Blogpost #2 Details around the Canal

Walking around the canal this time, I tried to really take a closer look at things. As I was walking around, I noticed how many school aged kids were walking around. It was 3 pm on a Wednesday so it makes sense that all the kids were getting home from school. When I took a close look, I realized that many of the White kids were walking into houses, while the students of color, mostly Black and Latino, where getting on the subway. This was a sign of families of color being pushed out of the area by a more affluent, white population. With a close look, I even realized that many young, White kids had caretakers that were Black or Latina women. This is evidence of a racial socioeconomic divide in the neighborhood.

As I tried to interview people in the neighborhood, many people assumed I was looking to move to the neighborhood. Almost every White person that I talked to that lives in the area had recently moved there. The Black and Latino people I talked to were much less comfortable being recorded and even talking to me. Perhaps they too think I am coming to rent an expensive apartment and contribute to driving them out of the neighborhood. People are aware of a rush of young, affluent, white people moving to Gowanus.

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Trying to walk along the edge of the canal, I noticed how different the areas along the water could be. About halfway up the canal, I found a massive Whole Foods (so Gentrification). Directly across the canal was a loud, roaring factory with a giant adidas ad. As the factory whirled and blew out smoke, people bought expensive produce and drove home in their cars. This was such a stark contrast between a roaring factory and a pristine Whole Foods.

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One of the few places that I was allowed right along the canal was the walkway that was a part of some new, luxury apartment buildings. The new buildings were a sharp contrast from the small, worn townhouses in the area. Many signs on the pathway made it clear that this was private property that was so-generously open to the public. As I sat and watched the buildings, I noticed that only young (20s and 30s) White and Asian people were going in and out, aside from a Black delivery man. As affluent people move in, their money gives them so much power over the space.

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While sitting on the nice, new area next to canal, I noticed pipes emptying into the canal. The stream of brown water was very small, but the size of the pipes would allow for much more liquid to enter the canal. I checked a map from my research and found that this was one of sewage overflow points. Interesting how this is directly across from the new luxury apartments. I wonder how this new housing and population have affected changes in sewage and infrastructure for long term maintenance of the canal.

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— Emma Samant

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~ by emmasamant on March 3, 2019.

4 Responses to “Blogpost #2 Details around the Canal”

  1. Most Informative: I’ve never been to Gowanus, nor even really know anything about it. But reading your post really put me in that place. I appreciate how you not only describe what you see (new houses, fancier buildings), but extend that and dig deeper into why you are seeing what you are seeing (ex. your commentary on who you saw – white and asian youth – and how that relates to affluence and perhaps even gentrification.

  2. Best Overall: Not only was this informative, but it also left me with an interest in learning more about your project. You had very keen observations, like how you “noticed that only young (20s and 30s) White and Asian people were going in and out, aside from a Black delivery man”, showing that you had spent much time in your ecology. I admire your courage in trying to interview the folks in the neighborhood, some even perhaps misunderstanding your intentions, yet nevertheless you didn’t give up.

  3. Most Informative – I appreciate how you are taking in the people and their transportation patterns. I understand how these small details are telling a bigger story about the events that are happening there.

  4. Best overall – Your blog post is very detailed yet precise and straight to the point which makes it easy for the reader to engage and unpack the given information. You described really well on many signs of gentrification through your observation and the conversation with the locals along with your photos.

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