Saturday, January 5, 2008

White People Move In, The World Ends

Yesterday as I was getting out of the house I saw a white couple walking down the block. What struck me about them was that they seemed out of place. They were somewhere possibly in their mid to late twenties. So white, they looked anemic. They looked like they belonged somewhere in Ohio rather than New York City. White New Yorkers just look different than other white people. You can tell who they are for the most part. So it wasn't hard not to notice these two as they were gallivanting down the block. All of a sudden they turned and started to go up the stairs of one of the brownstones down the block. Must be visiting, I thought to myself. But no wait, the guy had a key and he used it to enter the building. At that moment I realized that I just saw the first white people to move on the block in well over twenty years.

After several decades of white people abandoning the block for parts unknown, it got to the point of having just one family of white people left on the block and me (though I also classify as hispanic). What this change portends is hard to say at this point. Is it just the tip of the iceberg? I live in a kind of forgotten corner of Sunset Park on the border with Borough Park. Not the kind of section that would be at the forefront of gentrification. Yet here they were, two white people had somehow in a moment of insanity decided to move onto my block. What motivated them I wonder. Are they the vanguard of those dreaded hipsters I had heard so much about? Will Starbucks open a branch on 8th Avenue to cater to these people? What if this scene is being replicated on other blocks. Has the gentrification invasion begun? Or is it just a glitch in the system, an aberration from an alternate universe?

This is probably how gentrification begins. A sneak attack via moving van in the dead heat of night. The neighbors caught unawares until one morning there they are, two anemic looking Midwesterners strolling down the block. Oh well, the only thing certain about change is that it's certain.

[where: 11232]
[where: 11219]