Friday, September 9, 2011

Naked City _ The Red Hook story

In the 30’s Red Hook was a dangerous polyglot place. Homes were too small, the area is too far from mass transit, it has environmental nasty spots together with a large public housing project. Gentrification has been limited here. Though, it has two significant stories about the Food vendors at the ball fields and the arrival of Ikea.

The food vendors at the Sunset park ball fields are the most significant about the Red Hook neighborhood. Their story starts in the 1970’s when Salvadorian and Ecuadorean people brought food to the fields to picnic while their children could play here. After some time the picnic evaluated in preparing food at home and selling it to people playing soccer at the fields. This event brought a huge immigration of Latin-Americans into Red Hook. People started promoting the food at the ball fields and also a growing number of whites costumers came to these places. Because of the vendor’s growing media presence competition grew between the vendors to differentiate from others and serve the real authentic food of their home-countries. But everyone noted the changes. The intimacy was gone.
“Vending at the ball fields had become a bureaucratically controlled situation”
Ikea is another story of Red Hook’s waterfront. The idea of an IKEA in Red Hook has set residents debating the issue. With its narrow streets and no subway service the store would cause an overwhelming of the neighborhood. At the other side Ikea would create jobs in this under-served section of South Brooklyn. By promising metro-provision and a boat-service from Manhattan Ikea could settle.
“New York’s Zoning Law has prevented superstores from location anywhere except in manufacturing zones along the waterfront, like in Red Hook.”

So development has brought many changes to Brooklyn in recent  years. In short, the recent whitening of Brooklyn leads to an expanded gentrification into working-class black neighborhoods while new immigrants look for other areas to an ethnic mosaic.

“The new  Brooklyn is different. It’s a place people come to, not a place they come from.”

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