Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bushwick Gentrification Continues

I have certainly seen the impact of continued gentrification on Bushwick since moving into the neighborhood in July 2004. The city and private companies have renovated a number of buildings within my immediate area while the racial composition has also changed. The influx of young artists has also transformed the neighborhood into something that can resemble Williamsburg of the late 1990s or even the East Village a few years before that.

Gentrification remains a highly contentious subject for those who move into a new neighborhood and especially for those who have lived in an area, such as Bushwick, for decades. And recent comments about my recent story for EDGE New York proved these trends continue to generate controversy. The saying "first the artists, then the gays followed by everyone else" is perhaps an inappropriate cliche to describe Bushwick's continued transformation. But the neighborhood continues to change for better or worse depending upon each person's perspective.

Bushwick is certainly not unique among New York neighborhoods that continue to evolve from their historic or long-standing identities. It remains important, however, to acknowledge those who either put a particular neighborhood on the map or struggled to hold it together during rough times. A need to simply live in the city's next 'it' neighborhood, such as Bushwick, without truly understanding its identity and those who created it is simply tragic.

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