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Day 1: The Neighborhood
17 May 2015

I knew that living in Brooklyn would mean that my sense of community would be very different than if I lived in Manhattan. I spent some time today just walking around my neighborhood and learning the streets. My home stands at an incredibly interesting intersection between three different neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Bushwick. I walked around today, noticing the differences in the types of food that was carried at the grocery stores and the houses of worship and corner delis that dotted every street. I also noted (as you can see in the pictures) some of the beloved community centers that my host family directed me to! 

I am currently grappling with my personhood as a symbol of gentrification - today, I walked around for hours and did not see a person with the skin color that I have.  If you read the history of these three neighborhoods, rising rents and the "discovery" of low-rent "historic brownstones" along with rapid development over the last decade has been driving out populations who have been living in the area for almost a hundred years.  

Like Brianna, I want to navigate what it means to live at the crossroads of these neighborhoods and then walk into a tall Manhattan building for work every day. How can I be empathetically engaged in both of these two places? I have quiet space where I can relax in my neighborhood, but I palpably feel the differences in the way that I am treated while walking around as compared to how other individuals are treated while walking around. I want to wrestle with the incredibly important idea that Brianna brought up: "I carry everything I learn with me regardless of location, but there still exists this physical divide." I want to make this neighborhood intersection a priority, and to let the issues surrounding it inform the way that I work at Tanenbaum. Work starts tomorrow - wish me luck! 

I encourage people who want to read more on the history of the neighborhood to read the NYT article below, which gives more background on the neighborhood.

Bed-Stuyvesant Brooklyn
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