tv The New Brooklyn CSPAN February 5, 2017 6:59am-7:53am EST
>> hello. everybody. excuse me. hello, everybody. i hope you enjoyed your lunch. we're going to start. good afternoon and welcome. i'm sarah snyder, the program director at the liam simon foundation and i'm absolutely delighted to introduce today's speaker kay hymowitz. shortly i will sit in rapt attention along with all of you as she discusses her later book the new brooklyn, what it means to bring the city back but let me briefly
tell you how i've come to know and admire kay. the william simon foundation started supporting k 13 years ago and i know that i speak on behalf of of the nation's president kim pearson and my colleague man true doubt and all those who couldn't join us today in saying that putting k as the william t simon foundation fellow institute is one of the proudest successes that we make each year. >> a quick overview of kay's prolific work. she writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty and cultural changes in america and has authored five very successful books. she's written for the new york times, the washington post, wall street journal, the new republic, new york newsday, public interest, wall street quarterly and among others, she's a highly sought off person for conferences, in television and radio and she's done some
of the work of national affairs and the future of children. she holds degrees from brandeis and columbia university and with a resume like that, i don't know what she's going to do in time but i know she makes it now that she's a doting grandma. now brad there with me for a second as i will decide. back when kay was thinking about what would eventually become the previous book, manning up, i was in the throes of being on the new york feed. offhandedly i told her i was so impressed by the radio silence i was now getting from the fellows i thought i was getting that were checking the obituaries to see if my name popped up. thankfully his name was there and as far as i know it hasn't turned out that i wish him well. i did find mister right. and he had already worked through the manchild phase of his life as kay had so pointedly coined in that last
book and we are working on expanding our family a second time. thank you. but more than a year after i mentioned my dating woes, kay asked if i could be a part of her book. that's the point of my story, it's kay's skills to pick up on throwaway instances like my obituary story, collect them and weave them into a bigger picture that examines a trend in society that makes or such an influential, successful and interesting side. he's able to step back and see trends negative and positive for the larger public is taking for granted. or simply doesn't want to acknowledge. she knows how to identify a problem in society, anticipate the future implications and make recommendations on how to best address these trends with the interests of family at the core. she develops recommendations that resonate across the aisle, across the spectrum, across skin tones and across
the brackets, that is not an easy feat. perhaps some of you share my inclination to drift off into a daydream when reading or listening to something too technical. i promise you won't do that anytime today or anytime you have the pleasure to engage with kay's work. that is another beautiful aspect of her writing, she weaves the evidence from policy recommendations into a story or audience is actually interested in. the new brooklyn examines the recent brooklyn through zoning reform, crime reduction and america and what effort that has on local populations. she helps the audience understand how this renaissance is not the first of its kind.brooklyn started as farmland and was gentrified once before. the difference is this time the change is based on creative destruction rather than traditional industrialization.
she includes research on a block by block spit in bedside where there are bars on one side and shootings on the next. the state of the sunset park, the change in manufacturing in the navy yard's from goods and ideas, the slow but steady mobility of the jamaican population in canarsie, they get a of east new york and brownsville, the hipster population in williamsburg and the yuppies in park slope. k uses these examples to steer the conversation toward policies and cultural norms that can foster upward mobility among the urban core. stable families, job access, policing policies, education options. it's a page turner and i'm sure you will be transported across the river when kay takes the empirical but before i handle like over, i encourage anyone who does not have a copy of the book to stop in the back and get one at the end of the luncheon. and a very favorable review will be published in the february edition of the new york times book review. so as you will learn,
anything with the name brooklyn in is bound to please. and kay will be happy to sign them so back to me in welcoming somebody i greatly admire, kay hymowitz. [applause] >> well, i have some notes in front of me. that was much too kind. eva has been such a pleasure to work with, the foundation in addition to being generous towards me, they are great friends and i feel very warmly toward the entire crew there. so in 1982, my husband and i brought a house in the park slope neighborhood of brooklyn. and i tell people that these days, new yorkers in particular or one of the new yorkers, they get this look in their eyes and it looks a
little bit to me like envy. so i can understand why. part slope in 2010, the statistics guru may fisher called park slope the best neighborhood in all new york city. it is an amazing place to own a home but i have to admit to you that we don't feel that lucky. lucky as the guy down the street who brought two houses. course in 1982 when i tell people i knew that i was buying a house in brooklyn, they didn't look envious. they look worn. brooklyn was not the kind of place a jewish girl from suburban florida aspired to live in. people were leaving brooklyn for the suburbs, not vice versa. there were many moments over
the next few years that i wondered what on earth we had been thinking? i think particularly of the moment in 1990 when the mother of my younger daughter's classmate had a gun to her head as she exited the q train after christmas shopping in manhattan. we took the q train a lot and still do. in a lot of respects, the story of how brooklyn came to its decrepit state resembles what we heard repeatedly during the last election season about the failing cities and towns of trump country in the rust belt and appalachia and i don't bring this up just because i like everybody else can't stop talking about the election. the parallel is real. for about 100 years the middle of the 19 to the middle of the 20th, brooklyn was a thriving industrial city. by the way, each of you as a map which unfortunately doesn't show you where the east river is but i guess you can imagine where it is.
