Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brooklyn Flux

Gentrification is slow. Hyper-gentrification is fast. We're really not dealing with old-fashioned gentrification anymore, as much as people keep talking about it.

For a look at what happened--and keeps happening--to large swaths of Brooklyn in less than 10 years, check out Brooklyn Flux, a series of before-and-after photos by Kristy Chatelain.


all photos by Kristy Chatelain

Taken along the waterfront of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, from 2007 to present, the photos mostly show the kind of change that is sweeping the city--from industrial and scruffy to sleek and trendy.

Or vacant.



Signs of the former population, like a Puerto Rican flag in graffiti, are replaced by the symbols of the new population, i.e., old-timey typefaces, gold-leaf signage, wine bars.

And on it goes.





10 comments:

David Shea said...

For once, I'm going to seriously disagree with you, at least based on THESE photos: the old stuff looked like shit; the new stuff, while is doesn't all look that great, sure looks a lot better. — Dave S

Tal Hartsfeld said...

My take on gentrification: Whatever you do, please don't implode the Pyramids, The Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Sphinx
...at least spare a few historic world treasures. Just for posterity and in the name of history, that's all.

laura rubin said...

david shea 1:09pm- correct. agree w/you. it looks better. i also like the "oldtimey signage". more more refined than the grafitti. it even looks like old NY. personally i dont like the spray paint. im from brooklyn & this was considered the downfall of a neighborhood. JM arrived in NY when it was ghettodown. i grew up there before the whiteflight. those were the days when williamsburg was a nice italian jewish &industrial area. ok, so now its for upwardly mobile young professionals. ok everyone lets do the predictable "R" word!

David Shea said...

As Tennyson more or less said, inferring God's take on earth's myriad of species, "I care for none and all must go!!!" Just kidding, but what Tal Hartsfield suggests sound a lot like the Taliban when confronted with Buddhist statue. I'd love to see how modern real estate moguls would handle such artifacts of an ancient time!!!

David Shea said...

Not clear, Laura, what the R word is. And I never tho't NY was ghetto town, but for a long while, it was scary town. However, most blandification is equally scary it one takes the trouble to contemplate it at any length.

Donnie Moder said...

Her photos in her website are well done. I think that overall, the changes depicted from old to new are positive. I don't think you can say her photos support a view of anti-gentrification. If she were trying to support an anti-gentrification viewpoint, I have no doubt that hundreds of before/after photo could depict that viewpoint where a loss of architectural character and uniqueness in exchange for soulessness and the bland are depicted.

Jill said...

I think the point is not whether the new facades look nice without the street art or graffiti, it's that the new population that demands a shiny clean graffiti free streetscape attract businesses that are not catering to the people who've lived there for 30 years but to the newcomers who can afford and desire an upscale hotel and fancy wine.

laura rubin said...

david: re read the comment. it said "ghetto DOWN" (its hood talk). williamsburg was a nice ethnic enclave: jewish italian. then parts of it became an afro american crime ridden ghetto. that is fact. (we all know what the R word is). now williamsburg is on the upswing. i dont know about the high rises as i usually dont like that. i did like the sinage on the cafe photo. donnie moder: have a look @ my site again laurarubinphotography.com. not about politics/agenda, there is no viewpoint. i wanted to capture NY as a traditional classic colonial city. most of the photos architecture pictures are from 1992-3, 1968-77. i had no idea it would change.

David Shea said...

Hey, Laura, I have absolutely no idead what the R word is. Please enlighten me. No, I'm not being coy, as your comment may suggest: I just don't know!!!

DS

Richard Federico said...

David Shea, I think The "R" word Laura is referring to is the for "Racist". She was expecting a backlash of outrage for her comment as being racially biased. Her mentioning that the she grew up in Brooklyn before white flight when Williamsburg was a nice Italian/Jewish community and before it became riddled with graffiti could be taken as a prejudice towards certain ethnic groups that caused the neighborhood to degenerate. She also implies that the neighborhoods new upwardly mobile professional population is a better alternative to the crime and despair that preceded it. This could also earn her another "R" word as someone could make a case that she is showing indifference to the removal of the African American (and I will add Hispanic) community to make way for the new influx of young educated and motivated hipsters.

Her actual point is that it is a matter of perspective when it comes to labeling New York's changes as being positive or negative as she feels Williamsburg already went through a negative. When I was young, my parents moved out of Williamsburg for the same graffiti and crime issues Laura mentioned, also many of their friends and family were moving out. My Grandmother remained because she did not speak English and was comfortable working at her long time job as a seamstress in a local garment factory with other Italian speaking citizens till she finally retired in 1979. We visited her often back then and still had many big family celebrations there in her small two bedroom apartment on Havemeyer St. but it was rough then watching the neighborhood lose it's Italian identity and fall into squalor. At that time in the early to mid 70's that block had one remaining live poultry market from having three in the 40's and 50's and they weren't Halal back then. My Aunt owned one of the last Italian deli's on the block, but it became as run down as the rest of the neighborhood reduced to a glorified candy and soda store. Today that live poultry market along with the rest of the building is all luxury apartments and the old deli on the corner is a cafe and Juice bar. We always held on to hopes that the neighborhood would come back again and be just like it was before, a thriving Italian community with perhaps some other ethnic groups mixed in. Never did we imagine the hipster and juice bar culture that would come to dorm in our cities and transform them into expensive soulless enclaves. We didn't even know what a hipster was, but there was the yuppie word back then. Well as Laura is saying, at least the neighborhood is being revitalized, but it will never be that nice Jewish/Italian working class neighborhood it once was long ago. Too me this is sad, but reality today.