1. Aaron, from Ridgewood
The store that he works for, “Shoe Market” is an authentic and vintage shoe and accessories store has been around for more than 20 years. This proves that it has stood the test of time. It has seen many different audiences, and has seen the transformation of Williamsburg.He was a friendly guy, and he wore a nice cardigan, a nice shirt, and nice jeans.
Everything about him was what he called “vintage”. He explained what “vintage” meant to him, which was that vintage means anything from 20 years ago. This idea of vintage (i.e. having holes in jeans, etc.) makes the “vintage” article of clothing so much more valuable.
His view on Gentrification was very “go with the flow”, in the sense that things change, and we have to adapt to that change. From an economic standpoint, gentrification is great because it attracts more and more people that would buy products from the store he works in. He also talked about how he’s from Ridgewood, because he could never afford to live in a place like WIlliamsburg, and he really wouldn’t want to anyway.
2. Diana, 21 years old
The music vinyl store that she works in has also been around for a long time, showing that it has also seen the transformation/gentrification of Williamsburg. She’s worked in the store for about 4 years.
She said that people of similar financial status usually stick together, which contributes to the idea of gentrification because one certain people are displaced out of the neighborhood, that could make others of similar financial status wish to leave as well.
Her view on Gentrification, similar to Aaron, was also very go with the flow. She said that gentrification happens, affects a neighborhood, then moves on to another neighborhood. An example of this is Bushwick, which she believes is becoming more gentrified. She’s pretty indifferent to gentrification. However, she felt that the pros of gentrification include that it drives up revenue for businesses and makes businesses more accessible. The biggest con of gentrification she felt is that the process “drives out anybody that doesn’t have a trust fund”
3. Matthew Galfand- Real Estate
He said that real estate brokers aren’t allowed to say anything about gentrification legally, so this interview was “off the record”
Neighborhood has changed a lot in the past 15 years:
- Used to be dangerous, now is safe
- Lots of young professionals coming in: japanese, europeans are the current influx
- There’s a lot of construction
- Gentrification has changed the face of the neighborhood and there’s a
LOT more money involved now (beautiful place- waterfront)
- There’s another outlet to the city, and that’s good for the area around the waterfront
- Kent Avenue: Walk between North 3rd and North 11th, you’ll see that there’s a lot of nice places to live and prices have SKYROCKETED
- There’s a mix between old landlords and new landlords
- Old- no money
- New- tons of money
- Old buildings used to be worth $30,000 to $40,000, now that same building is worth about $1.2 million
- He Believes this neighborhood is one of the top 5 in the country because of how much it is up and coming
He said that the real estate business is extraordinary, and he does very well. He never worries, even during that time during the real estate bubble, because even during this recession people are still coming to Williamsburg. April to September is his busy season because young college kids are looking for places to live and such.
1. Asian Tourists
There were three asian tourists that were in Williamsburg looking for some of the nice places to chill, specifically, Toby’s Coffee Shop. Considering we ourselves were basically tourists, we could not really help them, but instead we decided to ask them some questions about the general area of Williamsburg. They seemed like they genuinely liked the area, and considering their young, hip appearance, and that we were in the gentrified area of Williamsburg, it was a clear instance of how gentrification is attracting young and “cool” people.
2. Canadian Tourists
At the same location as the asian tourists, we were approached by two girls that were also looking for the same coffee shop. We figured at this point that it was about time that we checked out this coffee shop, because obviously it was one of the go to spots in gentrified Williamsburg. This was evidence of the gentrification of Williamsburg because coffee shops and stores of the like are a staple in the lifestyle of the “hipsters” and “creative class.”
After our interview with Matthew Galfand, we wanted to go to Kent Street and check out the strip of new condominiums that he told us about. We had no idea how to get to Kent Street, and so we asked this guy that was on the street. He pointed us north, and so we continued on our way. As we walked, he began to chase after us and he was telling us that he was pointing us the wrong way. Considering this was an abnormally nice gesture from a New Yorker, we decided to ask him a few questions. It turned out that he was a new resident to Williamsburg, and he was still finding his way around. He had recently gotten a job at an architecture firm nearby, and so he was exploring the area trying to find some good spots to hang out and chill. He really liked living there, because he felt like there were lots of young people and it seemed like a great place to be. This shows that for young professionals like Derek, if one can afford the upscaled prices, Williamsburg is the up and coming area of New York City to live.