In class, we watched multiple parts of a movie titled Citizen Jane. Jane Jacobs tells the story of what can happen when engaged citizens come together and fight the power for the sake of a better world and environment. No one ever did put efforts or try hard enough to create an understanding except for Jane. She was a visionary activist and writer who fought to preserve urban communities in the face of destructive development projects. Robert Moses, who was a public official, tries to ruin lower Manhattan by creating highway, which is a dramatic struggle over the very soul of the neighborhood. In addition, Jane only cared about her neighborhood and tried to make it a better place. Moses wanted to deconstruct the Bronx, which would cause so many change and inconvenience for the people living there. I agree with Jane when she states the chaos brings in a sense of community. The problem of the city crime level in regards of housing projects includes violence, rape, and neglect for love, gun violence, and child endangerment. Relating this movie to Gowanus, Brooklyn, and the city is trying to take down and remove some of the industrial businesses and install residential buildings and apartments for people. This is all part of the uplift of Gowanus. This relates to the movie because some people agree and disagree about this change. Many people will be affected by these changes and will be forced to adapt to a new lifestyle.
MyBrooklyn was a video watched in class through the library database. In my opinion, it was a video in which great changes and gentrification was pointed out to the viewers. I would like to focus mainly on Fulton street. I was able to connect with this video because Fulton street is near school which you encounter every day while traveling to and from school. Everyday I notice how this neighborhood is ran and operated. People have stands, little corners in which they sell clothes and accessories. Many cultural stores are also present on Fulton street as well. In the video was captured parts and sections of Fulton Street In which still stands today. You are able to quickly see change and how the neighborhood is being gentrified daily. Many people were also interviewed on their opinions on Fulton street mall in particular and how they felt about it. For some, that’s very cultural because back from their origin, that was the lifestyle and way of raising income for the family. Other people think it’s a waste of space and no one shops there and big businesses and buildings should be built in the place of these stores. Personally, I think that that’s a way of making a living for individuals. Many people from the daily foot traffic do shop at Fulton street mall and may buy items from the stands and stores. In addition, many people do live here and it’s very convenient for some to get groceries and clothing for themselves especially if driving isn’t an option. Due to gentrification, people are being moved out of their spaces because the community is uplifting. This can be both good and bad for various reasons. The city is going about making laws and agreeing to decisions without consulting with the people of the place or without visually seeing the effect it has on many individuals. This video has shown me to appreciate everything around us because gentrification is here and causes many effects within the community. On a brighter note, it’s nice to see the area being developed and becoming more modernized. But what about the folks who aren’t so modern and are unable to adapt to new changes?
Earlier this week, we had a guest speaker who came into class and spoke about Gowanus, Brooklyn. Prior to the lecture was a site visit to Gowanus as well. Here, we visited the Gowanus canal, the neighborhood, several industries and more landmarks and buildings of Gowanus Brooklyn. He mentioned many topics and points about Gowanus. He shared with the class a well described history of Gowanus as well. Certain topics mentioned were the Dutch, brackling water, the Gowanus Creek in New Amsterdam, Daniel Richards, the superfund project, the battle of Brooklyn, sludgie the whale and more. In my opinion, his lecture was great. He was able to answer any question thrown at him and he was also very well educated on the topic of Gowanus. Sludgie the whale was a real event that took place on April 15, 2007. Generally, it was a storm which expanded on this day. Sludgie was a baby whale who wondered into the polluted canal and died here after straying away from her natural habitat. One of the topics that came to my attention during the lecture was the Battle of Brooklyn. This took place next to an old stone house in Gowanus on April 27, 1776. This was an important battle that took place here and it was known that the British captured New York City. The newspaper series titled “Brooklyn’s Daily Eagle” had the whole article about the battle taking place. I became highly interested in this topic because you always hear about several battles and fights. However, it is a great experience to be able to visit the area of where it all took place. Daniel Richards was also famous during this time as he brought a new business to Brooklyn. He owned a minerals spa. The Gowanus Canal is full of sediments and pollution. There was an image that helped the class to visualize the layers of buildup in the Gowanus Canal. Starting from the bottom lies the habitat, the gravel layer, the sand and gravel isolation layer, the treatment layer and lastly the stabilized native sediment. The Dutch arrived in Gowanus roughly around 1626. At this time, they started to build mills, and control floods. This became the time of changing demographics in the neighborhood. Another topic mentioned was proto-industrialization which was the modernization of the industrial economies. In addition to modernization would be the superfund project. This is the cleanup process the Gowanus Canal. The cost of the cleanup is roughly $506 million which is a steep budget for New York City at the moment. Other alternatives are being introduced. Due to the cost of cleanup, congress may slow down by defunding Superfund. Overall, having the guest lecturer was a great experience for me because before this class, I wasn’t entirely familiar with Gowanus and the industrial side. After visiting the site and receiving a lecture, I am more aware of Gowanus and how it is rapidly developing and impacting Brooklyn.