A 2015 headline from The New York Times told a typical story about the changes happening to many booming cities today. “Gentrification in a Brooklyn Neighborhood Forces Residents to Move On,” the headline reads, describing the plight of residents of Crown Heights. West Indians and African Americans—residents who have made the neighborhood their home for generations—describe being pushed out by a rising tide of wealthier newcomers.
Those residents move from Crown Heights to East Flatbush, Canarsie, and even Virginia. In prose that could be verse, the article laments the unmistakeable arrival of prosperity to Crown Heights, “invisibly and then unmistakably—slowly, and then all at once.”