Reflection on Neighborhood Analysis Assignment
Doing this assignment was very different and uncomfortable for me, especially doing the recordings. I was a bit skeptic of how outsiders would think or react to me while I was making my observation videos. I live in a neighborhood that has been branded as a place of high crime rates and drug dealership. I recently moved to this area sometime last year and so I am somewhat new to the location. Due to the reputation of this neighborhood, I always stayed in the perimeters of my house, when running errands or I have resorted to staying inside. I must admit, the neighborhood is not as crime filled as it is portrayed, people are always outside hanging out and there are usually police patrolling. This makes it a bit more comfortable and gives a feeling of safety.
After completing this assignment, I am now more aware of the major changes this neighborhood has been facing and how much it is growing. Knowing where it has evolved from makes me hopeful in seeing even more positive changes in a couple of years to come. The land usage itself has not changed as much as the communities or the people living in the area. This neighborhood has always been filled with many project buildings and brownstone homes. In recent times it has been undergoing gentrification and so both middle and high – class individuals and families are rapidly moving in. As a result, majority of crime and drug dealings have decreased, police patrolling is a number one priority as well as most of these low – income residents are no longer able to afford living in these areas.
In addition to these project buildings and brownstone homes, there are now luxury apartment buildings and fine dining restaurant and lounges being placed around the neighborhood. The main area by Myrtle and Broadway, where the train station and supermarket are located, has a variety of commercial buildings. From my map analysis, it shows this area to be commercially filled even in the year 1996. There is also a church that I discovered near my laundromat, before this assignment I never noticed it. The church is called St John the Baptist Church. This church has been there since the year 1900.
I decided to use this church as my historic building as I found it somewhat interesting, especially because it seemed somewhat hidden. There are so many other buildings beside and across from it, as well as trees. Thankfully after zooming in on my map location I was able to take a walk and make a video clip of this area. This church was an addition to a college building there in 1888, named St. Johns College. The church was known as the most beautiful church in Brooklyn. However, due to my neighborhood having the status of one of the largest ghettos in the country, of course, the glamorous exterior of the building got vandalized over the years.
This historic building now has boards over some of the windows, where used to be pastel painted glass windows and the perimeters wall has wires on the top as well. I can only assume, when the crime rate was higher people would trample through the church yard, also toss things through the windows. Some of the windows that are still visual have holes in them. This part of my research somewhat saddened me, to see how the neighborhood people destroyed such a beautiful and sacred structure. All the housing projects back in 1970s brought a lot of violence due to the poverty of these residents. It took twenty years for this sacred place to be complete only for it to be tarnished by its neighbors.
The regentrification in this area is so extreme that even the college building beside the church is now an apartment building, there is also a restaurant that used to be a church a couple blocks away too. This neighborhood has become so diverse as well, there is an Ihop, Chipotle, Starbucks and much more in walking distance of my neighborhood as well. The change is real and drastic. Being a young independent female, I am however very happy about this change as it benefits my safety and daily convenience.