Word's been bouncing around about Colony 1209, a new luxury building located on Dekalb Ave in Bushwick, for a while—last year, the impending development was marketing itself as a massive apartment complex that would appeal to "trendsetting” 20-somethings, bringing bocce ball courts and vintage arcade games to a neighborhood sorely in need of it. In June, Bushwick Daily editor Katarina Hybenova took a tour of the building, checking out model studios (starting at $1875/month), 1 bedrooms ($2,200/month), 2-bedrooms that ran from $2,700 to $3100/month, and the development's gym, screening room, roof, common area and backyard.
Not that any of this is so shocking for a neighborhood that's seen skyrocketing rent and trendiness over the past few years. Bushwick is gentrifying, the earth is warming, spaghetti is delicious, etc. But what's disturbing about the aptsandlofts.com-run Colony 1209, as Samantha Maldonado points out in The Awl today, is specifically how it's being marketed, using language like the "new frontier," "settlers" and "territory"—even taking on the name "Colony"—to draw in uninitiated pioneers with cash to burn. A sampling from the building's website:
- "WELCOME TO COLONY 1209 ON BROOKLYN'S NEW FRONTIER."
- "HOMESTEADING, BUSHWICK-STYLE. Here in bohemian Bushwick, Brooklyn, you'll find a group of like-minded settlers, mixing the customs of their original homeland with those of one of NYC's most historic neighborhoods to create art, community, and a new lifestyle."
- "WE ALREADY SURVEYED THE TERRITORY FOR YOU. Once you've discovered the burgeoning art scene, cutting-edge eateries, historic mansions, yoga studios, and parks, you'll feel like a Bushwick native in no time."
It's not quite the same as advertising for, say, the California Gold Rush [pdf], but considering Bushwick sidewalks have been stamped with "GENTRIFICATION IS THE NEW COLONIALISM" neighborhood-wide, the phrasing straddles the line between tone-deaf and offensive.
Then again, perhaps juxtaposing Bushwick's new wave of tenants with manifest destiny jargon isn't bullshit—perhaps it's just inadvertently calling out gentrification for what it is. After all, Colony 1209's dwellers aren't the first wave of "settlers," nor will they be the last.
We reached out to the public relations company representing Colony 1209, but have not yet received added comment. You can peruse Colony 1209's available no-fee listings in the meantime. And if you're a "pioneer" who can't afford this "frontier," remember that the Gentrification Homestead Act of 2014 promises every plucky settler a fresh start out in East New York.