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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tract 1237

Following up from my last post, out of the 16,000 new white residents that have arrived in Bed-Stuy in last decade, which this NY Times article references, 4,569 (28.5%) - of them are concentrated in just one census tract: Brooklyn Tract 1237. 1237 is bounded by Taffe Place, Nostrand Avenue, Flushing Avenue, and Myrtle Avenue.

View Bed-Stuy and Tract 1237 in a larger map

Take a walk through this area. You will find a lot of new apartment buildings with scores of small balconies jutting out awkwardly. You will find a lot of signage written in a strange, but somewhat recognizable alphabet. You will find a lot of guys dressed in black suits, a lot women dressed in long skirts, and a lot of children running on the sidewalk. You will not find very many people like the Jazz musician Arthur Kell, or Lawyer and Coffehouse owner Tremaine Wright, or anyone else the Times references in the article.

The Times quotes four white residents who have moved to the city in the last decade, one black resident who they imply, but don't outright state, is a lifelong resident, three academics (one of whom is also a resident of the neighborhood who is black, although it doesn't say when he moved there), a local real estate agent, the Community Board chair, and the neighborhood Assemblyperson.

There are no quotes from longtime white residents, or new black arrivals, or any other type of resident. There is no mention of the quarter of the people in the neighborhood who are neither black nor white. While this could perhaps be forgiven, given that the article is specifically about the growth of the white population and the decline of the black population, there is not even a passing mention of the role the Hassidic Community played in this, much less an attempt to interview any about the changes in the neighborhood. When you only talk to certain people, it's not a surprise when you construct a certain narrative. 

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