and if you look, you will see to the left of the middle is prospect park and to the left of that is part slope. which is where i lived all these years later. anyway, brooklyn was a thriving industrial city and if you think of this waterpark city from sunset park to redhook, going up the coast with me, all the way into, the navy yard, williamsburg and greenpoint, this part of brooklyn was really where the story was because in the days before there were trains and automobiles, we were dependent on boats and brooklyn became a center even of trade, even before we had ,
even before there were motorboats or anything like that. itwas all ships . the waterfront was crawling with peers, warehouses and factories. nearby were a variety of tenement neighborhoods, most of them characterized by the predominately irish, german, italian or jewish residents. yes, brooklyn really was an industrial powerhouse in those days, something i had no idea of when i moved there and had a multitude of coffee, shoe and textile factories, refineries, dozens of breweries. innovative entrepreneurs of the 19th and early 20th century, brooklyn invented chiclets, the teddy bear, enginemen and more paints and domino sugar to cite just a few. and in 1849, a chemist named charles pfizer, one of the
many german immigrants arrived in that period opened what would become one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. you probably know and revere charles pfizer's companies as a co-op, lipitor and let us not forget, viagra. over the years like companies like pfizer employed millions of immigrants and brooklyn neighborhoods moved to accommodate them industry is fickle and brooklyn's fortunes shifted in the second half of the 20th century. the factories that had sustained so manyamericans started to leave , not for china and mexico as was the case today but for far less crowded and more trust friendly american suburbs. in 1957 when roger owner walter o'malley broke the heart of every red-blooded brooklynite by taking the
beloved team, them bombs as they were referred to by locals to los angeles, in retrospect it seemed to foretell the sorry fate. by the 1960s, the word bomb was becoming a sad, empty shell of its former self. in 1966 the navy yard which had grown during world war ii had been the largest and best-known employer was decommissioned. by the timei moved to park slope , about a mile away from the navy yard, it was home to a few operating warehouses but mostly acres of empty buildings, fell dogs and the occasional body that had been reported by one of brooklyn's legendary wiseguys. there were still plenty of holdovers at the time that we moved in from the earlier
waves of immigrants. our next-door neighbors were an elderly irish couple who had once taken in borders as so many did during the brownstone area of brooklyn during the depression and in the decades following. they were now being paid by the city of new york to help the elderly. many of them sick and moaning and that was the musical accompaniment of my children's early years. hopefully they can't remember it. in fact, brooklyn was actually using losing population years later the writer pete hamill who grew up in working-class part slope with say about this time, you heard it over and over in those days . we've got to get out of brooklyn. and you know what? a lot of people did. so the question that i had in my mind as i approached this book was how did the old brooklyn become the new brooklyn?
the place that gq magazine called, and i still get this without laughing, the coolest city on the planet. how is it that when i moved to park slope, liquor stores had bulletproof cages to protect their cashiers and i now have picture windows and free casings of their expansive and expensive piano our selection. how could we have gotten to a point in history as we did in the fall of 2015 where the fabled parisian department store omar shea had a once celebrating brooklyn mania with an exhibit called brooklyn coach. how could the always chic parisians be so interested in buying products either made in brooklyn or seeming as though they could be worn or eaten by a brooklynite or at least the parisians idea of a brooklynite. one final question, why
should anyone care what happened to brooklyn? the place isn't even a city, it's a borough. it has 2,600,000 people in a city of 8 million, in a country of330 million , what's the big deal after mark and i show in the book the reason we should be interested is that brooklyn is a microcosm for the bass economic and social changes that have been roiling our politics and it should be mentioned, the politics of western europe. over the past 30 or 40 years, advanced economies like that of the united states have been shifting away from manufacturing or making stuff towards knowledge and information or again, thinking about stuff. new york city was already becoming the us capital of that economy by the 1960s and corporations centralized and moved their headquarters to downtown and midtown.
