Gentrification Memo

Amani Nassar

English 1121

Dr. Hall

April 4, 2019


Brooklyn has changed drastically over the past few decades. Our low income neighbors are being displaced as newer, richer people take over. Starbucks are taking over our local bodegas, family owned businesses are closing, and rents are going up, Brooklyn is becoming the next Manhattan. But why is Brooklyn being so gentrified?

I don’t think there is one real explanation for why people come to live in Brooklyn and gentrify it to their liking. There are so many factors that contribute to the gentrification of what was once Brooklyn. For one, Brooklyn is pretty close to Manhattan allowing easy movement of people from borough to borough whether it’s through a car or train. Brooklyn is also in high demand of bigger businesses coming in, who can afford the higher rents such as the Chipotle’s we see. Money rules our world, wherever the money is, is where the people will follow. The rich can afford to buy property, drive up rent prices, making the neighborhood less minority filled and bringing in more high rise luxury apartments that most of us can’t afford.

According to the New York Post “escalating housing costs — spurred by gentrification — have driven lower-income Hispanics out of once the predominantly Latino neighborhoods.” Due to higher rents, low-income families are forced to leave their neighborhoods and move to other boroughs like the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, which are more affordable for them.

The true culprit that started gentrification was the “rezoning of parts of Downtown Brooklyn in 2004 to allow for denser residential growth, the area has seen the development of new condominium towers, townhouses, and office conversions, which all have spurred population growth,” according to James Dinsdale who was a student at John Jay College. The rezoning has allowed more retail shops to come into Brooklyn, more offices, and of course more people. It’s shocking, yet amazing to see how the heart of Downtown Brooklyn is being modernized and filled with shops while just a few blocks away we have affordable housing projects with many low-income families struggling. Rezoning is the action or process of assigning land or property to a different category of restrictions on use and development allowing developers to build higher buildings, and so on.

According to Jillian Steinhauer’s article “development companies are given huge subsidies to build condos, and new residents receive deals that allow them to not pay property taxes for the next 10 years!” This article is from 2013, which means the 10 years these developers were given have not finished yet, we can see more changes coming to Downtown Brooklyn and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. 

I currently live in Park Slope, Brooklyn which has become one of the most gentrified neighborhoods in Brooklyn. My mom was born and raised in Park Slope and has seen it changed throughout her life. While we walk the streets she would tell me things like “wow, I remember when this was an empty lot where we would all play,” Today we see see expensive supermarkets or high rise condos in placement of those empty lots. When I asked her when she noticed Park Slope was changing she told me it was back in the early 2000’s. Park Slope used to be filled with minorities, burned down buildings, corner stores and empty lots all over but now it’s the new mini Manhattan.




MTA Signal Memo

Erik Yan

Dr. Carrie Hall

Eng 1121


I found 3 articles discussing the signals used for the trains by the MTA. The first article I found was from and I found that the MTA subway system is using signals and switches from 80 years ago. In the article, they talk about how the MTA replace and repair the old components used for the train signals. They have not yet upgraded to something more modern. The article also brings up the cables in the tunnels are covered in 70 year old cloth which can have the problems of catching fire and water damage. The train dispatchers had to manually write down when the train entered the station. The way it is displayed is on a blackboard with small lights to represent each station. These are too outdated for today’s modern technology.

The second article I found was from and I found that the MTA is in need of funds. They said the signal upgrade for the 7 line was originally estimated to cost $140.1 million but it actually cost $405.7 million. They discuss more about how MTA still needs a lot more money to upgrade it ancient subway system.

The third article I found was from and I found that they talk about the history of the signals used by the trains. The subway signals we are using now is called a fixed block system. Each signal shows the status of the track. They said it is a system that works but if something goes wrong, it really bad. The article also talks about how the fixed block signal doesn’t really tell the train operator much information besides that the rail is blocked or not. Without any more information than that, train operators cannot really do much but play the safe game. They cannot go faster because they may hit another train which is not a good thing. This train signal issue also kind of creates the overcrowding issue because there may not be enough trains. Whatever trains are at the platform will get filled to the brim and become overcrowded too.

