The Gray Lady tackles the gentrification of Bedford-Stuyvesant today—and essentially, what they are saying is that Bed-Stuy is now the domain of organic bodegas, tricycle riders, foie gras-filled doughnuts, and doughnut summonses. But we're just grateful that they didn't ask if Bed-Stuy is the new Paris.
Between 2000 and 2010, the white population soared 633 percent in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the biggest percentage increase of any racial or ethnic group in any NYC neighborhood (including Harlem, which jumped over 400 percent in that time). According to the 2010 census, the neighborhood is now barely 60 percent black, down from 75 percent a decade ago.
And recently, blacks have become a minority of the population for the first time in 50 years in the older Bedford section west of Throop Avenue. “Both the fall of the crime rate and the improvement of the subway were conditions that made this neighborhood more attractive to people who might not have considered living there in the past,” said John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. But have they considered whether UFO's are a factor as well?
Steven Romalewski, director of the mapping service of the Center for Urban Research at CUNY’s Graduate Center, which analyzed the census results, said that everyone is being pushed eastward: “you can see how the white population, for example, is shifting eastward into traditionally black areas, while blacks are also moving eastward, especially to Flatlands and Canarsie.” While some, such as Common Grounds owner Tremaine Wright, welcome the more diverse neighborhood, the Times says racial integration has had mixed results thus far.
“Some white residents are involved in local block associations and community-based advocacy groups. But there are also a number of white families and single hipsters moving into Bed-Stuy, as renters and owners, who seem to be disconnected from, unaware of, and oblivious to Bed-Stuy’s rich, historical legacy of social capital, community networks and its politics,” said John L. Flateau, a professor of public administration at Medgar Evers College.
We spoke to Spencer Scanlon, a white Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who moved in over three years ago. He told us he's seen the neighborhood change greatly over that period, but has had a very positive experience becoming part of the community:
The main appeal of Bed-Stuy for me is the neighborhood feel—ever since I moved in a few years ago, I've always felt welcomed by my neighbors. Everyone looks out for one another, says hello, stops to chat, smiles at each other...it's a great place to call home. When I moved to the neighborhood, my roommate and I were among the first white folks in the area, and now there are a lot more, but the neighborhood is very accepting, so no one seems to mind.