by the end of the 60s, 59 percent of the new york city labor force was in white-collar occupations. this gave new york a real competitive advantage over other fading industrial city. most of the people who were white-collar, they were predominantly men who were working downtown, codified this to newark shelves like rob petrie, places like dick van dyke, the traditional husband of laura petrie played by mary tyler moore who i did want to mention today but a few of those white-collar workers, especially the more creative types in media darted moving into largely working-class brownstone brooklyn. they were gentrifying the years that only became popular many decades later. brooklyn heights, cobble hill, part slope, you can see
those a little bit on your mac. these were lovely 19th century brownstone neighborhoods that had gone into disrepair. over the next decades the number of white-collar workers increased as did the number and variety of white-collar jobs in new york. government was expanding and so were colleges and universities and along with them, jobs for lawyers, administrators and professors. by the 2000, technology was opening up new occupations for the educated and creative young including occupations people have never heard of before. the killed operators at the domino sugar refinery may be gone but the new brooklyn has many thousands of web designers, developers and social media consultants. the house next door to me is a perfect illustration of the shift from the older to the
new knowledge economy. it's really gentrification at a single brownstone. i already mentioned there was an elderly irish couple living there. husband, who like other immigrants had been here long enough, had a civil service job as a postal worker while his wife had been in charge of the borders as i mentioned before. if you fast-forward 15 years. the house was sold, renovated and subdivided into condominiums. marble bathrooms, granite counters, lighting, the whole deal. the first people to move in were people that you would never have met in the old brooklyn.an architect and his wife, a furniture designer. an editor at real simple and her husband, also an editor at a music magazine. a wall street trader moved in soon after with his wife, a
freelance writer and their three children. same block, same house. old brooklyn, new brooklyn. one thing that sometimes gets forgotten when people talk about gentrification and the shift from knowledge in the old to the new economy is that this shift also keep brought about dramatic changes in domestic life and these changes also help to reverse brooklyn's decline and in fact the decline of many other cities. first, the knowledge of jobs in media and design, law and education was proving especially appealing to educated women, even after they became others. while a lot of young knowledge economy workers are drawn back to the suburbs once they start families and begin to take notice of the local public schools performance, others are unwilling to tolerate the
hour-long commute. it worked well enough for their own fathers who were often the single breadwinning parent. they want to live where they work and with that, they want their kids to be safe. the decline in crime in new york and brooklyn in the 90s was really, haste and the gentrification that had already begun in ways that worked to brooklyn's benefit and all of new york city. second, the second domestic change that is worth noting, is that the knowledge economy was as its name suggests demands higher levels of education from workers as well as early career training in the form of internships and associate positions. that was leading young men
and women to delay marriage and parenthood until they were way into their 20s and 30s. these educated singles who don't need much living space and don't care that much about the school district test scores gravitated to center city with everything that they did care about. lots of interesting jobs, bars, clubs, art galleries and a large population of suitable romantic partners. now as i mentioned earlier, brooklyn's story is far bigger than the borough itself. the same knowledge economy and educated young people are reshaping cities and ways of life in most advanced economies from london to copenhagen, sydney philadelphia, vancouver to washington dc. college educated young singles and professionals are moving into repurposed old factories and warehouses and classy high-rises that might even have a rooftop swimming pool and gym. gentrification has launched a
global estimate. you can go to almost any western capital now and find gentrified neighborhoods and it will have the same kinds of wine stores, farm to table restaurants, music clubs and again, art galleries. to be honest, at times it's for travelers a little interchangeable. it's easy enough to poke fun at some of the new class bourbon for. particularly those hipsters with their endless number of stock signifiers. bicycling, parties no pickles, lightbulb fixtures, slouchy wool hat and facial hair and to be honest, i engage in a little of that mockery myself but the character at your, irresistible caricature
misses something important. these educated newcomers are bringing innovation back to the cities. in brooklyn we are seeing the sort of creative dynamism that has largely disappeared from the borough in the 1930s. some of the new companies moved in to the very spaces built by the early generation entrepreneurs. greenpoint, ever a favorite, pencil factory for instance has beentransformed into the headquarters of the crowdsourcing website . in brooklyn's navy yard where carpenters and welders built some of the u.s. navy's most fearsome battleships, bakers are watching high-tech manufacturing ventures. again, at that waterfront i mentioned earlier along the east river and the new york harbor from greenpoint to sunset park and the southwest, this is england's so-called creative crevice where abandoned and underused
