People used to naively believe (much in the same way a child believes that clapping one’s hands for Tinkerbell would save her from death) that Bushwick was safe from the effects of gentrification. And what, exactly, did they think was going to save it? The notion that an industrial empire consisting of places like Boar’s Head headquarters, Oriental Lumber and nebulous wholesalers like Jasmine Trading Corp. couldn’t possibly be touched by developers.
But alas, dear Bushwickians, even the ugliness of industry can’t keep outsiders away. With a total of three hotels planned for construction off the Morgan stop alone, as well as office space planned for Johnson Avenue, Bushwick–once a hub of industrialism–is evermore rapidly digressing into the new Times Square.
Even if Boar’s Head isn’t ultimately pushed out to someplace like Midwood, the vibe of Bushwick will forever be tainted by the presence of commercial property. And while New York has never really been about the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to things that actually mean something to people, the city seems to be particularly defiant toward this phrase when it comes to Bushwick, ushering in development as fast as the checks can be made out. MTA-wise, of course, the changes aren’t half as fast or radical as they should be. But then, there’s more money to be made off not improving the transit system.
Whatever the future holds for Bushwick, it is going to be a yuppie one. And unlike Times Square, New Yorkers will actually live in the area, making it a strange commingling of cause and effect–for this is what residents wanted isn’t it?: a safer, cleaner neighborhood with more restaurants, shops and “things to do.” But where does the industry and artistry go? For, as we’re reminded every day, one can’t have his artisanal pop tart and it eat it too.
Written by Genna Rivieccio