(Leaving the connection between austerity and gentrification/displacement to the reader…)

This is one of the seemingly never-ending series of New York Times articles about wealthy young people having to leave uber-hip neighborhoods for new, cheaper destinations (like Queens and Jersey!). I read the Times pretty faithfully, and these articles never (1) talk about non-wealthy non-young people and how they are managing these prices and transformations; (2) express the same bewilderment that I (and many of its commentators) have about how there can be SO MANY PEOPLE with $500k +in cash; (3) hint at even the slightest sentiment of ennui or schadenfreude at the fate of these interlopers, many of whom colonized Brooklyn in the first place and who seem blissfully ignorant of the havoc they will now be wreaking on Queens and Jersey.

In my class this summer, I told my students that the term gentrification sometimes limits real understanding of the many forces at work in places like Brooklyn. Instead, when we talk about displacement, real estate pricing, bank practices, and then try to tell a story about their interaction we can identify sites of transformation and political possibilities, rather than being forced into a debate of “Gentrification: good or bad.” I would love to see the New York Times put some journalistic resources into these transformations instead of just following young wealthy (and mostly white) families around the boroughs.

Read: Moving Out of Brooklyn Because of High Prices – NYTimes.com.