warehouses are crammed with offices for 3-d printer companies, biotech, robotics and digital design companies. with by the way fantastic views of manhattan harbor. many of these young businesspeople are what i call artist entrepreneurs. they are artists of all kinds who with the help of computers found a way to pursue their music while making a decent living. there are beauty businesses, designing and making and selling clothing, jewelry, shoes, open stationery and maps like the one above you. there are also a stunning number of new businesses centered on food, i'm happy to say. restaurants, beer halls, cheese shops, smallbatch artesian is the word, tapas, granola , mustard and take-out dinners to service
and well educated, well-traveled population with an adventurous palate and little time to cook. so that's the good news. as they say. but thetransformation from an old to new brooklyn from an industrial to a knowledge economy and gentrification itself have not been nearlyso kind to the urban working-class . so you would never know it from the popular media coverage , amongst a quarter of brooklyn lived below the proper poverty line. a similar number are on food stamps while 32 percent have an income low enough to qualify for medicaid. in the past, and industrial city like brooklyn could absorb these lower skilled immigrants into a large network of manufacturing and report related companies. these were dirty, tedious and
sometimes dangerous jobs but you didn't need an education to get one. in places like brooklyn, you didn't even need to speak english or at least brooklyn's idea of english. as tough as the jobs were , they gave a foot up on the ladder to the middle class. the question that i try to explore in the book is whether brooklyn can offer the same portholes for this generation of poor and working-class as it did previous generations. it is one of my central themes. brooklyn today is seen what is sometimes described as a manufacturing delivery bible but it is unlikely to perform the same service as the old manufacturing euros to the less educated population. traditional smokestack assembly line, companies require workers by the hundreds or even thousands. today's technologically sophisticated companies need only a smallfraction of that number .
president trump needs to take notice. those jobs that do appear in the want ads tend to require skills that are not in the repertoire of the people most in need of work. low-wage service jobs with few benefits and unpredictable hours, late staff, food preparers, hospital orderlies and janitors. that's the kind of jobs mostly available now. immigrants often take these jobs if not happily, then eagerly. some 39 percent of brooklyn's population is foreign-born, this is something you could forget again if you are just reading about the sisters. like the boroughs, immigrants from centuries arrived very poor. along the major avenues traversing the borough from the east river waterfront or the atlantic ocean, you can find people from pakistan, afghanistan, bangladesh, haiti, trinidad, jamaica to name a few. will they thrive?
i think about the two largest immigrant groups in brooklyn into two different neighborhoods. the jamaicans of canarsie in the southeast and the chinese of sunset park to the southwest. and i try to address that question.the chinese are now the largest immigrants in the borough, a fact that would stun the folks that had rooted for them bonds. in sunset park newly arrived chinese are frequently moving forward to a room and working in restaurants in near feudal conditions and i don't exaggerate. i also don't exaggerate when i say that the fanatical devotion of the entire community towards children's education is so notable that newcomers learn the first word. the second word, dinosaurs. those children learn to leave their parents poverty behind but what i find in it chapter is that the picture is much more ambiguous.
in parts of bed stuy and east new york black poverty remains entrenched over generations. over a chapter to brownsville one of the most troubled neighborhoods in new york city, its history is a fascinating one. brownsville audit as a jewish ghetto for the parents of robert moses and other urban planners of the mid-20th century . as blacks escaping the jim crow south moved into the area, the jews did not flee, at least at first. brownsville became an experiment in integration , the failure of that experiment and the continuing distress of the neighborhoods are well worth understanding in more detail. so that should give you a sense of the breadth of the new brooklyn. i want to sum up this way. 35 years ago after i moved to what real estate agents call
transitional park slope, much of brooklyn is prospering, presenting a remarkable picture of urban vitality as a new, well fed, educated class takes full advantage of a knowledge-based high-tech economy. but in poor and working-class neighborhoods, the picture is much cloudier.it's really inaccurate to reduce this to a tale of two cities as our mayor has done. there are groups and individuals who will find the pathways to the middle class and who are not part of the dickensian inner-city. the major task for policymakers, indeed for all of us is to ensure that many more can move up in the future. thank you very much. [applause] >> okay. yes? okay, thank you. that was terrific. we'd be happy to take some
questions. three rules, wait for the mic , state your name and ask a question. heather. >> that was fabulous. you mentioned these things as a precondition for this transformation. were there other government policies that were necessary or is this just a spontaneous , i don't want to use the phrase free-market because it's so bloated but how would other cities? >> in my part of brooklyn in the brownstone area it was kind of from the ground up. it was grassroots. it was people like me moving in and finding ways to renovate their homes. so that was certainly not planned. however, there's been more planning going in as more city officials and developers begin to realize what was happening, it took a while by