Minhaj Uddin

Dr. Carrie Hall

English 1121

April 4th, 2019


Many people that have lived in their neighborhood for more than a decade would realize that there is no changes that need to be done in there neighborhood. When more people move in and try to change things around for the better of themselves but not knowing that the people in there new neighborhood would not like the change that when it becomes a problem. 

It becomes a problem because some people feel as if they are trying to take over in there neighborhood and they don’t realize that people are being affected by the way there neighborhood looks. The way you can resolve the issue is by making the people in your neighborhood realize that there is a problem and they are not noticing it. If you talk to the people in the neighborhood and come to an agreement with them then it is a neighborhood change and not only a change of what you feel is right.

In Brooklyn you will notice that in some neighborhoods there are people who hang out in front of the bodega shops and just drinks and smoke in front of it. Some people feel as if that is the wrong thing to do. There are little kids that walk by them and wonder what they are doing and they feel as if it is a bad example for their kids and some people want that to change.

People that move into new neighborhood specifically white people they feel as if they invest in buildings and raise they rent of the places that they move to will benefit the neighborhood. They feel as if the people that live in the buildings are living in junk. The people that are living there shouldn’t have to live in those types conditions. When they fix it, It then becomes a problem because of the rent. The raise the rent because the conditions of the apartments have gotten better. Some people don’t mind living in bad conditions if it brings there rent down. The “white people” don’t understand that. That is where crime plays a role in the neighborhood because people make changes without noticing the cons of doing it. Then the crime levels rise do to the fact that people lack money and they cant pay for it. It becomes a major change for them.

After people leave there neighborhoods and they come back to visit once in a while notice the changes that happen after they left. They realize what is done was done for the better of the people. They remember how hard it was back then and how often they would feel sick due to the conditions but they only realize after they left and not during the time they lived there. Sometimes changes in a neighborhood might not be that bad but make the changes with out consulting with the people that live around you might not be the best decision you make.

It never fails for trains to all of a sudden stop moving out of nowhere during service hours. This is what is referred to as a delay. One of the main reasons for train delays is signal malfunctions. For most passengers, there is nothing more disappointing than hearing the conductor announce that the train is delayed due to failures with signals. It also annoys passengers that the MTA never explains what signal failures are, why they go wrong, and things that can be done to avoid them. They just stop the train, give an excuse about signals, and expect passengers to comply with it. These delays usually last for quite some time and result in people arriving to their destinations late. Even if people aren’t in a rush to get somewhere, it’s very unlikely that they wouldn’t have a problem with sitting or standing on a train that’s stranded and doesn’t seem to be moving soon.

Just like roads, railways have signals which are traffic light devices that inform train drivers if it’s safe to advance along the tracks. Signals are positioned at the beginning of each track divided into sections to ensure that trains don’t hit each other. In a particular section, only one train should be in service. Sometimes these systems breakdown and the signal turns red and that’s what train drivers see causing them to stop the train. Signals turn red because of problems with track circuits and axle counters. Track circuits are electrical devices used to determine which track sections are occupied by trains. Axle counters are devices that detect the passing of a train between two points on a track. If anything goes wrong with these devices, it’s not safe for a train to proceed. And if trains don’t proceed on their proper schedule, things could get hectic really quickly. And people shouldn’t have to continuously pay for commutes that are twice as long than usual.

If passengers have to deal with the annoyance of trains delays due to signal problems, they should at least know the reasons why these signals fail. The subway uses the same century old technology, more specifically signaling system that was installed years ago. The way the system operates hasn’t appropriately changed since it’s establishment. This results in trains being held in stations longer than intended. It shouldn’t take as long as it takes sometimes for trains to start moving again. The proper maintenance that track circuits and axle counters need to function efficiently is not being provided to the right extent. Things such as electrical supply faults, track circuit failures, broken rail joints, blown signal lamps, or train stop faults which are referred to as signal problems can be prevented if more track work gets done.

