Did you do your work the way other people did theirs?
In what ways did you do it differently?
I was in the neighborhood group, and as we walked around and looked at the internal contrasts and external pressures that separated different kinds of buildings and businesses, I noticed that each person brought different disciplinary perspectives to the neighborhood. Here is a summary of different perspectives on the neighborhood:
Architectural: Some of us wondered about the differences in architecture between houses on the same block. The more architecturally advanced members of our group were able to guess at the wood frames that likely existed behind cheap siding.
City Planning: The historian remarked on how the Brooklyn expressway hurt the livability of the neighborhood and disrupted what had been a main street.
Historical: The historian in our group guessed that the nicer homes were originally inhabited by the bosses of various waterfront businesses, with the workers living in the simpler homes.
Demographic: We noted how the Latin restaurants and the ads for international phone cards below reflected the still very Latino demographics of the neighborhood.
Economic: We considered the different forces of gentrification, from new business investments to rising property taxes/valuations.
Personal Taste/Aesthetics: We remarked on the beauty of the park that gives Sunset Park its name, and the delicious food at certain restaurants. We talked about whether we would like to live in Sunset Park, and compared it to our own neighborhoods.
I think that as a humanist, I was curious about the human experience of business owners and workers–I wondered how many of the older businesses were threatened by various (mainly economic) forces, and what daily life was like for the workers and business owners. If I were to continue with that line of thinking, I might investigate the question by interviewing those people.
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