the way. one thing that the city did in the 90s was to give money or put a lot of money into the brooklyn navy yard which was as i mentioned a sad shadow of its former self. people were in terrible disrepair, the elevators didn't work. nobody in business except for some warehouses and they decided to upgrade the infrastructure. this was under giuliani. and it took a little while but by the late 90s they were full. and they were full in part again, because of this grassroots thing happening in williamsburg and nearby creative communities where you had lots of young people who were interested in going into the maker business as theycall it . so it was a synergy in cases like that. there has been as many of you
probably know some zoning drama in brooklyn, particularly in williamsburg which i'll describe in a bit. one of the problems that brooklyn faces but i think is true for all of new york city and in fact cities around the country that are similarly crowded is that the zoning makes it impossible to really expand and create more opportunities for more people. there are a lot of people would like to come to new york and its going to be very difficult to do that with the prices that they are having as high as they are. >> right here in the front, will work our way. >> i'm with the dustin city journal, great speech. i've always thought that brooklyn was much better off
and i wonder when you talk about the zoning and theother stuff , i used to be a neighbor of yours in park slope and i walk across the go on us can now and there were all these warehouses that could have been housing and their fighting developers and people that want to live there. new york zoning lawsand all these regulations and how much does that figure in?i think it's location , but it would have come back much sooner. it's just got a great location. >> john wrote an essay about this which i stumbled across a year or two ago which, i can't remember the name of it, the title. it would have been a consensus. i love that. i knew it had a great title. and he makes the argument that glenn never should have become part of new york city. so we nurture iconoclastic news here.
i think it's hard to answer. i would find it hard to believe that in the-ism wouldn't be a problem if brooklyn were its own city, it would still be a problem. i think there are very few cities in the united states and actually in the advanced economies of new york and a lot of gentrification that have figured out how to deal with this problem. more people wanting to live in these cities then places to house them. there are now something like, i think the waiting list went up by 40 percent, the waiting time and it's true in hampton, true in berlin. it's true of course in san francisco which as you probably know was one of the worst places, i think they had about 1960 that buildings
would be given permits unless it was affordable housing and guess what? there was no mobility.the symptom that i try to deal with or the way that i try to approach these problems is not to simply say more building, more building because that really could relieve some of this problem but i think what we're learning since the election is that people feel a certain attachment to a place and a sense of the way of life and we can't completely pave it over. and where we find the balance between that kind of nostalgia to use the word that is maybe a little more critical than i mean to be and the need for a vibrant new city is a question that i think is probably going to have to be dealt with.
>> here to the front table? >> michael myers, does your book at all refer to the brooklyn, i remember about brownsville school boards, i remember back in the jewish conflicts, in the black and italian conflicts, the violence and on church avenue , blacks in korea. all this gentrification is that a transition in terms of racial peace, what's going on with the racial conflicts? >> i don't know that brooklyn can be of in very different terms than a lot of cities in the united states when it comes to the racial tensions. i would say that the kinds of
things you're talking about, which i do mention in various chapters depending on which neighborhood i'm talking about , we haven't seen anything quite like that area in brooklyn and i would expect we wouldn't. one thing that's happened is that although the black population in brooklyn has remained more or less the same percentage from around 34 percent of the population, it's a different demographic. there's a lot of them that are now immigrants from the west indies and the caribbean and also from africa. and i think also there are so many different colors now that some of that black white binary is being worked out and another thing, that happened that i was very interested to discover, in a neighborhood like bed stuy which has become at least if
you read the brooklyn press, a center of gentrification. when i went to look at it, what i found was yes, there are some white educated newcomers in bed stuy and some of them are buying houses there which by the way if you've never been to bed stuy has beautiful architecture i think in the city. however, what i also found was a lot of this class, young people whowere coming college . they wanted just like my kids to be in the city. and some of them were starting businesses. it was interesting. i spoke to one woman who had gone, i think it was to the inner cities of chicago and
she said that when she got to bed stuy, she couldn't find a decent coffee. she said when you're in law school, you live on coffee so she wanted to re-create what she had had in chicago and sheet set up the first four or five dollar coffee place in bed stuy which was mostly by locals but it was not. so there are other trends going on that i think are cutting through some of the problems we had. >> right up. the table andwill go back to davidson rusher, i wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about the decrease of crime in brooklyn . you made the statement that there was a decrease of crime with gentrification, the people who came and didn't want to have the crime, not wanting it doesn't make a decrease in crime because certainly the people who live in the projects don't want crime either.
