Scientific Proof That Gentrification Will Hit Brownsville But Not Canarsie

Stephen Smith, writing in onion-esque form at the Observer, believes that gentrification in Brooklyn has finally reached its end game, and is calling Brownsville the last frontier (in Brooklyn at least.)

Well, if Brownsville truly is the end of the line, we should be able to compare interest in it to interest in Bushwick a few years ago. Those first steps: those pioneering hipster adventures out into wild urban frontiers, fueled by a burning question- "what's ACTUALLY out there?"- and a few PBRs, predate actual settlement. Lets check the Google trends:

This graph tells a very clear story! Bushwick has a very constant, if slightly increasing, rate of interest over the past 10 years. Which would make sense given what's happening on the ground. Until 2010 however, interest in Brownsville seems to remain flat. Isabella and Ferdinand holding court at Roberta's didn't authorize exploration until 2010, when it seems the fixie Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria finally left for uncharted territory.

But Brownsville is over! It's obviously already been discovered. Lets compare this to the even more distant lands of East New York and Canarsie:

I'm not sure why there's such high variance screwing with the scale, but it seems like East New York and Canarsie are at least 3 years away from becoming as discovered as Brownsville is today. These are still magical lands, marked on maps as "there be dragons here."

The more interesting point in the article involves the South and East Asian immigrants filtering into these far flung neighborhood. The neighborhood I grew up in in the East Bronx, destined to forever be a boring backwater, is going through similar ethnic change. Ever since white flight in the 70s, city dynamics have been viewed as what's happening with white people vis-a-vis "undesirable" minorities. First the black people moved in and scared off the whites, and now the white people are displacing the blacks and hispanics. There are serious problems that are happening on both sides of this process, but focusing on just one process ignores everything else that's going on. Can you imagine hearing stories about what neighborhood the Asians are going to move to next? Flushing is so over, it's all about Bensonhurst now.

I think it's a good thing that we're not hearing things like this. Ethnic diversity is spreading through New York.  Recognize the negatives of gentrification and try to fight against them, but change your focus. Instead of focusing on how young white hipsters are expanding their sphere of influence in the city, focus on the more general trend that young people are more comfortable with living with people who are different than themselves, our formerly balkanized neighborhoods are starting to become less so, and this underlying trend has both positives and negative effects.

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