Monday, March 3, 2014

When gentrification is welcome

From Clean Up Jamaica Queens:

Why is it, when the subject of gentrification is brought up, people immediately think that white people are invading to take over (and push others out) and put in fancy coffee shops, wine bars, nice sit-down restaurants, upscale retail stores, while property values go up, like those are such a horrible thing for a community. But when other ethnic groups come into a community (and take over say Pakistani people and Middle Eastern people in parts of Jamaica) and crappy retail and low class food places appear, one family homes are torn down to put up cheap low class three story apartment building to house 20 families, yards are cemented over, trees cut down, illegal curb cut and illegal parking pads appear, garbage cans overflowing with no lids and all kinds of garbage and litter are dumped everywhere, then this is considered “diverse and vibrant” from the powers to be?

Ask most people (of any ethnic group) and more than likely they will go with the former, gentrification. Because gentrification improves a neighborhood, standards go up, a better selection of stores and restaurants, a clean environment, pride in a community where people care. I mean who in their right mind wants to live in filth, garbage and high crime where you watch the value of your home drop?

All communities want to better themselves, at least I hope so, even Jamaica, but to do that, if you cannot get your shit together like Jamaica, then it is time for gentrification. Jamaica has had decades to improve themselves on their own and they have failed miserably. Quality of life in Jamaica has just gotten worse, so now it is time for gentrification.

Sure some people will get pushed out, just like so many people over the ages have been pushed out of areas when change comes, that is the way of the world. But the benefits of gentrification certainly outweigh any negative as some people being pushed out. Take Jamaica for instance, if gentrification starts to take place, yes, some people will definitely have to look elsewhere, especially renters, but many who get pushed out are the same ones who are causing the issues in Jamaica, the ones who toss their garbage and litter anywhere they want. But most people benefit, especially the home owners and in the case of Jamaica, black home owners, who will finally see the value of their home increase as opposed to decrease.


A lot of the gentrification we have seen over the past decade or so did not come about naturally, but through massive upzoning, and happened in neighborhoods that really didn't need all that much "cleaning up". Greenpoint, Hunters Point? Their only crimes were that they were low-density communities on the waterfront. For someplace like Jamaica, though, I concur with Joe's assessment that some gentrification would be welcome.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just think back. say, 90 or so years ago, when Italians, Germans, Jews , and Irish settled in Jamaica. It was a brilliant and respectable section of out city. Then came the 50's and 60s, and something changed. And it's only gotten worse since.

georgetheatheist said...

Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. Joe's contrasting photos - gentrification vs. ghettoization - on his website posting hit the nail on the head. Absolutely brilliant.

Anonymous said...

"For someplace like Jamaica, though, I concur with Joe's assessment that some gentrification would be welcome."

Welcome...until those displaced turn up in the basements and sublets in YOUR community.

It is already occurring in eastern Flushing- Auburndale and Bayside.

We have restaurant workers who were priced out of LIC and Astoria who have moved out there.

Anonymous said...

Jamaica doesn't want to clean themselves up. All you get is garbage living in Jamaica! And if you look for an apartment over there, they want to charge the same rent as bayside and Queens village and fresh meadows! That's a joke! Everytime I go to hillside avenue I smell curry everywhere! I walked into a 99 cent store over there to buy a gift bag. And I seen these socks being sold loosely sitting in a cardboard box on the floor....these socks looked like they were used! Lol.....Queens....vibrant.....diverse....and full of trash.

Joe Moretti said...

Look, I am not a huge fan of gentrification, especially when it happens in areas where it did not need to happen like Long Island City and parts of Brooklyn. My article refers to Jamaica. Sure I would rather a community revitalize themselves, but that is not the case here in Jamaica with the many low-class residents who are causing the issues and not changing, the lack of enforcement in quality of life by the city and the poor local elected leaders, so to me some gentrification seems to be the answer. Jamaica has had decades to turn themselves around and they have not and the situation here is not getting any better.

So your choices are 1) just let things continue to go down hill 2) the community revitalizes itself or 3) gentrification

Since here in Jamaica, number 1 is already happening and number 2 never happened, the only option now is number 3.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me - the Basement People in Flushing are an invading horde from Asia. These people were never priced out of any gentrified area, but rather, are in the process of turning once-beautiful (okay, somewhat pretty) Flushing into another Jamaica!

We have basements converted into cubicles and filled with Chinese men or several Chinese families.

You can always tell where they live - just take a walk on garbage day! Go to Main St. - it's much worse than Jamaica, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"We have basements converted into cubicles and filled with Chinese men or several Chinese families."

You would be hard pressed to find a neighborhood in QUeens where basements are not turned into mini-aprartments.

Even along Bayside Avenue they exist. Its nearly impossible to pay rent/mortgage without it.

Anonymous said...

Get ready for a difficult truth: When people acquire a middle-class life by level of education and income, they flee from Queens which is new a magnet for illegals and public assistance clients who are not likely to improve their standard of living by much more than what they had in Mexico City, Mumbai, and Shanghai. But its better than they had there. They are not going back.

The lifestyle of 16 to 20 unrelated people in a two family, the pave-overs, the garbage, is the lifestyle they brought with them. They are not being assimilated into Queens. Their numbers overwhelm any process of assimilation and stores accommodating them in their own language combine to inhibit their adaptation to Queens. Queens is changing in so many ways to meet their "needs". Queens is assimilating into a diverse blend of slums from all over the world. It is impossible to do otherwise.

