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The reclusive garden

In lieu of a real post (you can only say so much about the walk from the subway to your apartment, really), I wanted to discuss a post from Bed-Stuy Blog with the readers of this blog.

I passed this garden the other day. I was completely surprised when I passed it. It is really nice looking but, in my opinion, sticks out like a sore thumb. I think it looks great on its own (how could you not?), but it also concerns me a little. First, it’s locked, and the gates don’t immediately look as if they are to be opened to the public (see below). Second, it stands in stark contrast to its surroundings which may make it prone to vandalism. It just seems to me that someone is spending a lot of money to make this one spot look very nice.

A few commenters share my cynicism:

joebob said:

I live down the street from the park and have even tried to get involved in this “community” garden in the past, to no avail, and yet I had no idea something was happening.

I don’t think that is a very good sign. He goes on to say:

Sounds like this garden serves beautifully the corporate sponsors political agenda, but not really in any meaningful way our community.

But who knows? Maybe joebob is a shill for the anti-gentrification activists. But maybe he has a point.

In response k. cooper said:

Its always been locked and neither my husband or i have seen anyone working in there. and then nearly overnight, this transformation happens. weird. we had no idea it was happening until we saw the crowds on the street after the opening.

I haven’t been in Bed-Stuy long enough to get used to anything, but most of the changes I have heard of seem to happen fairly quickly. How does the rate of change vary with time? Are things changing more now or has the change remained fairly constant?

Much of the literature surrounding gentrification contends that the “solution” to bad neighborhoods is simply displacement, and hence not really a solution at all. Sam‘s uncle had his rent double and was forced to move. What was the time frame on that? Was he able to move to somewhere close? What kind of neighborhood did he move to? Did he leave New York?

Could the same thing happen to people living around the MYNT? Has it happened already? What becomes of the gentrified? Will Bed-Stuy snuff out this abnormality or will the abnormality change its surroundings?


  1. Sam wrote:

    My friend’s uncle had to move out of his apt at the beginning of this year. He now lives with his family (wife with four kids) in … Bed-Stuy, five or six blocks east from the MYNT.

    He used to be a doctor back in his country. Since he couldn’t get an equivalent degree in the US, he is now working just as a physical therapist assistant.
    He was paying $700/month for a small and old 3-BR in Williamsburg. He now pays $1,200 for a 2-BR in Bed-Stuy. As he cannot really afford it, he applied for a apt in the projects.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 11:01 pm | Permalink
  2. Sarah wrote:

    It seems to me that *locals* of Manhattan and Brooklyn are not the risk taking evangelists of creating an up and coming area. From my experience it has been people from outside NY or even the US (as in my case too) who are more likely to move into a riskier area which organically creates the gentrification effect. i have found that long term residents of NY are some of the biggest nay-sayers about moving to potential up-and-coming areas such as Bed-Stuy and even as I have found with Long Island City or even Hell’s Kitchen where I am presently. They seem to focus on the historical legacies of the area as opposed to the potential for change and evolution.

    I wonder if this has been the situation with gentrification in other towns, cities, countries? Were the yuppies who gentrified the Height area of San Fran -from out of state (literally -not just figuratively as I am sure most people were at that time!)??

    Are the out of towners more open to being seduced by real estate marketing in these areas than locals -do we see potential or is it naivity to the potential perils of an established area?

    Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

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