When I googled Crown Heights, Brooklyn to find pictures to go with this entry, I found this one. This place is a few blocks away from Tavern on Nostrand, a restaurant that L. Britt and I had brunch at today. When we were there, the owner mentioned that he was opening a new Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant across the street. This is when it was confirmed: The neighborhood is changing.
It all began when I was living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn years ago and they opened a Sushi place around the corner. Soon after, the neighborhood became filled with trendy restaurant and lost many of its artsy multicultural clientele. A few months ago, they opened a Sushi restaurant in an area that they are trying to call Prospect Heights (Dean and Franklin Avenue). It is huge and I know many coffee houses and expensive restaurants will follow.
I never know how to feel about gentrification. My father used to say to me that gentrification is me. I like fancy coffee shops and I like nice restaurants. Just because I am black, doesn't mean that I am not a gentrifier. I specifically moved to Crown Heights because, from my lifetime living in New York, I knew it was the next big neighborhood on Brooklyn. I could have a nice place on a pretty block and be walking distance from "hipper"neighborhoods.
I also liked the idea that I could live in a neighborhood where people looked like me. It is more important to me than I thought it would be. But how long will my neighborhood have people that look like me?