Thursday, November 6, 2014
Text of my letter to Borough President Eric Adams today: "I am a resident of Stoddard Place, a quiet street I know you know, hard by Empire Boulevard. I am very interested, intrigued and mostly concerned about what happens there, as are all my neighbors. We turned out in huge numbers for the last meeting at Medgar Evers, which spilled out onto the street and was then canceled. I attended the re-scheduled meeting, at SUNY Downstate, far from the ground zero in this matter. On the CB site, the announced address for the meeting was 450 Clarkson with a click for details link. In the link, it was revealed that the actual entrance was at 395 Lenox Road. Wouldn't want to make it easy for people to find. Distance and difficulty was reflected in the attendance; the auditorium was not close to full. As I recall, the link also displayed a bold red line reading "This Meeting is Convened for Public Comment" or words to that effect. What actually happened was that the evening wound on with discussions of speed bumps, slow zones, liquor license applications, some kind of stone monument and was then summarily adjourned by your newly installed president, Mr. Nicholson, who displayed an appalling lack of knowledge of parliamentary procedure throughout. Perhaps he could take an online course; put a better face on his ambition. The conduct of CB9 in this matter has been and continues to be contemptuous of the desperation of your former constituents, the most immediate of them, in particular, those who live close by the state senate office. They know what they have here, what beautiful housing stock and access to the park and gardens they have that has the developers salivating. They know that they got it as a consequence of white flight, too, and that Whitey has changed his mind. I say Whitey because I am one and so I can. I moved to this area for love 2 years ago, to a man, also white, who has been here for thirty (30) years. I was raised in Park Slope and returned there in 1985. I don't care to live there anymore. A city slated to become a playground for the global oligarchy with 20% of us waiting on them hand and foot is not what anyone ever had in mind for, or ever loved about, New York, much less Brooklyn, a city with its own legends and place in the world's imagination. Obviously, if you play ball with the shadow government that is real estate, then the indictment will never come down and you can come out of the seclusion you've maintained since your election and more enjoy the fruits of your winnings. We'll be your mirror."
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Watching the oft-repeated American scene in Ferguson, a town, like Crown Heights, that went Black in the wake of white flight. The older whites who are left are on the side of the (white) "these people are animals" police. Recently, however, there has been an influx of "low level hipsters" (to quote the highly intelligent, not-racist white taxi driver interviewed by Chris Hayes in his excellent reporting last night) to the area, people "committed to diversity," he said. The area has "craft beer.....a farmer's market....." etc. Sound familiar? I keep thinking back to the gentleman I heard at a CB9 meeting some months ago, who had been gentrified out of several neighborhoods in several cities. "These people don't share, they dominate," he warned. Let's see how "committed to diversity" we white people are in places like Ferguson and Crown Heights; there must be others. Are Ferguson and Crown Heights in the first stages eventual total white domination, or not? I'll be honest, I have only read the headline for this article, "America Is Not For Black People." But it's a helluva start.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Gentrification is picking up speed. The Owl & Whistle Brooklyn General Store (baby bibs with Clash album cover, artisanal pickles, etc.) has opened on Franklin on my side of Eastern Parkway; Mountain, an aromatherapy emporium, has put up a permanent sign. There's a Pulp & Bean, a new, possibly artisanal, pizzeria. Every day, another purebred dog being walked by a bearded man or texting girl. None of this makes me happy. This sign explains why. I keep thinking about what someone said at a CB9 meeting. He'd been gentrified out of DC, Chicago, Fort Greene and Harlem. He said, "These people don't share; they dominate."
Friday, May 2, 2014
I've been attending CB9 meetings as well as participating, as acting secretary of the Stoddard-Ludlam-Sullivan Block Association. Word is out that area landlords are doing their best (worst) to force out longtime tenants in the interest of gauging new, and paler, tenants. One bedrooms being divided into two, twos into threes, repairs neglected, or started and abandoned. The usual hideosities. Residents are fighting back and I can assure you that area homeowners stand with them. I was encouraged to watch this video report on the growing effort to unionize tenants in Crown Heights. this story on The New York Times online this week. Read all about it!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
For some time, I don't know how long, there have been two shuttered churches on Rogers Avenue between Crown and Carroll Streets. Just the other day, construction fencing went up and the brick church with the scalloped roof, my favorite of the two, started to be torn down. Research reveals that a 5-story, 165 unit building by Think!Architecture is on the way. Think! has done some good work aesthetically. The height of the building to come is a relief, given the 23 story tower slated for Flatbush and Fenimore, focus of an increasingly pitched battle between the neighborhood and developers. How "affordable" the apartments will be is yet to be known.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
In the past several weeks, gentrification has been the subject of a story in New York Magazine, asking whether the inflow of white money into to a neighborhood with too many liquor stores and not enough wine shops can possibly be "all bad," while failing to note that said white money fled these neighborhoods as soon as people of color moved in. White people don't share the largesse; look it up. They (we) gave up these beautiful houses for the homogeneous suburbs. Now we want them back and we don't care who we have to run out of town. Some huge percentage of the housing stock is being bought by foreign investors; they do not have a multi-cultural model in mind because there is none. Then Spike Lee went on a much-publicized rant about Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill, while speaking at Pratt Institute. Much outrage followed: vandals tagged "Do the Right Thing" on his childhood home in Ft. Greene (appending the Anarchy symbol and causing the homeowner to lament that such things "do not happen in this neighborhood"); some actor named Anthony Mackie was very upset, FOX Noise had a party, every newspaper, cable news channel, blogger and his brother and sista had something to say. Use of the word "motherfucker" appears to be clear evidence of racism. That was news to me. As for Spike's equation that "hipster is the new honky," no one has pointed out the leading role Spike played in the development of the hipster uniform of small brimmed hat and large eyeglasses. No one except my boyfriend, that is, who until recently was the one and only white man living in this part of black Crown Heights for 20+ years. He is not happy with the demographic shift, or the now-daily phone calls and letters from realtors promising to "pay cash" for his house, preying upon those who might not understand that cash is paid for all houses. This just in from the New York Observer: Brooklyn is OVER. The need of the "underserved" of Bed-Stuy, heretofore unable to "find a craft beer for under $7," have been met. Look out, Cleveland!