Wednesday, June 25, 2008
ROOTS IN THE GARDEN
It's no secret, gentrification has a grip on Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I came to this predominately Italian neighborhood about 11 years ago. I like it now, but I liked it better than. In just a decade, dozens of Mom and Pop shops have closed down, old staples like butcher shops, barbershops, deli's and a few bakeries. They've been replaced with chain drug stores, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and even an American Apparel.
Stores are not the only new arrivals. A new wave of yuppies and young families with lots of cash have moved here, sending rents and prices through the roof. Prior to me moving into my parlor level brownstone apartment, this place was renting for $800.00 a month. If I were to move out today, the rent would soar to about $3500.00 a month.
I now pay somewhere in between those figures.
You hear the old-timers tell great stories of what this neighborhood was once like and how it's changed. In just 11 years, Carroll Gardens feels different. Imagine the difference 20, 30, 40 or 50 years must make.
I present to you two videos, one a short documentary on the old Carroll Gardens, featuring interviews with long time residents and shopkeepers. Watch that video first at this link. http://www.mediastorm.org/workshops_0002.htm
Now, take a look at a the humorous take of a couple of 20-somethings who just recently moved to the neighborhood. This is a video of what they think the old-timers think they think.
It's all very sad, really. The old-timers are right, yet the kids who are moving into the neighborhood think Carroll Gardens is what hip is all about. Years ago, it was SOHO in Manhattan, then Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn and now, Carroll Gardens is the next "in" spot. The only problem with being the "in" spot is that it now costs a lot more to be "in."