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Controversy!

I got a great comment from Streetfaerie and I think it will be instructive to address it point by point. All quotes are verbatim.

Im just finding this blog so I havent read all the posts but are you serious about living in the Stuy and being “independent” of the neighborhood, only venturing to “scurry” to the subway?

What I’m serious about is that the MYNT is marketed in this way. Consider the website 756myrtle.com.
First off the first pictures you see are nice, young, smiling faces. These are the faces you would expect to see inside the MYNT, Bed-Stuy isn’t that white.
Click ‘area’ and note the pictures, particularly along the bottom.

Starting from the left we have the Pratt Store. It’s ten blocks away and it’s not in Bed-Stuy. Urbanology has three different maps of Bed-Stuy, none of which include the Pratt Store or exclude the MYNT (supposedly located in the Clinton Hill/Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn).
A brownstone, great, but why just a picture of the windows? Where’s the stoop? What else is missing in this picture?
The sidewalk to the subway, a cleverly designed shot which obfuscates peripheral detail due to its size.
Home depot! I wonder where the closest Wal-Mart is?
Bonus: Near a playground! Which one? It’s the Marcy playground. Why would they cut off ‘Marcy’? Do they really think the people they are marketing to (mostly out of towners) are aware of what the Marcy Projects are? (I wasn’t.)

And everything you need is offered (or will be) inside the building itself. Laundry, gym, groceries (on the way), ‘public space’, etc. The MYNT is not currently marketed to be a community center, but more of as a club for its tenants.

I think this hits at the nerve of contention long time residents have of newcomers and so called gentrification.

That’s not so surprising as that is precisely what this blog is about.

If you are going to live in this neighborhood then plan on actually becoming a part of it. How offensive that you want to live in our community but see it as some bombed out place that you happened to find a good deal in.

I’ll save these for tomorrow =)

People live and love here, its not some “rough” or uninhabited place that you happened to stumble upon.

I have no doubt that people live and love here, I hope to do the same! No one likes to have the place they live labeled as a ‘rough’ one (remember that I live here too), but unfortunately this conclusion is inescapable for Bed-Stuy.

NYPD places it in the top two dangerous neighborhoods along with Harlem even labeling it an “Impact Zone” at least through June of 2006 [wikipedia].

The good news is that the neighborhood is changing and gentrification is at least some part of that. Further, displacement has less of an impact in Bed-Stuy than in other areas affected by gentrification. [urbanology]

And personally, I was never asked for money in places I have lived previously, but here I have been asked on three separate occasions. This isn’t unique to Bed-Stuy and seems to me to be a part of NYC culture, but there are plenty of places in the city where it just doesn’t happen and in some sense Bed-Stuy is ‘rougher’ than those areas. Therefore I can personally attest that people do live here and hence Bed-Stuy is inhabited, but I do think that it can be justifiably labeled as ‘rough’ in some rough sense.

I hope you are able to come to a place where you see your neighbors as people worth getting to know, and the neighborhood as someplace full of culture and history, and understand that you can either be one of the many who only help to drive up property values and price people out with no concern or one of the few that actually try to make a home here.

I hope that by the time you read the rest of this blog that you realize the two groups you mention here are not mutually exclusive and that you continue to read and provide your opinions on this subject.

This picture doesn’t do the view justice, but here’s what the view really looks like (as opposed to the rendering).

Brooklyn and Manhattan

2 Comments

  1. Streetfaerie wrote:

    Thank you for responding so quickly! Good answers of course I want to touch point by point but I will resist and make my post pretty general (dont want to risk missing forest for the trees so to speak. I have gotten a chance to read a few more posts, and look at the MYNT site (pretty slick marketing)! Bless you for starting this blog it is actually very brave of you. I dont want to attack or marginalize/target you, or make you a symbol of all that is wrong with the “situation” we have all found ourselves in. New York is a crazy place. It is actually not a “melting pot” as many proclaim it. While technically there are MANY cultures,when it comes to residential living, there is a very delicate balance of cultural enclaves existing next to each other. (As you are on the border of Bed stuy youve gotten to see that i.e. the Jewish enclave). And people are very protective of that. Prices in this city create a pressure point and one of the fascinating outcomes is previously undesireable areas become heavily courted (as you know). NY by nature is cyclic, this neighborhood being just another example of that. Bed stuy has gotten a LOT of press lately and thats a double edged sword. Everyone is being pushed out of their comfort zones and theres a lot of good that can come from that, but of course a lot of negativity, fear, and resentment. (i have very varied and complex views on gentrification that i wont burden you with lol). Maybe you found my post pointed or harsh, and although i’d read a few of your postings, I only commented on this one. Reason being, Ive personally found that in discussing any aspect of this phenomenon, people have a hard time internalizing the fact that this is actually home to people. What i mean is, people move here from other states/countries to work or to live out a dream and they have family/traditions etc elsewhere. They go “home” for the holidays..their memories are of some other place. Well, we are home. Our grandmothers live around the corner or downstairs. This is it for a LOT of people. (not discussing the immigrant community which is an ENTIRELY different beast you dont want to get into lol) There is no place to turn once rents become outrageous. “priced out” is a very nice term that does not do the reality of it any justice. So I was compelled to comment,especially to drive that particular point home lol. I know we all get it: times are a-changing. And its not a zero sum game, long term residents dont automatically “lose” in this lol. But I think the most frustrating part about all of it is the lack of understanding, (compassion?) and even common sense at a basic level. Example, I spoke to a couple at a party recently who, once they found that I lived in brooklyn, couldnt wait to explain to me about the beauty they “found” in bed stuy. (they recently moved to williamsburg from CT) “Oh my God! The homes there are magnificent! And good prices too! Who would have thought!? In Bed Stuy!?”. With genuine excitement.I said yes,actually, I would have thought. We carried on a friendly and energetic discussion but when I pointed out that the homes were actually inhabited, and the neighborhood full of people who have been there their entire lives the couples faces BOTH became very blank. “I didnt think of that” the man said. He actually SAID that. And that conversation became very pivotal in my mind. People dont think. Im glad you want to facilitate discussion about this issue. Maybe Bed Stuy can actually become a model of gentrification done right, and become an actual diversified place instead of just another enclave (a white hood that used to be a black hood that used to be..). I hope so, because for better or worse were all in this together. I will continue to read and participate…

    (Sorry about length and not touching point by point on your comments lol)

    Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 12:02 pm | Permalink
  2. Spencer Street wrote:

    Er, just checking what you found so confusing about the Home Depot reference. Most New Yorkers would kill to have one nearby. Also, if there’s one thing all Bed-Stuy residents can agree on, it’s that the lines in that place are ridiculous.

    Thursday, November 29, 2007 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

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