Lately, “new Berlin” has become shorthand for an under-visited European city that is cheap, fun, and up-and-coming. Ever since creeping gentrification and a massive rise in tourism have thrown into question the German capital’s status of the world’s “coolest” city, people have been racing to determine its successor. Candidates besides Leipzig include Krakow (Poland), Vilnius (Lithuania), Belgrade (Serbia), Tallinn (Estonia), and Warsaw (Poland). They share, to varying degrees, many of the elements that made Berlin famous in the 1990s: affordability, empty buildings that can be repurposed and a sizeable arts scene. But unlike Berlin, they won’t have the opportunity to develop their cool reputation slowly—and are just as likely [...]
I joined the line at Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood at 8:40 a.m., on the dot. Despite the early hour, the temperature was already in the eighties. The light and sky were big and empty in the way that the light and sky are only in the West. When I moved here, in the nineties, everyone used to debate whether or not “SOMA” was a real thing. Once largely empty warehouses and live-work lofts, it's now full of excellent restaurants and soaring apartments and there’s even a Whole Foods on 4th street, and so, we've all arrived at the conclusion that it does [...]
"Gentrification is a loaded, emotionally fraught fact of urban life that's had a dramatic impact in neighborhoods across New York City," and you can watch it happen here in GIF form.
While we're all assessing the Bloomberg legacy, we should remember a wonky but big part of the city’s transformation in the last dozen years: the rise of the Business Improvement District. Of New York City’s 68 BIDs in operation today—the latest being the hard-fought SoHo BID—24 were founded since 2002. The BID model runs the gamut from corporate-financed midtown groups, like the 34th Street Partnership, to smaller outer-borough associations that pool money for holiday lights and maybe pay for some extra street cleaning and trash removal. They have taken up roots and cleaned up their areas—and now several are looking to extensively widen their borders, including one in [...]
San Francisco's once-barren industrial waterfront between the Giants ballpark and Candlestick Point is rapidly becoming a 13-mile-long green patchwork of restored wetlands, parks and a maritime museum connected by bicycle paths, walking trails and the nearby Third Street MUNI light rail. It's part of the greening and peopling of Port District waterfronts that includes an accidental bird wonderland where a cargo pier was never completed, the open space around Candlestick Park (which will be demolished this year and replaced with 6,000 homes) and lots of little pieces along the shore being put together by the Port of San Francisco and the city's parks department.[...]
Early this year, John Patrick Leary, a professor of American literature at Wayne State University, published a story in Guernica called "Detroitism" about, primarily, the two competing journalistic and artistic narratives about the Motor City.
There’s the Detroit Lament, which he describes as an examination of the city’s decline that is mostly told through the examination of physical spaces. You may have heard it referred to as "ruin porn." And there’s the Detroit Utopia, stories which purport to show a new way forward for the city, be it through urban farming, $100 homes or bicycling. (Utopian depictions of Detroit, Leary noted, tend to involve young creative white people.)
A sign goes up in a rapidly changing New York neighborhood. It contains this joke. On Facebook, a reasonable demand for an apology: "This is racist at worst and insensitive at best."
A survey of the responses: — "Cruelty"?!? Really? Don't make everything a race issue, princess.
—^^ Agreed. Sickening – Typical transplant bullshit. Go elsewhere with this – we don't want this here. Honestly, I'm so sick and tired of all the nubies that need to act up like this – Here's a thought: MOVE TO FLORIDA. IT'S VERY HIP AND SUPREMELY IRONIC THERE.
—Phew almost went off topic there. Anyway, this sign does not offend me.[...]
One of the most obscene things I learned as a barista was how eager people are to be liked. NYU sophomores, the ones with Jansport backpacks in full makeup at 9 a.m., stuttered their orders and shyly complimented me on my nose ring. I semi-patiently listened to innumerable Wikipedia-style monologues about the music I was playing from men in their twenties trying to render their business attire invisible with cultural know-how. I was given zines, mixtape-party fliers, home-recorded chillwave demos.
I said things like "How’s the app going?" and "Welcome to the neighborhood." I answered questions for new Greenpoint residents—of which there were more each year—about the best place [...]
"2013 may be the year San Francisco turned on Silicon Valley and may be the year the world did too."
A tall man with a boy’s face stood outside Philz, a $$-on-Yelp coffee shop with a branch in the Tenderloin. He approached the sleek pre-yuppies going in and out and said, “Excuse me?”
