Apparently it’s quite controversial to discuss the experience of living in Brooklyn when it comes to the topic of race. A few weeks back, I dared to talk about it and received a lot of flack. But in my hood, Prospect Heights, and anywhere really, race, class and gentrification are heavy topics, and I’m not going to shy away from them.
Brooklyn The Borough Posts
It’s easy to feel helpless and vulnerable during your apartment search, tired of hoofing it from place to place, and being let down almost every time. On top of that, I was skeptical of my realtor, Angel, a 50-ish Asian woman who drives a Jaguar, when she first showed me the apartment I inevitably took.
On a recent chilly night, I was bundled up and on my way to Boerum Hill to have dinner at a friend’s apartment. As I walked down Washington Avenue the B45 bus pulled up next to me, and I hesitated. “Which would be faster, the train or the bus?” I thought. Before I could make a decision, the bus doors had shuttered. Luckily, the light at Atlantic and Washington was still red and I approached the bus and knocked on the door. The driver, a middle-aged African-American man, refused to open the door, gesturing to the next stop, three street crossings away, even though his bus was still idling perfectly in front of a designated stop. It was 15 degrees outside and I’ll admit it, I felt like the driver was sticking it to me for being white.
As I briefly mentioned last week, amenities and good location are hard to come by, especially at the same time and at a decent price. While looking at an apartment three (very long) blocks off the Dekalb L stop, I noticed little signs of revival in the outstretches of Bushwick—the facade of a tenement building repaired, construction workers milling about in paint-splattered overalls with ladders. A sign that the tidal wave of Williamsburgian revival will soon fall upon it. However, thus far, it hasn’t.
For three years I lived in Greenpoint, the northern Polish colony of Brooklyn. Though I wasn’t part of the first wave of gentrification, the wheels of which were long turning—fast—my indigenous neighbors didn’t necessarily seem thrilled with the influx of youthful college graduates. But, over the time I spent living there, the process completed itself. Greenpoint, close to Williamsburg and now home to hip bars, natural markets, galleries, brunch spots, fashion-forward boutiques and even a book store, became the convenient and affordable “choix de la jeunesse.”