New York Gentrification Watch
I live in East Flatbush and every once in awhile, I’ll take a bike ride out to the Flatbush-Nostrand Avenue Junction. Bike rides can run the gamut from exhilarating to boring. In the case of these trips out to the Junction, they’re usually a delight. The reason? Much has been made of so-called
“Victorian Flatbush” but on the other side of Flatbush Avenue is “Suburban” East Flatbush, for lack of a better term. Here, you’ll find an eclectic mix of wood-frame and brick houses running the gamut from Queen Anne and Mediterranean to Italianiate and colonial. They’re by no means as impressive as the sprawling houses in Victorian Flatbush but every so often you’ll come across a house full of character.
On my previous bike trips through this area, I always made a mental note to grab my camera and do a photo tour of the houses there on a nice summer day. However, things being what they were, I never did and this mental note started turning into a kind of running joke, like something out of a sitcom. I’d hit the bike, sigh wistfully as I rode past the houses, then tell myself once again to make sure and take a photo tour in the future.
Well, in January 2020, the joke finally turned sour. Why? Because instead of seeing the usual mix of quaint brick and wood-frame houses, I saw this on New York Avenue:
As you can see in the above photos, parasitic development has made further inroads into East Flatbush. Thanks to predatory real estate home buyers, one of a kind wood-frame and brick houses are being destroyed to make way for ugly modernist apartment buildings that will only be affordable to those who can’t afford Manhattan. And, true to parasitic development, the new buildings are being placed and designed in such a way as to both irrevocably change the character of the area, as well as infuriate neighboring home owners into selling out.