He was white and young and fairly clean—nothing like the bums they’d ignored all day—so many stopped. When he then asked for change, they would duck and weave into the AC’d haven of $4 coffee with fresh mint sprigs. (The nice ones stumbled over an apology.) He moved on.
This Philz (a Bay Area chain) is on Van Ness and Turk, a block from Polk Street and its famous gay and transgender prostitutes. It backs up to [...]
From this morning's press release on BRUNCH:
Authored by Council Member Dan Garodnick, the bill will allow sidewalk cafes to open at 10 a.m.—two hours earlier—on Sundays. Restaurants today are prohibited from opening their sidewalk cafes before noon on Sundays, despite being able to open in the morning every other day of the week. "New Yorkers will not be denied their Sunday brunch in the beautiful weather,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick, Chair of the City Council's Committee on Consumer Affairs. “This regulation is outdated, widely disregarded, and hostile to business and brunch-loving New Yorkers. It needs to change."
Ooohhkay. What's next, allowing dancing in bars?
"According to urban planner Richard Layman, a long-time chronicler of new restaurants’ relation to shifting neighborhood demographics, Thai eateries are generally among the 'second wave' of retailers to set up shop in an up-and-coming part of town. Mexican, or Tex-Mex, usually comes first, in Layman’s view. But Thai is an increasingly prevalent indicator of change, he says." —Understanding gentrification by new restaurants. (We presume the Mexicans take over the leases when the Chinese plexiglass-window places close up; see also Williamsburg, 1996.)
The influx of the young and rich into Brooklyn is, according to the New York Post, "gentrifying" jury pools, making them more trustful of the police and less trustful of plaintiffs in civil suits. “People who can afford to live in Brooklyn now don’t have the experience of police officers throwing them against cars and searching them. A person who just moves here from Wisconsin or Wyoming, they can’t relate to [that]. It doesn’t sound credible to them.”
"Bu-bu-but," the young white man protests, "I've seen The Wire. Twice. Except for the second season which I don't like all that much though I can't quite put my [...]
"For 32-year-old jewelry designer Donna Yu, who supplements her art with a dog-walking business, the drawbacks of gentrification — rising property values, disenfranchisement — hardly outweigh the perks.'I benefit from it,' said Yu, a Toronto transplant who claims that since beginning her dog-walking service in 2009, the number of competing services in and around Fort Greene has tripled. 'I can have a decent cup of coffee.'"
"Among experts, a furor continues to swirl over whether gentrification and displacement are conjoined. What qualifies as displacement, anyway? Forcible eviction by a rapacious landlord, obviously, but what about a rent that creeps up while a household’s income doesn’t? How about the intangible, dispiriting feeling of being out of place, or a young person’s knowledge that leaving the family home means living in another borough? Or the dislocation that comes when an industry flees, taking its jobs along? These pressures can affect investment bankers and nurses, as well as busboys and the unemployed, and it’s [...]
The day my friends and I moved into the warehouse, we found cat shit in the corners and a cat skeleton in the sub-basement. The former tenant’s graffiti tags covered every conceivable surface, and the anarchists who lived upstairs made strange sounds, rendered uninterpretable by their floorboards, our ceiling. Whenever they dropped a heavy object (what were they doing up there?), a fine film of dust drifted down onto our heads. The door of my new room was red, and someone had spray-painted it with dripping, silver letters: SLUT ROOM.
None of us had ever smudged a house before, but this one seemed in dire [...]
The Fordham Institute analyzed the fastest-whitening neighborhoods in America between 2000 and 2010, according to census data. Brooklyn had four of the most-whitened zip codes of the top 25 most-whitened zip codes in all of America. We win!
And when you map it out, those four zip codes actually make up just two areas that are contiguous. I've combined them here on Google Maps.
• First: 11238 and 11205. That's Prospect Heights, essentially, to the south, and then where Fort Greene and Clinton Hill meet. Lemme tell you, I was right living right there in the middle, on the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene border, last week, and glorious Clinton Avenue [...]
You know when you’re in a panel discussion in New York and the topic turns to gentrification, and the audience gets very quiet while everyone prays there won’t be some guy who stands up and says something excruciating? L. J. Davis was that guy.
Davis, a writer whose career was long enough that a lot of people forgot who he was for stretches along the way, died last week at 70. He wrote four novels in the '60s and '70s and, over a longer span, produced a substantial body of cranky and annoyingly accurate journalism. (A Harper’s article that essentially called the 1987 market crash won him a [...]