Some gentrification spill-over from Manhattan is welcome but ultimately an insignificant sideshow. It's not going to transform Queens.

georgetheatheist said...

Jamaica? I'm moving to Hudson, NY.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it in order for gentrification to hit Jamiaca, East New York, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill will have to be hit first. Those neighborhoods have more historic housing (Although Indians are doing a great job at ruining them) and are closer to the hip neighborhoods, they also don't have any projects and tons of home owners who will cash in. Face it Jamaica it'll be 100 years so stop whining.

J said...

this current wave of gentrification is not the kind you want.there are too many predators that have no concern for upstanding working class people,the struggling check to check types and honest plain-spoken agitators like JM.

as for the last anon about those eastern queens towns,there is nothing and has never been anything aesthetic pleasing or artistic in those places.

since I am only a commenter,and not a good writer this article nails it and should be printed and stapled everywhere in the city

http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2014/03/on-spike-lee-hyper-gentrification.html

Queens Crapper said...

I don't think that Jeremiah piece is well-written or, for that matter, accurate. Gentrification has been around forever. What hasn't happened before is government-sponsored gentrification via massive upzoning of areas to benefit developers of luxury condos. While Giuliani dabbled in that a little, it was Bloomberg that pushed it to the forefront of the City Hall agenda. And of course, we were told all these new rich people would pay for more services. We got less services.

Anonymous said...

Richmond Hill is full of Victorian houses. That should be yuppie-bait in a few years.

Joe Moretti said...

Anon stated:

"Let's face it in order for gentrification to hit Jamiaca, East New York, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill will have to be hit first. Those neighborhoods have more historic housing (Although Indians are doing a great job at ruining them) and are closer to the hip neighborhoods, they also don't have any projects and tons of home owners who will cash in. Face it Jamaica it'll be 100 years so stop whining."

------------------

First off there is no whining here, just my thoughts on gentrification specifically on Jamaica.

Second those places you mentioned are off the beaten path from subway stations as opposed to Jamaica, which not only has the E, F and J, but the LIRR that runs through a few Jamaica neighborhoods.

As far as projects, Jamaica has two Baisley Parks and South Jamaica Housing projects. By the way, the largest housing project in the country sits right smack in Long Island City, Queensbridge.

Jamaica also has some historic houses and well as the most landmark buildings in all of Queens and it has better potential than those other places you mentioned.

But maybe if arm chair quarterbacks like yourself, actually did something besides posting negative comments when anyone states something, maybe Queens would not be in the shape it is.

So stop your damn apathetic attitude.

Anonymous said...

I agree Jamaica is not well kept,but disagree with the comments that say gentrification is great. First, people need to get out of their heads and accept diversity (non-white) populations moving into our communities. I have to argue all the time with my parents (Richmond Hill) Indians/Guyanese/SE Asians with how they don't keep their property clean. My prospective these people don't push education in their families,keep to themselves and commit less crime. Second, I agree with the earlier comment how communities closer to the border of Bk will see an explosion of this population moving in due to people being forced out of rental spaces.The J and A trains connect more people from Bk to SE Queens than the E train does. People in Flushing will be pushed out with big development projects moving in like Flushing Commons & Willets Point. Only a matter of time Jamaica becomes "white" again.Education to business owners on cleaning their sidewalk space in front is important,reporting grafitti to 311 (keep those numbers), educating our youth to become involved and holding our elected leaders accountable! Yes BP Katz, Senator Sanders I am talking to you! See this article about her response to homeless people around Jamaica:

http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2014/03/katz-happy-with-status-quo-in-jamaica.html

Anonymous said...

ENY will never come back...........

Joe Moretti said...

Anon stated:

"I agree Jamaica is not well kept,but disagree with the comments that say gentrification is great. First, people need to get out of their heads and accept diversity (non-white) populations moving into our community."

-----------------

First off Jamaica is not well kept, it is a disaster of epic proportions compared to other places in Queens.

Second, no one has an issue with non-white in a community or moving in and no one has a problem with diversity. The problem stems from those who come into a community and have a lack of respect by throwing garbage/litter on the ground, not keeping the front of their property clean, not properly disposing of garbage, blasting of music late at night be it in a car, house or apartment for everyone else to hear. It is these types of quality of life issues that people have problems with, not the ethnic background. It just happens that most of the quality of life issues are coming from some immigrants or some people of color.

Most people in Jamaica who own homes are people of color, black and I am sure they do not like what is going on with their community as far as quality of life issues are. Many of us choose to live in NYC because of diversity, what we dislike are slobs that ruin communities with dirty unsanitary conditions.

If you need to be education on the proper way of disposing of garbage, then you are a complete asshole, no matter where you come from.

RESPECT!

Anonymous said...

Why do people prefer immigration as opposed to gentrification?
Ohh idk BECAUSE YOU ARENT BEING PRICED OUT TO MAKE WAY FOR PRECIOUS LITTLE ENTITLED WHITE HIPSTER SNOWFLAKES.

Anonymous said...

Those hipster asswipes come out of no where and decided they like our neighborhoods. People like myself born and raised here have no other choice than to move away because these privileged jerks want to take every decent living space in NY. Leave Queens ALONE!!!
And take your fucking brunches with you.