Crown Heights and Flatbush Residents being affected by Gentrification

Host Intro: Gentrification in Brooklyn marches on, and the adjacent neighborhoods of Flatbush and Crown Heights are two of the latest to feel its effects. Longtime residents see the arrival of coffee shops, bars, doggy day cares, and hookah lounges as warning signs that they may soon be priced out. Although these places might be a nice touch to the neighbourhood, residents fear for their future in these places. Reporter Quain George has the story.

Vehicles driving by.

I’m on Schenectady Ave, Utica, Crown Heights. The area itself has a huge West Indian demographic. To my left there is a supermarket and a Korean vegetable market. Tenant complains that their rents are rising, the cost of food is rising, and a lot of the cheap places are closing down, like Os Grill, which was known for their Jamaican American dish rasta pasta. “Crown Heights native Kareem Thomas says it’s becoming impossible for anyone below a certain income to stay in the area.

 

Thomas says: “Well I was gonna say it affects all black people, but really it’s a wealth gap. Which blacks are kind of in the middle, sometimes we are doing just good enough, but we are never at the point where we can just go spend thousands on a place. Its’s really affecting people that don’t make 40 grand a year.”

Mr. Thomas himself has been affected by gentrification while moving out on his own. Ideally he wanted an apartment for himself, but after seeing the prices for apartments right now he took another route.

Mr. Thomas says: “Well I moved out and I’m leaving with roommates, you think that was my first choice? Hell no. I looked on Nooklyn which is real estate place that especially for Brooklyn, and the apartments were 1,500 which is double what I’m paying for rent right now. I could not afford, I had the money but, would it be a smart investment? No.

Vehicles passing by.

Im on Flatbush Ave between ave D and Ditmas, to my left there is Paw House which is a pet grooming company on that same block is where Nikiesha Hamilton live, grew up in Crown Heights but moved to Flatbush. She thinks that if these areas doesn’t get the proper support they might be displaced.

Mrs Hamilton says: If a certain community of a certain type of people doesn’t not have proper support for their living situation in the community they are going to be displaced.

Although Flatbush Avenue is very Caribbean and West Indian area, Mrs Hamilton still notices the changes.

Mrs Hamilton says: Flatbush is very Caribbean, when I come to Flatbush I barely see people outside the Caribbean culture or the Caribbean diaspora. I do slowly see gentrification happening, when you walk down certain streets you say “ OH, there is a Italian restaurant over there.”

Even though Mrs Hamilton had a lot to say how gentrification will negatively affect the people, she also acknowledged some positive aspects of it.

Mrs Hamilton says: I’m very adamant about protection for poor people, but I like that we get more attention to clean our streets and I like that I feel safer.

These are the challenges Crown Heights and Flatbush residents is facing while gentrification is among them, although it has it’s negative impacts, there are also some positives one, but is it worth it?

 

For Baruch College, this is Quain George, Brooklyn, New York

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