I get notices in my mailbox when when there are rentals posted in Sunset Park to keep an eye on the local Real Estate market so I can see what's developing around me. lately I have been seeing an all too familiar pattern that I saw before in the gentrification of our northern neck of the neighborhood when the section towards 17th street from 30th street was slowly transformed into Greenwood Heights. Some realtors in the small print on their pages will note that it's a subdivision or subset of Sunset Park. But unless you ask them they will never volunteer that information, until now.. Well, they can't rename the core of Sunset Park something else. So, the next available option is to give it an adjective like "trendy", "up and coming", "upcoming", "gentrifying", "fashionable", "popular" etc.. So when I got this latest listing in my mailbox as "Live in Trendy Sunset Park Brooklyn" I knew that we have arrived as the next target of the hipsterization wave in Brooklyn. Gone are the days when the neighborhood was know as "Gunset Park", "Needle Park, "grimy", "working class", "ethnic enclave", "industrial", "crime ridden", "blue collar neighborhood", "working class" etc.. No, those days appear to be gone, we are now trendy and fashionable. I wonder how many hipsters are stupid enough to fall for that marketing ploy. Well, judging by the accelerated changes around us and the fact that the realtors are managing to get the rents they are asking for, quite a few. And so goes the process of gentrification. The neighborhood I moved into some 45 years ago has changed and continues to change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not so.. The only constant in life is change and that is true in Sunset Park as it is anywhere else...
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
The Brooklyn Paper does a writeup on local artist Rachel Youen and her current food based art show at the 440 Gallery in Park Slope.
A New York photo blogger named Kitty took the above shot while visiting our Chinatown in our neighborhood. For more shots of New York visit her blog..
Friday, August 22, 2014
In 1984 a young man named Ramon emigrated to the United States from Mexico. It is a typical immigrant success story through hard work, resilience and persistence. His first job was a dishwasher in a restaurant where after a few years he was promoted to chef. He put aside enough money so that in 1996 he opened his own restaurant. By 2004 the stresses and long hours prompted him to close it and he drove for a car service (Acapulco)while he plotted his next move. Within five years in 2009 he bought Acapulco Car service and two years later he bought two competing outfits, Morenita and Azteca Car service on 53rd street. Soon Acapulco will move their location around the corner to 40th street. So if you've seen these cars driving around the neighborhood or have used their services. This is the short version of their story. You can find their pages on our main website. Here and Here
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Somebody just posted this video of a motorbike ride going North on Fourth Avenue on YouTube. Many residents of the neighborhood will know exactly where they are and recognize the buildings on the sides. Kudos to the rider for videoing it. Aren't you glad I track these things on the web? :-)
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The website Voices of New York has an article (translated from Chinese) on a different perspective about the process of gentrification and Sunset Park and adds a bit on the Chinese contribution to the process and notes that mainland Chinese investment in the neighborhood is also helping to drive out working class Chinese from the neighborhood by making it more expensive to live in their own Chinatown. The piece by CUNY Professor Tarry Hun argues for trying to maintain Sunset Park a working class neighborhood. You can read the piece here and if you are a Chinese reader of this blog you can read the original Chinese article here..
Friday, August 15, 2014
Hipsteria takes over Industry city at Mister Sunday dance parties.
They used to be known as Yuppies at one time, but how do you name a disease after yuppies? No, hipster is more fitting a word to invent hipsteria. A disease that invades sleepy neighborhoods of the old fashioned Brooklyn type and turn them into high priced rental spaces with restaurants that sell birdfood sized servings on a plate priced accordingly for the well heeled anorexic and bolemic, always on a diet over paid urban professionals whose idea of work is pushing a sheet of paper around the desk a few times. These are the invaders who are the vanguard of a well orchestrated plot by developers to turn or Sunset Park into yet another version of village like downtown Manhattan. At the website Fast Company writer Erica Berger has an excellent essay explaining the tactics being employed with Jamestown developers in the lead to gentrify Sunset Park. It makes for sober reading and reveals a bit of the underlying process that is changing our neighborhood. Meanwhile, over at Gawker is another article timely in it's appearance, since it names another culprit spreading the disease.. Also, Caesar Zuniga has an open letter against gentrification in the Brooklyn spectator, Mr. Zuniga wants to be our assemblyman. My take on the subject is that opposing these waves of gentrification have always proved fruitless as history has tended to show. It's like trying to drain the ocean with a thimble.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Today we have a piece from what appears to be a Chinese based publication on the Chinese in Sunset park's Chinatown. Nice to get a perspective from their homeland.
A photo and essay collection by a soon to be ex Brooklyn resident Chris Arnade focuses on the Soccer Tavern on 8th Avenue and things he will be missing when he leaves..
The Tech website tecnical.ly realates how a company start up called Suneris found it's new digs in northern Sunset Park on Craigslist. The biomedical company is responsible for a product called Veti-Gel that is used as an application to heal open wounds faster. If anyone recognizes the building below give me a heads up so I can pay them a visit to find out more..
