Bushwick’s revival brings new faces, rent hikes and rapid change

Here’s some of what I’ve been working on over the last year. This is the first in a series of stories about Bushwick (Brooklyn’s Community District 4) . I’m in the midst of a self-challenge to report on gentrification in a fresh way smack-dab in the middle of a city that is used to gentrification.

Gabrielle A. Wright

Some profanity.

BUSHWICK, BROOKLYN — Looting, fires and closed down business brought Bushwick, Brooklyn to a standstill during the historic black out of 1977. To many, ash and vacant buildings are fertile ground for revival. Bushwick has become a magnet for struggling artists and Williamsburg overflow, and now like most gentrifying neighborhoods across the nation: a clash of cultures and agendas.

“The population changed,” said resident Alex Johnson, 36. Looking out the window and firmly planted against the sway of the L train, he pointed out new housing developments as they whizzed by. The terracotta cockfight developing in Johnson’s neighborhood is in an area that was primarily black and Hispanic for decades. Now it’s seeing an influx of white residents.

“This is one of the closest [neighborhoods] to Manhattan so there’s a lot of white people in the area now,” said Johnson. According to the U.S. Census, the non-Hispanic…

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