Friday, May 18, 2007

Gentrification Continues to Cause Tension in New York

Gentrification continues to transform neighborhoods many New Yorkers once condemned as too violent. Bushwick, this blogger's home, remains an example of how a once maligned area has attracted a growing number of artists, hipsters and 20-somethings who have recently moved to the city. This influx of new residents continue to change the long-held identity on which Bushwick and other neighborhoods hold.

These changes inevitably cause tension among recent arrivals and long-time residents as the Los Angeles Times detailed today in an article about the evolution of the West Village. The neighborhood remains a cradle of the modern LGBT rights movement. But some long-time West Villagers remain unhappy with the new generation of LGBT people whom they say continue to disrupt their quality of life. Local residents have long complained of increased violence, vandalism and prostitution as a result of the youth who gather in the neighborhood. The murders of Sakia Gunn, Marsha B. Johnson and others only exacerbate these tensions.

The neighborhood and the Christopher Street Pier in particular remains a haven for many LGBT youth of color from the Bronx, Staten Island and New Jersey. West Villagers concerns about increased violence, vandalism and prostitution remain valid but it is perhaps disingenuous to exclusively blame the youth for the ongoing problems in the neighborhood. Many of these residents played prominent roles in the early gay rights movement. They, along with the youth themselves and their advocates, have a responsibility to ensure the neighborhood remains a safe haven for everyone.


Anonymous said...

gentrification? I don't know about that. if anything, there seems to be an underlying hypocrisy and or racism that's playing out and I'm not liking it.

Boy in Bushwick said...

The underlying hypocrisy about which you commented seems to come from those who took part in the early gay rights movement who now complain about the youth of color who gather in the West Village. The LA Times article contains comments from some West Villagers about the racist thoughts of some of their own neighbors. These two points certainly feed into the broader gentrification which continues to transform this neighborhood and much of the city.