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Image Brooklyn Daily photo by Elizabeth Graham
Both the Brooklyn Paper and the Brooklyndaily websites are carrying a piece by Mathew Perlman about a street theater troupe that is making the rounds in Brooklyn and will arrive at our nabe on August 23. The troupe is giving free performances (or at least we the public aren't paying for it) at various locations and Sunset Park has been picked as one of them. As if we needed more proof of the hipsterization that with gentrification this is one of them. The fact that this event is taking place here is an indication that Sunset Park has arrived as far as hipsterism is concerned. Such performances a mere couple of years ago would have been more likely targeted at our northern neighbor Park Slope or at least the already gentrified section of our neighborhood that real estate marketers have dubbed Greenwood Heights. But, there is no need to go into an emotional state of hipsteria about it. We are bound to see more of this stuff with more art galleries, cafes and art troupes making it into our nabe. We aren't sure yet if hipsteria is an airborne disease or you simply catch it by osmosis or like bed bugs is carried into neighborhoods by new residents who move in. In any case, it appears that hipsteria is here to stay.. Coney Island Brooklynites will catch a preview of what we can expect on August 16. Catch all the details of where and when by clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom. Tentatively, we've been informed it will occur at 44th street between fifth and sixth Avenues at around 2 PM. Bring sanitizer with you, just in case you don't want to catch any hipsteria...
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
There is a plethora of stories about our nabe on the internet today. The first story first appeared in The NY Daily News and has since been picked up by numerous websites and blogs is about "Flunked scammers who ran Sunset Park school repay families and teachers". The Home Reporter did a story on a workshop held at the local Library with regards to the DOT's "Vision Zero" plans that were implemented on the Sunset Park strip of 4th Avenue. The workshop was sponsored by Carlos Menchaca's office. ART HAPS has a post announcement on a show at the Tabla Raza Gallery here in Sunset Park that is running from August 16 to September 27. DNA has a story on the return of the "Atlas Cops and Kids Boxing Club"to Sunset Park. Want to win free tickets to a rooftop movie event this weekend to see "R100"? Check out Vice.com to find out how..
Image Tabla Raza Gallery. Show coming August 16.
Monday, August 11, 2014
The Brooklyn Eagle has an article on the new Shake Shack that recently opened near the Barclay's Center complete with a smorgasbord of photos of the place. (For those wondering because you never heard the term, PASUBA stands for Park Slope, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge.) What is striking is the similarity of the fries and menu to an old fashioned Nathan's in a more upscale setting. The only thing that differentiates it, is the decor and ambiance to justify the higher prices. Other than that, it's just another fast food joint selling burgers and fries. If your thinking of making the trek up north from Sunset Park to check the place out, then maybe the photos in the article may entice you to give them a visit.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Around Brooklyn out in the fringes: I normally cover only Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Park Slope, but every now and then in my travels around Brooklyn I stumble onto something unique. If you are a chess player you know that finding any store to cater to your needs is extremely rare even in New York City. There are only four stores in Manhattan, two are close to each other on Thompson street in the village. But in the outer boroughs this one appears to be the only one. Located on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street just over the border from Park Slope, under the shadow of the Barclay Center, this store specializes in one thing only, the most popular board game in the world, Chess. Inside you will find chess sets to cater to any budget and taste. They also sell books on the subject and magazines devoted to the game. If you are looking for lessons for yourself or your children, they do that too. They can even point you in the direction of some tournaments if you think you're good enough like this $1 million tournament out in Las Vegas this coming October with a hefty entry fee. Check out their website for more information and if you should drop in there for a visit, tell them you heard about it here and that we sent you....
Someone decided that the Dim Sum offerings of our own Pacificana Restaurant would make a good wallpaper for your computer. If you want to download the above wallpaper you can get it here....
In the meantime there seems to be a lot of fascination with Industry City and the website exotics4life.com has a photo montage that includes at leas one shot of Mister Sunday parties on the weekend....
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The Asian patrol story has gotten traction in particular in the Jewish online press as a result of the Shomrim having played a major part in helping to establish it. I visited Menchaca's office and registered my objections and reservations stating that I thought it was a bad idea. You can read about my thoughts here.. The first piece in the orthodox website VOSIZNEIAS with pictures and all. Another piece is at The Jewish Voice. As I stated before, I do not oppose civilian watch patrols. What I object to and I think is dangerous is that these patrols are ethnically based and staffed which is a recipe for ethnic and racial strife down the road. I also don't think that the entire community of Sunset Park was brought in on the decision making process on this and that is something everybody should object to.
At the other end of the spectrum, the website classicalite.com has a photo and written essay on the Mr. Sunday parties being held on weekends at Industry City..
In the meantime, WNYC did a show on global forces at work on Sunset Park. You can listen to the show here, or at least find a link to it..
Monday, August 4, 2014
Image New York Post.
