Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Borders of Sunset Park

It seems to me on speaking to many people that many are not sure what the borders of Sunset Park are. The map below published by the New York Times is a fairly accurate approximation. There is also the Wikipedia article on Sunset Park which describes the borders of the nabe and gives a brief history. The only difference between our map and the Wikipedia article is that the article extends the east border to 9th Avenue. Some people may not like the way the borders are structured. Old timers in what used to be Northern Bay Ridge until 1964 may want to be back in Bay Ridge. People who live in what used to be Southern Park Slope wish they were in Park Slope. The evolution of the neighborhoods in the last 40 years would make people feel that way. Some areas that were nothing to brag about 40 years ago have changed drastically for the better and being part of those neighborhoods would certainly drive up property values. Go to the northern part of the nabe in what used to be Southern Park Slope and people will insist they don't live in Sunset Park but in something called Greenwood Heights. Perhaps at some point in the future the borders will be redrawn. I suspect the wave of gentrification spilling over from the Slope southward might have something to do with it. The irony is that most of these people moved into Sunset Park because the property values were cheaper. Now they want to be part of the slope so their properties will be worth a slight bit more. I actually think that we haven't seen the end of the rise of Sunset Park nor it's evolution. Go back a mere twenty years and this neighborhood is totally different from what it was then.

In any case, borders are what borders are. At the moment, they are what they are and there is little we can do about it until another city charter revision comes along. But as things evolve, I suspect more and more people will want to be identified with Sunset Park even if they live in the nabe. When I moved here in 1970 Sunset Park was almost a drug infested ghetto and Sunset Park (the park itself) had already earned it's reputation and name as "needle Park". No decent person wanted to be associated with the nabe. What a difference 37 years make. We have one of the highest employment rates in the city, property values are among the highest, we're getting a new high school and so much more. Yep, I think we finally have things to brag about in the nabe.

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