10
Mar
10

EVOLUTION.


I live in a section of Brooklyn known as Fort Greene. And during my most recent travels through the neighborhood I have noticed that certain parts of it have changed. New apartment buildings are going up faster than how a tree grows in the borough of Brooklyn. Businesses that use to be around for years have disappeared, or have moved to a different location. And in some cases the business would just shut down and disappear without any warning.

There use to be Duane Reade drug store a few years back on the Flatbush Avenue Extension. But after being there for about a year or so the store closed down and a new apartment building went up in its place, the location I thought was great for there are a few New York City housing projects there that could have used it. As well a little further down the block there use to be a supermarket, but like the Duane Reade that is gone too.

People now have to travel further towards downtown Brooklyn to where the closest Duane Reade store is now. As for shopping for food at the local supermarket that is now gone. People have to travel a longer distance to get to one. The other major supermarket is within the Atlantic Avenue mall.

It makes me wonder, with the evolution of progress what would happen to the elderly that live in the area? People that can only travel short distances to get basic needs, only now have to find a way to travel further distances. We call it progress when underdeveloped areas are rebuilt, but I find that with the evolution of change and growth that some items that were there before become extinct.

It drives people away to locations that they may not want to go to, but they have no choice to do so. For if they stay, rents go up at an extreme rate and then they are forced to leave there homes of many years, it’s as if the problem becomes a part of “out of sight and out of mind.” It’s like when a developer looks at an open land of property and all they think about is how fast it can be built and how much we can charge for it. And then the people who are there are the developers lease of his concerns. It’s as if they think “they will leave once their rents go up and once they leave we will get better people in the neighborhood. “

Who are the better people? People that can pay rents of close and upwards to two thousand dollars a month? Or people that can pay their rents of eight hundred and fifty dollars a month?  It makes one wonder if the agenda that they have is of any good to the people in the neighborhood that are already there.

Some time back I had met a person, an African-American male height six feet three inches tall with striking facial features and definitely not the “hood, thug type” for he worked as a graphic designer that lives in the downtown, Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. His apartment was fantastic I thought top floor, two, bed rooms, washer and dryer, and two bath rooms, one of the bathrooms had a hot tub, and the other bathroom had a walk in glass shower room.  A living room that was wide and long as a tennis court. And a modern kitchen to boot that had all the latest things a person could ever want, in a kitchen. All aluminum refrigerator, stove and oven, trash disposal, and lots of cabinets were included as well

He claims that he used to live in the east side of Manhattan in the East Village but wanted to move into this location which he did. I asked him what was his reason for leaving his last place he lived in? His reply was … “Over the years that I have lived there the area had changed, it was a better mix of people when I was there, but once they started changing the area I have noticed that professional people of color where slowly leaving. And I wanted to be near people of color. And not have to watch my back when someone passes by me in the street and think I do not belong in this area. As I am going home”

He then told me to look out the window and see below. I did and noticed that there was a small section of buildings across the street that underprivileged minorities lived in. It was a place that had people who were living there and getting back on their feet and in some cases had a very low-income and or was a single young parent trying to raise their child.

That he claimed that was the selling point for him. The fact that they were people of color living there in the area. The broker he claims was hesitant and originally showing him the place for they felt that it was not of high quality since that small row of buildings where there with such tenants.

But it was shown to him and after the above mentioned and looking out the window when he saw the place below, he thought it was a fair mix of people in the area. They did not all have to be professional… But people that he can relate to and understand their plight and what they are going through as a minority. For himself his childhood was not the greatest, but he learned to adapt and grown into the current person that he has become. One should never walk away from their past I think, they should learn from it and try to advance.

Then we looks past the Brooklyn roof tops to see two new tall building that were there. These two new building have just gone up within the last two years. We both thought that change was once again happening. The interesting thing about the two buildings is the fact that there use to be minority own business there. Small mom and pop stores that you use to go into and get quite a few things, whether it was something for your apartment or a random nick knack that you would get someone for a house-warming party.

I once went to a freelance designer fashion show with in the same area some years back to see a line of clothes that this particular person made. They did this all working at home and also did shows at their place as well. It had a sense of community. Where everyone knew the designer and would take their time to custom fit all the clothes you needed. And would even at times make custom-made clothing’s that you wanted to be made based on your idea, materials and recommendations.

Neighborhoods such as that had their own personalities and you always felt welcome to be there. And if you lived there it was a place where your friends and neighbor treated you as family. But as places evolved… some parts of them become extinct. It like losing a close family member when they die… You enjoy and recall the good times, and you miss them when they are gone and no longer in your life.

I like to think that change, growth and evolution can be for the best. But in the process we lose sight of the past and what potential was lost when people are forced to move away. For when they move away, the personality of the neighborhood is forever gone. And it becomes just another old regular block on the street that people pass by and not even notice.

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