At the start of this semester I gave my analysis of an area I frequent, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (particularly between North 7th and 10th streets between Bedford and Kent Aves). Even back then I could observe a lot of the things we would eventually discuss in class, although I probably couldn’t give exact definitions to exactly what those things were. Now i can. This particular area has been hit by gentrification like a an 18-wheeler hurtling down an interstate (as my post in my group’s project will further explain). Stepping out of the L train station, you are immediately greeted by chain conglomerates, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, there are no Mom and Pop Coffee shops. Even the Bodegas have been claimed, you’re as likely to get a Chop Cheese in Williamsburg as you are to get affordable rent there. Every two stores is a ‘hip’ restaurant with seating that spills out onto the valuable public space, be careful where you’re standing waiting to cross the road, you might accidentally intrude upon a couple’s private moment. The benches have dividers (homeless people taking a nap would really clash with the young and affluent trying to drink their Unicorn Frappuccinos right?), the police presence in the subway station is high compared to many others, the architecture of the expensive apartment building on the riverfront is reminiscent of a heavily fortified building, the $2.5o bottle of water, the crepe shop across the road from 16 Handles (whose benches also have dividers) and the general outlook of the crowd (young hipsters) and you’ll see that this area has shown all the atypical signs of an area that is being claimed by gentrification. The heavy police presence is an absolute prophet of this change in the identity of the neighborhood; that’s just to continue the criminalization of poverty, can’t have anyone jumping turnstiles and selling loosies, it might encroach on the enjoyment of the affluent
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always observed these things but thanks to this semester I can finally analyze them properly through the correct lens. Williamsburg is the quintessential example of gentrification in New York City.