Monday, August 5, 2013

The Latest Frontier In Unaffordable Real Estate: Crown Heights

Posted By on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 12:16 PM

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Of course, this won't come as much of a surprise to anyone who's been by Franklin Avenue any time in the past two years or so (or been even vaguely keeping up with almost weekly reports of Brooklyn's continued real estate boom).

Still, this DNAinfo interview with local community activists is a little depressing, and not just because it contains the (not untrue) sentence, "Gentrifiers gentrifying out earlier waves of gentrifiers is a common enough story in New York." It's also got some pretty stark quotes from Crow Hill Community Association organizer Trisch Tchume, who, after recent efforts to bolster the neighborhood's affordable housing, was inundated with responses from relatively well-off newcomers to the neighborhood, who are already being pushed out by rising prices.

"The concern that's in the public conversation is about long term residents being displaced, but I didn't realize that many of the new residents who are already paying much higher rents are already getting pushed out," Tchume told the site. "It surprised me it was happening so quickly." Tchume also spoke to the difficulty of organizing people around an issue they see as inevitable, saying, "It bothers me, because it keeps people from doing anything. When you frame displacement as something that just naturally happens, people feel like there's nothing they can or should do."

None of which is to say that it's particularly obvious what anyone "can or should do" to keep themselves from being forced out of the borough entirely by rising prices—or that anyone who could reasonably be called a "gentrifier" would be the first person whose real estate displacement we should be actively worrying about—but if you were looking for further evidence that even relatively affordable housing in relatively affordable neighborhoods is evaporating quickly, this would be it.


Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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Virginia K. Smith

Virginia K. Smith

Bio:
Virginia K. Smith is the Assistant Editor at The L Magazine and a Bushwick resident. Her profile picture was taken at Summerscreen, because she is a real team player.

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