Friday, September 14, 2007

Guess who's coming (back) to a hood near you?

The NY times recently ran an article that describes how according to recent census numbers, 2006 marked the first year where White flight has leveled off. At the same time, Black flight has continued to increase. Essentially, since the 1990s, White flight has driven major cities to become more majority-minority, but with NY on the upswing, many Whites who departed for greener pastures are finding new homes in the city, and by the city we mean Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their new residences or location however continue to move out communities of color. A friend of mine has a dog theory of gentrification. I'll do my best to restate it here and tell me if you agree of disagree.

You may be in a gentrifying neighborhood if your hood has been predominantly ethnic but you're seeing more White folks around. The tags on cars aren't from NY, but other North East or Midwest states. Then come the dogs, you will see White people walking huge dogs (really wolves on chains). These dogs aren't you Upper East Side purse carriables, they're Khujo with training. These gentrifiers use the dogs as potential protection for any of the folks hanging on the block, who could possibly cause them trouble. Eventually the White tee brigade (and their families usually the elderly) get evicted and the buildings in the hood start to turn over. Trespass signs go up all around and before you know it, the dogs change to much smaller breeds, you know the ones that you could see someone other than Michael Vick owning. Eventually you know you're neighborhood has turned over when you walk around and see minituare pinchers, chihuahuas, yorkies, etc.

Regardless if you agree, the changes that continue to redefine NY neighborhoods will matter most for the poor and minority residents who have long inhabited this city. Though this city is rich with history, quickly I've come to realize that folks here have short memories. Next time you're talking about Central Park, ask the person you're talking to if they know about Seneca Village.


Scott said...

I think this is a pretty good measure. Prospect Heights seems to be just entering the tail end (pun! sorry.) of this phenomenon. We pretty much define the state of western P Heights with our 30 lb. spaniel. Not a bully but not a toy.

Dancewithme2 said...

Yeah. My mom and I had this VERY conversation yesterday. While HP has been known to be VERY SCARY, she says that more and more white people are moving back into the city.

Rob said...

Dumi, here in DC we are working hard on "parks are for people" whisper campaign ... the next logical step after dogification is a clamor for dog parks!

Rob said...

Also in DC some of the flippers are black professionals, not sure of the precise break down though.