Friday, November 9, 2007

The Borough of Churches Ain’t

Downtown Brooklyn, especially the Fulton Mall, have been packed with bustling shops for year. Immigrant and African-American entrepreneurs have thrived, though the visionaries behind the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning would like to replace those businesses with new ones... with different demographics. Who Walk In Brooklyn posts strong commentary about this in "The Borough of Churches Ain’t":
If John Strausbaugh’s recent comments about the process of “benign ethnic cleansing” in Manhattan are true, what will folks say about the new new Downtown when it’s cleared of all but civil servants & students in the daytime, the wealthy at night? That their prayers were answered? No public figure would put it that way but note the huge gulf in coverage between the plight of the homes on Duffield Street– whose potential date with the wrecking ball we’ve long decried, including in the pages of New York Calling– and what all this portends for non-institutional culture downtown. (Hello BAM imperialists.) The closure last year of Beat Street Records on Fulton got very little attention compared to the fate of other, far less heterogeneous public spaces. Ya’ll will look long & hard for this information on the internet but talk to people– not real estate shills– about what downtown was like before Metrotech. Is it possible what was “blighted” then is about as “blighted” as the private property threatened by eminent domain today? Next, look to some favorite Brooklyn blog and see how much they talk about, say, Nigerian & Guyanese shopkeepers downtown, & what are those other dudes with ghetto stores– Syrian? Siberian? Silesian?