Jamaica, Queens the “New Williamsburg’?

When tourists come to visit New York City, they’re looking for neighborhoods that have hold enough value and culture in architecture and artistic revenues to strike interest. Such neighborhoods being referred are those neighborhoods that have off the charts pricing in order to keep it that way, Manhattan and Brooklyn. Due to the heavy pricing, a consequence occurs when neighborhoods with lower prices find themselves to be gentrified from a low-income area to high-end, expensive neighborhoods to go to. In other words, upper-income individuals found have found themselves settling in a neighborhood that was once predominantly for the lower-income families. This is what has happened to a local neighborhood, Jamaica, Queens.

Jamaica has undergone what had been the case in Bedford-Stuyvesant, as this area was initially known for African Americans in the 1930’s and 1930’s. Their population of low income residents took a gradual shift to those of wealthier status. The pricing to buy homes has shown to rapidly change, going from a median of $575,000 in 2012 to $890,000 in 2015, according to Streeteasy. This case correlates to Jamaica, as it had once been demographically made for lower-income families who don’t have much of the money to support living the “high-end” life. Since the demographics of Jamaica is slowly changing,  these are soon to impact the high school right near the area, Hillcrest High School.

Gentrification was an idea due to Hillcrest High School not standing in an initially great neighborhood to be in. Residents of the area quote, “It wasn’t a great neighborhood. It looked like the city forgot about the neighborhood. The place used to be scary as there was constant violence outside the school.” Due to the reputation it gained, small learning communities with elite programs struggled to fill seas, since no one wanted to go to the school. Yet, principal of Hillcrest High School Mr. Morrison states that he has seen”the neighborhood has gotten better”.

Gentrification has the power to change the demographics of individuals within the area, so the students attending the public schools will start to gradually change as well. Since gentrification hit an area with a local school, it has the power to cause some serious repercussions on the school’s reputation and it’s students. The positives stand as diversity will be initiated, a better reputation will be made for the school, yet, can cause the removal of certain programs that benefit underprivileged students.

As far as positives go, diversity and new programs go hand in hand, creating a good result of gentrification. An example of this is Satellite West Middle School, which was in the area of gentrification, and ended up getting a brand new school building plus new programs, due to the fact that families did not like the idea of sending their children to a struggling academic setting. The increase in school ratings give a higher learning advantage, since there is a mixture of both social classes, allowing low income students to be granted with an advantage with the new program provided.

Of course, negatives are there to, as schools would have certain privileges taken away had the financial requirements not been met. If more students are from a high-income family, the school is going to receive less funding, creating a challenge for students to succeed academically. An example of this is a school in Crown Heights, that used to serve free and reduced lunch to almost all its students, now only serving it to 64 percent of the population.

With the act of gentrification comes the hope of the positives results to outweigh the negatives, making it a good impact on the good of the school. Gentrification is quite a difficult situation that impacts the school, but the effort in making the education system better is an ensuring way to secure a great future for all students.