Given that this section is directly adjoining the Jewish enclave, there were many Hasidic Jews in this part of Bedford Avenue. However, after we walked past Division Avenue, we saw more people of other cultures, especially Hispanic, along with the Hasidic Jews. In this section, we also noticed that there was appeared to be some degree of gentrification occurring, as there were many new buildings under construction. Luxury condominium buildings could be seen on the blocks West of Bedford in this section of Williamsburg. Demographically, this section is mixed Hasidic Jewish and Hispanic.
This segment has a sizable population of Latinos, particularly Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. Members of the neighborhood on both sides of this section stated that they were aware of its status as the “Spanish section” of Williamsburg. Just as the area south of Division Avenue is acknowledged and distinguishable as the Jewish section, this area is recognized as the Hispanic section. While Hispanic men and women can be seen in various parts of WIlliamsburg, they are usually construction workers or storeowners. Important to note is the fact that in this segment, one is able to see Hispanic families and residences. While Hasidic Jews still appeared to live or visit some parts, the neighborhood was not blanketed in Jewish culture like the previous segment. Spanish is the language heard on the street and many of the small businesses are run by Latinos. In fact, we were unable to find a suitable interview subjects since most of the people we spoke to only spoke Spanish and could not understand our questions.
Signs of Gentrification:
A number of construction projects are visible in this part of WIlliamsburg. These could be early signs of gentrification as many of these projects seemed to involve the conversion of industrial looking buildings into condominiums. However, the noticeable lack of “hipster culture,” in the form of art galleries and cafes seems to point to a different mode of gentrification than the one recognizable north of Metropolitan Avenue. The construction projects also give many parts of the neighborhood an unfinished appearance, as though the whole neighborhood was a work in progress. This was also reminiscent of gentrification theories, as the face of the neighborhood seemed to be changing.
Image mosaic of Bedford Avenue, Segement 2
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