Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Library Update Day 16, That Damned Air Conditioner

It's a hefty 87 degrees inside the Sunset park library today. It appears that Menchaca's news on Monday was bogus. It's still not Thursday so we will se tomorrow if crews show up. In the meantime they just posted the above at the library entrance and according to some staff they will install portable air conditioning units the first week in August. That doesn't sound like they will be installing a new air conditioner or fixing the old one. I hope it's not a temporary solution to keep us off their backs. Keep the pressure going folks. We need a permanent solution....

Sunset Parker Fights Losing Battle with Gentrification..

The Daily News has a story on local resident Imani Henry and his project to try to stem the tide of gentrification in our borough. It is not the first nor wilt be the last. When I came to Sunset park in 1970  the neighborhood was a mere 6 years old. Modern Sunset Park having been created by taking northern Bay Ridge and southern Park Slope to cobble together the areas that were in decline and separate them from the  other two neighborhoods to preserve their real estate values which the city uses to raise revenue via real estate values.  The place has changed radically in all that time. It is now the largest Chinatown in New York City. Most of the predominantly Puerto Rican population has left. The Norwegians, Finns, Irish and Italians who once dominated the southern part of the nabe have mostly moved on though a few are left. There are still strong pockets of Dominicans left but most of the Hispanics in the nabe are now Mexican or Central Americans. On my block gone are the Puerto Rican and Italian neighbors replaced by Chinese on either side who rent to Mexicans and Hipsters that have started to move in due to the cheaper rents. The northern part of the neighborhood has become a subset named Greenwood Heights since realtors have renamed the area in a marketing ploy to get higher prices for rentals and houses. The irony is that they have to revert back to naming it Sunset Park if the gentrification wave continues though old timers still living there will tell you it's still Sunset Park. If there is one constant in this neighborhood it's change and the only recourse is to be able to adapt to the new conditions. If there were no change the neighborhood would have remained the depressed, drug infested, crime ridden area that it had been in the late 60's and 70's. I am not at all nostalgic for those days when the Park Itself had become known citywide as "Needle Park". Some residents will remain behind like myself. Others will be newcomers. The Chinese will stay here for some time since they tend to settle long term in an area for generations. But even there change has occurred with the original Cantonese settlers being quickly replaced by Fujianese .  The only constant is change and like it or not our neighborhood is gentrifying. We may not even recognize the place in ten years..


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