Gentrification Blues

I live in Brooklyn. I live in a really beautiful part of Brooklyn. It’s near Prospect Park and it used to be populated with really cool people. Until Williamsburg and Lower Manhattan shook itself out into my neighborhood. Key word: NEIGHBORHOOD. I’m neighbors with the people I see and have seen everyday for the last 12 years. I nod “how do” and smile at the people walking down the street. Even if I’m in a shitty mood, I acknowledge the people I see.

Sunday I formally decided to be an urban nuisance. Let me back up. Friday at my favorite bar I kicked a young man in the chest who was going after a friend of mine. Punches in faces, brawling, dragging another friend in the street, police, nothing. The kids, the black kids, were just wildin’ out. It felt like when the Smiths descended in the Matrix and there was this kind of hopelessness. Not hopeless because of the fighting situation (my friends weren’t badly hurt and said it felt like a bunch of soft punches); but hopelessness over the environment that created these young men. This skinny little thing was a boy. And obviously crazy as hell to go after a man who was at least a head taller than him.

So fast-forward to that Sunday. I’m going to help another friend move back into the neighborhood and as I’m walking to the train a couple comes out of a building on Sterling. They’re walking beside me (white man & Asian lady) and I’m bopping along to my walkman (okay- iPod, but walkman shows my age better). The girl starts whispering to the man as we reach a light and they’re now trying to get away from me. AWAY FROM ME!!! Dude, I’m so offended. They’re the ones walking side by side with me. Then they start walking really fast and I’m like “are you fucking kidding me?” So I start walking faster with them. Step in step. These assholes. Then they start walking slow, and I start walking slow. Now I’m obviously fucking with them. I’m wearing my Howard t-shirt for christssake. And I wanted to fuck with them. I know you think that just because your dumb ass is paying 3x my rent to probably live in ½ my apartment that doesn’t mean you get to be afraid of all black faces. Then these geniuses just stop. I guess they just stopped because by now I’m laughing out loud. But I’m so offended by the behavior of the people who’ve moved here in the last year, priced out the people who built this NEIGHBORHOOD and now think they own it. If you’re that goddamn important then I guess you should have stayed your white asses in Manhattan. And that’s not to be racist- it’s only whites moving here. And they call the places retaining blacks “the bad part” of the neighborhood.

So now the ugly assed glass and steel monstrosity is almost finished and they get to share my gym. This is going to be a real treat. I don’t mind the neighborhood changing, what I mind is the privileged behavior of people who can’t afford to live in Manhattan anymore, came over here cause Miranda moved here on Sex and the City, and give the current residents their asses to kiss.

And NO! It’s not okay to change your baby’s nappy IN THE WINDOW OF A BAR! NOT OKAY!

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