Varet street

On Friday, Amanda and Genesis and I navigated the border zone between Bushwick and East Williamsburg. The East Williamsburg Industrial Zone is a microcosm of converging economic, architectural and lifestyle typologies – a mix of industrial spaces that are live as factories, distribution centers, restaurants, cafes, loft-style apartments and even a hotel.

Although Brooklyn Latin High School is right around the corner on Bushwick Avenue, this was the first time that Genesis and Amanda – our cultural lab technicians and super summer mappers – ventured into what can be termed a hot zone of gentrification.

Golden StitchesOur mapping derive began at Golden Stitches on the corner of Varet and Bogart Streets- an embroidery factory that produces customized shirts, aprons, and other accoutrements for Boars Head – one of the country’s largest purveyors of meat!  The distribution center is right across the street, and Golden Stitches embroiders not only the uniforms of the hundreds of neighboring workers, but fills the company’s national embroidery orders.  The owner, two machine operators and the operations manager all added to the fabric map of Bushwick – marking a Spanish food restaurant on Flushing as the heart of their neighborhood and the Boars Head plant as a positive place, as it is the source of their jobs.

Amanda and MikeCafe OrwellNext, we headed to Cafe Orwell – a caffeinated cave of freelancers on laptops and artist watering hole.  Genesis and Amanda interviewed customers who were camped out with their laptops and artists just taking breaks from their studios on their perceptions of the neighborhood.  The coffee table was turned on them as well, as newcomers who self-identified as “gentrifiers” asked Amanda and Genesis what they thought of the new people moving into their neighborhood.   Sidewalk discussions ensued about the tensions between long-term and newer residents.

Robertas

The afternoon ended with pizza at Robertas on Moore Street.  Look out for Amanda and Genesis’ review of the Specken Wolf pizza and decor of recycled materials!

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