The Empowered and The Overlooked

As I walk through Corona and Forest Hills Gardens, I observe the individuals living and walking around both neighborhoods and examine just how urbanization, class discrimination, and economical factors influences poverty and affluence.

The first attribute I notice when entering 71st Continental of Forest Hills Gardens is its large tudor-style and oak decorated houses placed in sets of multiple private streets accompanied with signs that read “PRIVATE STREETS.” The signs even read “all others will be immobilized and/or removed at owners expense pursuant to decision N.Y.S. court of appeals” presenting that individuals living in the neighborhood have an uncovered, written, legal and privileged entitlement that all should be aware of when passing through these private streets. Right then and there, I knew that the individuals and families living in such a city are well-off. The city is quiet, calm, and is definitely clean. Connected to these private streets are transportation and entertainment conveniences that include subway stations, schools, high-end clothing stores (such as New York and Company and Ann Taylor), restaurants (such as fancy Greek and Italian restaurants), and many other businesses that people have access to. Just by looking at the houses, living and sufficient accessibilities people have access to physically and financially, they give the impression of living in a city that is populated with people living more than above the poverty. As I walk through the neighborhood, most of the people I see are of Caucasian and Jewish descent and is an example of white privilege as they have the financial stability and living resources to live in and possess the houses and neighborhoods of Forest Hills.

When entering Corona, I notice many ordinary looking houses where two families can live in the same house and many have small front yards built with cement that are widely cracked. The aura of this neighborhood around and at 93st. feels very different and negative compared to Forest Hills; there is graffiti on brick buildings and even on some house walls. Just like Forest Hills, Corona has many transportation and entertainment conveniences; but the differences are that the stores and small businesses are not high-end and some are owned by families. I visited a clothing store and immediately noticed that outdated shoes were openly out on display outside of the store and most of the clothes being sold were regular graphic t-shirts. Most of the banners of small businesses were in Spanish and I did see many Hispanics and Asians. Compared to Forest Hills, Corona appears to be more out in the open as there are a lot of people walking and talking to each other and the city is not quiet but it is not loud either. It isn’t immensely clean as there were broken plastic bags and bottles on the edges of the sidewalk. It isn’t as pleasing to look at compared to Forest Hills and one wouldn’t exactly wish to one day live in the houses of the neighborhood. The city doesn’t look completely poor, but lacking in terms of cleanliness and living resources. Hispanics and Asians (essentially considered minority groups) living in this city clearly don’t possess the same privileges as the White people living in Forest Hills do.

By comparing both neighborhoods, one can easily theorize that there aren’t enough living resources and a stable foundation for those living in Corona, the city where people are living in lesser standards and poor urbanization. The government needs to empower these individuals living in these types of neighborhoods and take the chance to provide this city and other similar neighborhoods with community outreach and policies to better their resources. The results may not be close to the urbanizations and resources that individuals in Forest Hills are entitled to, but it would accomplish the beginning of a systematically political, social, and economical solution.

Image 1: “PRIVATE STREETS” sign

Image 2: Dartmouth St. and Tennis Pl.

Image 3: An abandoned house

Image 4: Clothing store

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