In 1990 I left (with my wife and two kids)a Park Slope apartment to buy a jewel-in-rough brownstone on Jefferson Ave in Bed-Stuy. I felt none of the trepidations that whites evince about "bad" neighborhoods (for Yusuf Hawkins Bensonhurst was a hell that Billy Joel could never croon about!). I simply saw it for what it was: a neighborhood that combined negative and positive aspects, but full of untapped potential, very much like the brownstone itself. This forlorn brownstone has generated the equity to finance a retirement villa in the Caribbean, and has a current market value in excess of a million dollars. I have witnessed the changes described in the article, and I see these changes as vindication of my faith in the resiliency and promise of the neighborhood. Make no mistake: Bed-Stuy still has a long way to go, particularly with schools, amenities and crime. But I would give a hearty welcome to all those who choose to call this neighborhood "home," and not merely a waystation on the hipster express.
This is an interesting comment:
"Because in the end, we'll be displaced AGAIN, we lose our homes, neighborhoods, culture and generational economic passing down of wealth etc."
If the longtime owners sell, are they really being displaced, or are they merely moving elsewhere? They are gaining wealth generated by selling to the gentrifiers coming in. Early in the article, Ms. Hymowitz noted that numbers of the long time residents are moving South, where it is less expensive to live.
"Commenters draw elaborate maps of the best routes to shopping areas and subways and list no-go zones for the uninitiated."
I would be interested in this. Links please!
Robert: try throwing The Ride of the Valkyries on the stereo and lowering the speaker from your fire escape, playing at top volume. Worked for us!
P.S. Noise-levels don't break down by race. They may, however, break down by class: My partner and I call 311 ALL the time because some of our neighbors are noisy and we have to be at work early the next morning.
Both my partner and I are black.
This article has a distinct outside, White Gaze feel to it. Rather unsettling.
Mike made a great comment but if Al Vann wants to keep his neighborhood black and everybody's cool with that I want to keep my neighborhood white.
I had the pleasure with my family of spending two weeks on Macon st. in Bed-Stuy in July 2010.
I was astonished at the sense of community an did indeed experince "good morning" greetings from total strangers.
For a European white it was an eye opener. A genteel middle class black neighborhood (the historic district anyway) where despite our obvious foreigness, we felt welcome.
When whites flee crime ridden areas for safer neighborhoods it is called white-flight what should we tag Bijoun Jordan's departure to Kensington, African-American flight? The bottom line is that everyone wants to live in a safe crime-free neighborhood
What Mike says has merit.
This was an excellent article. I feel like it was written about my Chicago Neighborhood, West Garfield Park on the city's Far West Side. A spitting image!
One thing that disappoints me however, is that an Black-American neighborhood will NEVER be considered a decent neighborhood until it's almost 100% white. So I understand why blacks would rather keep an area poor, down-trodden or working class than to have whites gentrifying it in droves. Because in the end, we'll be displaced AGAIN, we lose our homes, neighborhoods, culture and generational economic passing down of wealth etc.
Black people must stand our ground but we also have an obligation to make our neighborhoods function like any other culture in america.