Other than train track issues, safety rules and changes to the signal system are also reasons for long lasting delays. The MTA made decisions that they thought would bring safety to workers and passengers but only brought misery. New rules for track work were adopted. These rules include extended safety zones and setup times. Train drivers are required to slow down at certain points and this affects neighboring trains because they start to get close to each other and have no choice but to stop so they don’t clash. This associates with the decision to increase the amount of space that is required between trains. The signals that were installed to make this happen slowed trains down even more than intended. It’s very important to protect workers and passengers but it would also be relieving if ways to avoid delays were in action.

Research Memo

Brandon Ma

Each and everybody would need to work to earn some living to survive, and unfortunately not everybody has the same journey. Everyone was taught to go to school, and work hard to find a full time job to survive in the real world. Not everyone is fortunate enough and may experience many problems that impact an individual differently from everyone else in our society.

One of the many reasons that can lead people to going homelessness is gentrification. What I found out in my research was how the homeless can be impacted by personnel matters or even thing beyond an individual’s control.According to Vice News and HomeAid, a person who may have lost their full time job especially can affect their entire life. The mother of a daughter who was interviewed by Vice News, Danielle Williams, unfortunately lost her full time job and was unable to live in her apartment. She was eventually forced out of her home and is currently living in the van, one of the many people taking advantage of the safe parking program.

Currently our Mayor de Blasio, has implemented changes to help the homelessness in need. “homelessness has worsened, from 50,689 persons living in shelters at the time of Mayor de Blasio’s January 2014 inauguration to over 60,000 today”(NyDaily). He hasn’t help improved the situation of the rising homeless, however, he has attempted to improve and reduce the amount of people who may fall back into homelessness. He has improvised a “three plans to combat homelessness”(NyDaily) to combat homelessness by 2021. So by 2023, “Approximately 20 of the new shelters are to open each year for the next five years, with each community responsible for assuming shelters for its homeless “population(NyDaily) to help those in need in their perspective borough.

While there are many solutions out there, some notable ones in Vice News was this program that offers safe parking. If people have downgraded out of their apartments and have a car to sleep in, this would be a great place for people and be safe. In New York City, it will be very difficult because there aren’t too many free places to park your car for the night and it can be very dangerous. There are many places that have violence and safety can not be guarantee when you’re in sleeping in the city. Another solution is the HomeAid, an nonprofit organization, “builds and renovates multi-unit shelters for America’s temporarily homeless families and individuals”. These non-profit organizations also provides help especially in new york city where the public housing are so full, that many families or individuals are still waiting in line for an apartment from months to several years. Another solution would be more affordable housing for those who are unable to afford housing in our gentrifying neighborhoods such as “Manhattan and brooklyn”(NyDaily).


Work Cited

Gertler, Eric. “Combating Homelessness Today: Looking beyond Shelters – and Making It Easier to Get Housing .”, 26 Mar. 2017,

Giraldo, Cassandra, et al. “California’s Housing Crisis Is so Bad People Are Living in Cars.” VICE News, VICE News, 6 Sept. 2018,

News, VICE. “The Hidden Homelessness Crisis In California (HBO).” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Sept. 2018,

Solutions, Blue Tangerine. HomeAid,




For Thursday: Research Memos due

Hey everyone! For Tuesday, please post your research memo on OpenLab and also bring in a copy for EACH MEMBER OF YOUR GROUP.

The research memo is just 1.5-2 pages in which you summarize what you learned in your research. I’m not grading you on grammar or anything. Remember! Extra credit for groups that have interviews in their research.

For the memo please click two categories: “Community Problems” AND your group’s category


  • Preventing college date rape (category: “preventing rape”)
  • Noise Pollution
  • On My Block
  • MTA: System fighters (category: “system fighters”– this is Shauntai, Ife and Josh.)
  • Living in NYC
  • Saviors of the MTA (category: “saviors” David, Pavel, Eric)
  • Homelessness