Race, Class and Gentrification in Ditmas Park


Jan Rosenberg, a 20-year veteran of Ditmas Park (having left "trendy Park Slope" before it achieved true trendiness) and founder of "Friends of Cortelyou", offers an insider's view of gentrification in a publication called New Geography. The neighborhood, she says, has the "largest concentration of Victorian houses in America," and contains "the only block in New York with subway stations at each end." (Fact check, anyone?) The neighborhood suffered white (and black) flight in the 1960s, ultimately resulting in economic and racial diversity in the surrounding apartment buildings, but she says the two sections rarely interacted, and downtown DP remained a ghost town. Then, local folks got together to sell co-ops (the writer became a broker herself) and coax businesses to set up shop there. "As I write this, the owner of a successful Manhattan restaurant is looking closely at Cortelyou, hoping to open in a 'real neighborhood' where customers support local businesses. No one knows yet where the economy is headed, or what this means for our neighborhood. But we now have a vibrant neighborhood. This is no longer just a location where the houses are a comparative bargain. It’s an area with an identity." We've seen many a successful new business sprout up on Cortelyou, though others (most recently this hardware store) have fallen prey to the souring economy, and housing prices sure have leapt in the area. What's your take on Ditmas Park's changes?
Gentrification from the Inside Out in Brooklyn's Ditmas Park [New Geography]
Photo by Flatbush Gardener.

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