Neighborhood Beautification

Brooklyn, NY, USA

Yesterday, I was trying to fathom why there was a legion of Bobcats in my street digging up chunks of sidewalk.

From Beautification

This morning, when I looked out my window, not only were they at it again, but it became clear why. Between these trees going in, and the bike racks appearing all over the neighborhood in the last couple months, you can see the City hard at work here in East Williamsburg.

I’m a little conflicted about this. I know that trees and bikes are good for the environment, that providing these amenities may bring people, like hipsters, to the neighborhood who sign petitions about sustainability and outdoor spaces. All of those are good things. On the other hand, it’s one more sign of gentrification in my neighborhood that the city is now paying for all these things, and while the fact that I live here is probably also evidence of gentrification, it wasn’t so obvious when I first moved in.

From Beautification

When I first walked this neighborhood, I felt like the only non-Spanish-speaking resident in a neighborhood of young immigrant families with small children. Even at the Chinese owned and operated Chinese restaurant down the street, they speak better Spanish than English. It’s part of the charm of New York City for me. And while progress is inevitable and in this case, at least, bears some desirable fruit, it leaves me surprisingly ambivalent.

Also, impressed. It’s noon, and they’ve already completed one whole side of the street!


  1. So what you're saying is that Spanish speaking people don't enjoy out door spaces and care about the environment? And that progress is gentrification of a neighborhood?


  2. Oy! I can see why it might sound that way. My bad. If you saw what I saw in the park every sunny day of the year – namely hundreds of mostly Spanish-speaking folks enjoying the outdoors – you'd agree that they definitely enjoy the outdoors.

    I meant to say, and did so badly, that the city only pays for these things after the white people start pouring in! I shall amend!


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