We Don’t Want To Be Like Brooklyn – Or Pittsburgh


Why Can’t the Bronx Be More Like Brooklyn?
This is one of those annoying articles and headlines that makes one say what the hell was the writer thinking? Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to be like Brooklyn? Maybe we don’t want to be a gentrification disaster like Brooklyn and lose our soul in the process?

Although the above captioned New York Times articles makes some valid points, overall it is rather offensive to many Bronxites (who by the way have voiced their displeasure with its suggestion) I mean…why should we aspire to be just another cookie cutter, neighborhood with Starbuck all over the place like the fried chicken restaurants we have now. To me that wouldn’t be much better since with it brings a host of issues, primarily displacement of the economically disadvantaged and recent immigrants.

The article says:

“The Bronx’s inability to catch up with the rest of the city’s phenomenal economic growth has been disconcerting. In the early 1970s, the Bronx and Brooklyn had similar average household incomes. Since then, though, the gap has grown significantly. The average Brooklyn resident is now around 23 percent richer than the average Bronxite; people in Queens are roughly 32 percent richer. (Manhattan residents are 265 percent wealthier; Staten Island residents, by the way, are 55 percent richer.) What happened?

“It’s not an accident,” says Dart Westphal, a former community developer who has lived in the Bronx for decades. Brooklyn and Queens were once collections of independent towns whose homegrown economies were rooted in Long Island agriculture, not Manhattan mercantilism. Local elites built expensive town houses on tree-lined streets. These neighborhoods fell on hard times during the 1970s, but their expensive stock was perfectly positioned for revitalization as the Manhattan boom of the past few decades pushed young professionals across the river. The Bronx, however, never developed its own economic drivers. It became, by the late 19th century, a haven for immigrants attracted to (but unable to afford) Manhattan. The borough developed far fewer wealthy areas, and many neighborhoods became devoted to less-gentrifiable housing units.”

No. The Bronx needs to be the Bronx. We have a unique mix – for better or worse (I like to think for better) that makes this our home. For decades and what seems like a lifetime we have done pretty damn well on our own without the help from hipsters.

So Brooklyn, don’t worry…you can keep your hipsters…we prefer our real people and besides – we’re way cooler than you.

Go to the NYTimes to read their “article”

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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.