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!