Gentrification has almost become synonymous with Brooklyn. Neighborhood after neighborhood—Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Carroll Gardens—has been transformed as real estate developers have scooped up older buildings, putting pressure on tenants to move out, rehabbing apartments and charging three or four times the previous rents. Many people can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Listen to what three interviewees say about how gentrification has affected them and their neighborhoods in a podcast created by Prof. Miguel Macias.
Cecilia John immigrated to Clinton Hill from Sierra Leone in West Africa in the 1960’s. “When I moved here in the 60’s, all races and nationalities in the same boat, same condition, all trying to achieve something.” she told Adanne Osefoh. “Now the rich and poor, there’s such a gap. Those who lived here so long can’t live here.”
Joseph Sorrentino’s parents grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York, before moving to Queens and Long Island. He moved to Brooklyn eight years ago. “I feel like I’m coming full circle,” he told Kevin Jones. “I’m coming home to Brooklyn.” He worries about the fact that the diversity of the neighborhood he lives in, that he loves is being threatened by gentrification.
Luisa Micelli Russo, who grew up in Carroll Gardens, discusses the changes in her old neighborhood in her interview with her daughter Valerie. “My first apartment was a one bedroom on Sackett Street and I rented it for $200. Even back then it was cheap! Now I hear a three-bedroom apartment is $4,500, $4,800, $6,000, $7,000. It’s unfathomable to even think about living in Carroll Gardens again. It breaks my heart.”
But at the same time, each talks about why they stay in Brooklyn. “It’s busy, it has life…it has a vibe,” said Sorrentino. Listen to what each has to say.