Everybody gentrifies

Here’s Gothamist founder Jake Dobkin on gentrification in NYC:

All New Yorkers are gentrifiers. Say you’re of Jewish extraction: your forebears gentrified some Irish right out of L.E.S. around the turn of the century. Or maybe you’re Irish, and your ancestors were responsible for gentrifying the marginal land around the Collect Pond in Five Points. Or maybe your family goes all the way back to New Amsterdam and Peter Minuit, the original gentrifier, who gentrified the poor Native Americans right off Manhattan island. No New Yorker, no matter how long their tenure, has the right to point fingers and say to anyone else “the problem started when you arrived here.” [link]

[via kottke.org]

23 Responses to “Everybody gentrifies”

  1. pillowfarts says:

    Ways rich assholes justify taking over other peoples neighborhoods.

    • NativetoMission says:

      That’s not what’s coming back to the neighborhood though. With the extreme wave of gentrification now, we’re suffering from major dilution of culture. It’s not WHO is there, but what. Pretty soon, Mission will be no more diverse than Seattle neighborhoods. And who the fuck wants that?

      • TruthHurts says:

        Everyone knows the anti-gentrification people are all talk and no action (well … of any real consequence).

    • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

      Well, no, it was Latino before it was Irish/German/Scandinavian (That’s the “Mission” in “The Mission”). And before that it was Native American.

    • ElDedo says:

      Irony: when someone thinks any neighborhood is ‘their neighborhood’.

  2. lindylula says:

    Choosing to leave and being pushed out without any viable options are two entirely different things. So Christine, the answer is no.

    • Guy says:

      That is easy to say when you are the one dictating the narrative.

      • MrEricSir says:

        “That is easy to say when you are the one dictating the narrative.”

        I love this response, it means absolutely nothing and you can use it as a response to literally any statement.

    • Misguided Anger? says:

      I agree Lindylula and I’ve been dealing with this anger, too, but is it misdirected? While I’d like to, and have, blamed the new people, it’s not really them doing the pushing. It’s the greedy eviction-happy landlords and the in-pocket city government officials that should bare the blunt of our anger, despite how arrogant, superficial, misogynist, self-entitled, right-winged, spoiled rich, OK so this list is pretty long…maybe I do hate them still.

      • lindylula says:

        Very good point. And the politicians who are in the pocket of the greedy landlords.

      • SFdoggy says:

        Oh yes, it is the “greedy” landlords. Why shouldn’t people who have worked to purchase and maintain buildings rent them for a market price? Wouldn’t you do the same? Do you work for 50% less salary than someone would be willing to pay you because you aren’t “greedy”.
        Basically, “greedy” is a term used by selfish, entitled people who think others owe them. The trite and tedious list of invectives in the comment show that you are just a narrowed minded person who is upset that you aren’t getting everything you think you deserve (though why you feel so entitled is never explained).
        Please grow up, earn a living, and stop blaming all of your problems on others.


  3. Kevin Dawg says:

    alan why are you gentrifying that girl?

    although it is not what i gentrified to in the morning, i respect your perspective of gentrification.

  4. dave says:

    Based on this excerpt, Jake Dobkin sounds kind of like a dweeb, and not particularly sophisticated. “We’re all gentrifiers, because there’s always someone else who’s been here first”? Wow, that’s deep. I totally never even thought of that. That changes everything.
    There was a time when the NYC literati came up with original, thought provoking ideas. I guess that time has passed.

    You can alter the definition of ‘gentrifier’ all you want, but that doesn’t change the facts. Swedish, Irish, Mexican, Italian, and Jewish communities et al each have their subtle differences, but none of them have anything in common with privileged 20-somethings. I’m sure Jake would like to think of himself as an urban pioneer, just like the member of some hard-scrabble turn of the century immigrant group, but Jake is not that. Jake is a privileged youth who sits at the top of the consumer food-chain. Although he may blanche at the suggestion, Jake has far more traits of a Yuppie than of a turn of the century immigrant.

    While the Mission arrivistes of the 80s and 90s may be a form of gentrifier similar to the arrivistes of the 2000s, one key difference is that they had a semblance of self-awareness, and if they made changes to a neighborhood, they would try to be low key about it for the most part. They would instinctually keep their consumerism on the down low rather than bragging to the already established working-class residents that “we’re all gentrifiers” while instilling gimmicky restaurant after gimmicky restaurant.

  5. Haz Been says:

    No action, eh? Funny considering there’s a ground swell of outrage against what’s happening and the voices are getting louder. There was a community meeting, and many like myself have been calling/emailing our Sups and elected officials demanding something be done (namely stop giving tax breaks to Corporate twats, I mean Twitter…and invest in the existing community and people.

    Buy, yeah…if you want a physical beating I bet that could be arranged.

  6. Stop says:

    While the rest of the essay makes coherent sense- this excerpt which for some reason is the one people love, actually makes no sense. Gentrification isn’t simply what happens when a new group arrives. It’s what happens when a richer group arrives. I assume you think though, that this has some relevance for what’s happening in the mission today, and you want some cover fire for being the kinda asshole that wants it all to move quicker so you can hold American Tripps at the next startup popup under the edison bulbs.

    Well sorry. When poor latinos replaced middle Irish folks it was a process called white flight. The neighborhood got worse. Not better. The gentry weren’t arriving they were leaving. Not the same thing as the gentrification happening today.

    The larger point- which you would have been better served to quote was his argument about cities growing and changing. That’s what happens in a city.