The New York Post has a story on a new Asian Patrol that has recently appeared in Sunset Park. I have seen the cars cruising around the neighborhood for the last month or so. I have a few reservations about this new patrol. Modeled on the Shomrin that patrols Borough Park this patrol cruises with it's cars in Chinatown and it's fringes. I am a little Leary because it has the makeups of an ethnically exclusive patrol in the neighborhood and that is a recipe fro friction especially since the Asian, White and Hispanic communities overlap each other and though the black population is small in Sunset Park they are bound to be the target of suspicion as a result of stereotypes that are bound to come up and stoke friction. The other point I have to make is that we already have an auxiliary police in this city and they operate out of our local precinct which serves the same purpose. These guys could just as well have joined the Auxiliary Police which is under closer supervision by the NYPD. I predict that somewhere down the line there will be an incident just as there have been incidents with the Shomrin in the areas where they operate. The other point I would like to find out about is whether they have a right to use blue or red colored flashing lights on their cars. I was under the impression that there is a state law that such lights are for use only by official emergency vehicles and all other vehicles where restricted to using yellow flashing lights. I could be wrong on this, but I will have to look into it. It all sounds great on paper but I think this is a recipe for trouble down the line. It would have been better if the Chinese had gotten together with other groups in the neighborhood and started a community patrol rather than a separate entity which is based on ethnicity. The fact they are getting away with it, is a testament to the political pull that the Chinese are having and they are starting to flex their muscles. I am speaking from a point of reality on the way life is and the perceptions that people are bound to have. We shall see what happens from here on, but I am just a little cautious about all the negatives. I don't think this was really thought through by either the guys at the local precinct or officials in city government...
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Today's brief scour of the web only produces two stories on our nabe.
Crime in the Hood: PIX11 has a story on the robbery on 8th Avenue while NY1 and the NY Daily News covers a man arrested for rape and impersonating a cop..
Friday, August 1, 2014
Organized by Carlos Menchaca our city council representative and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz a number of people perhaps as many as 40 showed up for a brief demonstration this afternoon in front of the Sunset Park Library asking for more funding for the Sunset Park Library. There was plenty of press on hand including a camera man from local news channel NY1 as well as a reporter from The Brooklyn News. With all the coverage we are getting perhaps we will see the beginning of some badly needed improvements to our local library. Let's see if we get more traction on that on the media...
Menchaca addresses the crowd while Felix Ortiz looks on.
Menchaca speaks to a reporter from NY1 the cable news channel.
Another day around the web and there's too much stuff to write about but no time.
The Brooklyn Eagle has a story on a new cleanup initiative that is being launched on 8th Avenue. Brooklyn Brief does a followup on the story as well.. Let's hope it succeeds..
Yet another post on the city spending $100 million at Brooklyn Army Terminal.. Will we benefit or become victims of the gentrification to follow? Something to think about..
The Brokelyn blog does both food and gentrification. How cool is that?
Thursday, July 31, 2014
One of three new portable air conditioning units installed in the Library today.
It's the last day of July and quite appropriate that the month of August should start with a bang at the local library. After having to endure the place in the sweltering heat for almost a whole month we finally have something really cool (pardon the pun) to talk about today. Upon opening it's doors at 1 PM today, library users for the first time in many days walked into a comfortable environment and were treated to the sight of three brand new portable air conditioning units that were still in the end process of being installed. The temperature is a comfortable 76.8 degrees and bound to get lower as the units kick into gear throughout the rest of the day. I think that a lot of activism by local residents since we first started to write about had a lot to do with it. Calling our local politicians and the Library certainly worked. I doubt that without that action by local citizens we would have seen this day. Let's hope that they are working on a more permanent solution for next summer.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Sunset Park Library's lack of air conditioning is finally getting attention in other outlets outside of the neighborhood after three weeks. My first post after five days when I saw there was not going to be a fix may have been the impetus. But I won't take any credit for it. Yesterday a story appeared in the The Brooklyn Paper and today DNAinfo a website that covers all of New York City picked it up. A temporary fix is due to be in place by next week when the "news" will already be old. However, it's nice to see that the neighborhood is finally getting some attention and people are beginning to realize that things are going on in the nabe besides just the library issue. Is there a chance that one of the three main newspapers will be next on the list? We can only hope..
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
So much stuff and so little time. The web is full of stuff about Sunset Park today and not enough time to write about it in detail..
A Blogger at the Huffpost visited our nabe last April and posted some sketches of her impressions of Sunset Park..
Crain's New York Business with yet another article on Industry City and city and developer investment in the nabe..
And there's a bunch of dupes on other blogs. You would think that someone is story dumping on the press and hyping the story to get reaction. From experience in politics I can tell you that none of this happens by accident. All these fluff pieces are designed to evict a certain reaction and not from long time residents of the nabe. This is all by design to accelerate the process of gentrification, attract investors and renters to the complex. Coincidence that this avalanche of stories appear a few days apart on all the mainstream press? I think not. One theme has been running in all the economic stories about Sunset Park, GENTRIFICATION..