: having children one can’t afford to raise, not getting a college degree, choosing crime and delinquency over school, etc.). It’s not a race issue, it’s an economic one.

  • Erica

    IT is interesting to see the demographics of a neighborhood change overtime. I find that everything is constantly in transition. I keep a close eye on City Maps to watch and see the stores and businesses to see how everything unfolds.

  • Vellieux

    You say this, ” the section of the neighborhood west of Throop Avenue is now less than fifty percent Black.” Umm, have you checked the Latino population? I believe that section borders Bushwick which is also gentrifying.

    I would never live in Bed-Stuy. As a young artist and Brooklyn transplant, I would not want to be mistaken for a low income local. The reality of street harassment, negative landlord or property management assumptions, ill treatment and concerns of personal safety are also on my list. My time in Bushwick proved that Bed-Stuy was a no go. Bushwick and Bed Stuy are great for my white gentrifying friends but not me. I currently live on a very quiet and understated block in Greenpoint by the waterfront. I hop in my car to get to the industrial area of Bushwick. I find the monolithic depiction of the “gentrifier” as white to be aggravating as there are many non-white people who fit the bill. Neighborhoods change every generation or two.

    After growing up in East Hampton, New York in a upper class black family from England, I have nothing in common with African Americans and cannot change myself, culture and identity to. I hate how so many articles on the web assume that all black people have this singular culture that dictates taste and social class .