Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Sunset Parker Bemoans Gentrification

A blog called Fuzzy Logic has a post about the (recent?) changes in SP. While she calls Bay Ridge "Chinese-Ruled" (news to me) and she states that One Sunset Park is the first condo building starting up (check out 7th and 8th Avenues in the high 40's and 50's), her main concern is one that a lot of us probably struggle with when we see UHauls chugging around looking for parking (or, more recently, holding a parking spot with trash cans...a big NO NO according to the many residents who loudly voiced their annoyance).

from the blog:

In a few years, the best taco shops and authentic Brooklyn pizza shops will be gone, replaced by chains and migrating hipsters from Williamsburg. Not to sound bitter, 'coz we sure can use a descent coffee shop and less 99c store... but I don't want to trade ma & pa's shops for yet another generic-face-lift-blah store. Oy, the dilemma!

I don't think she'll have to wait a few years for there to be severe changes (although Johnny's isn't going anywhere)...and I'm not so sure we'll be getting any "decent" coffee shops any time soon (La Gran Via is much more than decent anyway), but there is a definite chance that we'll be losing more and more stores to landlords' desires to raise rents...I know of very few store fronts that have been filled recently. Only 5th Avenue seems to be making any headway, and that takes a long, long time. 8th, 7th, and 6th all have plenty of rental space for small business to snap up, but there aren't any takers.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it, most of them leave as soon as they realize what they've gotten themselves into ... or their lease is up, whichever comes first!

Anonymous said...

I'm sick of people complaining about "Williamsburg hipsters". It's a cop-out and wrong to blame them. If you don't like chain shops and what-not (and neither do i), don't shop at them. One of the (many) good things about Sunset Park is that it's a residential neighborhood and it seems many of the Asian and Latino residents aren't - going - anywhere. This isn't Williamsburg with it's high industrial zoning, this is a neighborhood and many people own their property. SO no-one's getting shoved out anytime soon. Williamsburg hipsters. How unoriginal.

BestViewInBrooklyn said...

Anonymous #2, keep in mind that she is talking about stores, mainly. And while Papa John's has moved in, most of the new-ish places don't seem to be places like what she fears. We've already had the Dunkin' Donuts/Fast Food/Rite Aid along 5th for a while. And other movement doesn't seem to be very chain/generic oriented.

The homes for sale, on the other hand, are completely over-priced - although prices have been falling of late. It's the rental properties that seem to be stuck in an obnoxiously high position. That could affect who stays/moves in.

And while many people do own in Sunset Park, many more do not. Most of the new apartments being renovated in private homes or buildings are certainly not geared towards lower-income residents.

Anonymous said...

Hey "bestviewinbrooklyn" how long have you lived in Sunset Park? I just want to know if you lived in SP during the early 80's when this neighborhood came together to fight the drug dealers and all the vagrants that poisoned the neighborhood. My parents were part of that struggle, attending and organizing community patrols. 30 years i have lived in SP, and what SP is now is nothing compared with what SP was many many years ago. I only say this as I have never seen you write anything about those days, and the struggle that SP as a community has endured to get to what it is today. Don't forget, all the drug abusers from Park Slope and Bay Ridge came to SP to buy their poison.

BestViewInBrooklyn said...

I've only lived in SP for five years, and prior to that I chose where I lived in Brooklyn based mainly on affordable rents and proximity to work. I've spoken to several people who have been life long Sunset Parkers, and they too feel like it's an incredible difference (for the better) compared to the 80's/early 90's.

Most of my students are horrified when I tell them I live in Sunset Park because they have "heard stories" from their parents or other family members about the area (and these are kids from Coney Island!). They don't believe me when I tell them how much I like the family atmosphere and going to the park and taking part in community events. It gives me "street cred," but it also shows that old reputations die slowly.

I know that a lot of people from around Brooklyn's neighborhoods came (still do come?) to SP for their drugs, just like now many come to SP for their quickie recreational activities under the Gowanus.

I'd love to hear more about the organization in the community to rid the neighborhood of its vices. Perhaps you could write something up that I could adapt for the blog?