what was predominant, was there a cause and effect? how does it compare with the decrease in crime generally in the city of new york? >> i think the decrease was similar across new york and as many of you know, heather mcdonald is from, has done important work on the decline of crime in new york and the policing revolution that seems to have played a big role in that. so that affected brooklyn. it was interesting to me and caught me a bit by surprise that the gentrification of brownstone brooklyn started before the crime. certainly when i was, when i moved there and as i said, i was not alone, there was still crime but the 1990s, we had mayor giuliani. we had a revolution and in the way policing was done and by god, that crime sank over
the 90s and this research that just came out, i think it's fromthe furman center , saying that in fact safer communities, safer neighborhoods do promote gentrification so i think gentrification stopped as the crime declined which i have found rather persuasive on this largely because of the policing revolution . it also lured in more people once the crime went down and now you see these newcomers in my neighborhood who they have no clue what it used to be like. it's very hard. they look at this when you use to explain to them what used to be like. they're going to go, that's over there? >> the book the invention of brownstone brooklyn talks a lot about about this
gentrification, this striving for authenticity that a lot of these people needed because they wanted to live next door to people like the irish couple you describe. i'm wondering do you agree with that and also are there still any remnants of that looking for authenticity in the current gentrification wave that you see? >> that's a wonderful book, i relied on it quite a bit for my chapter on park slope. there's no question that authenticity remains a brooklyn word. it is something that you see thrown around all over the place. now, there's people who wanted to move next to or into an irish neighborhood because they thought it was fantastic. actually, it really didn't care for the aluminum siding
and the way that they kept their backyards with their laundry out there.so there were tensions from the very beginning. and i called some of the old-timer immigrants. they were notparticularly happy with this new group of what they call beatniks . some of them, professors and lawyers but you're right, they thought of them as beatniks. and those tensions i think are still there and a lot of what the gentrification drama is about has to do with the idea that we are changing what's authentic about brooklyn. and turning it into something homogenous. remember, one of the things if you read the book that jim is referring to, the people
who moved to brooklyn at first really wanted sitting living in the sense that they wanted to be able to walk places. they didn't like the suburbs. this was a very conscious revolt against urban living this new crowd. i know it was, by the way, for me. i've been living in westchester when we moved to brooklyn, i didn't want to be in the suburbs and many of the people i knew felt the same way. they thought of city living as somehow more authentic the suburbs worst trial, to orderly . not diverse enough of course. and so on. i would say the authenticity issue is not only still very much prominent in the discussion but it's a word that really has not gotten the kind of self-examination that it needs because it is leading to a kind of
foolishness about what the real park slope or the real bed stuy is. the real bed stuy is basically what it was like when you moved in. even if it was just two years ago. >> 70 goldstein, that was an excellent talk. the book that was held by two fine natives, giuliani and the bronx had the same to natives. can you guess two things, one is the bronx side of it but there's a lot of journalism about setup cities that how it helped the bronx.>> i have one or two thoughts about that. the original gentrification as i mentioned in brooklyn started in thebrownstone area .
people like the look of those areas. there's not that much in the boroughs. i think, i actually don't know this for sure, maybe heather no. the decline, didn't come down as fast? i think it's partly had to do with the buildings and infrastructure in brooklyn, the neighborhoods where they were really like neighborhoods in a way that is sometimes the case in the bronx but not always. in addition, correct me if i'm wrong about this because i don't know the bronx all that well. my sense is the housing projects, many of them were tall, are scattered all around the bronx. now, we have in brooklyn many housing projects. and in fact one of the reasons that brownstones and
the community i spoke about earlier that remains in such distress is because there are so many, it's like the largest concentration of housing projects in the country. so when you have that kind of built in environment, it's not going to attract a lot of new people. so i'm guessing or speculating here that this is part of what's held the bronx back as well, that there's reports generally on the housing simon and i discussed. >>. >> we have time for one more and then i'm planning to do this for anybody we don't get to. >> do you think that the presence of stable urban or ethnic enclaves like the italians or bensonhurst, is that a prerequisite for that
kind of urban gentrification and rejuvenation? >> i don't think it's a prerequisite for gentrification but it has been a prerequisite for immigrants to eventually assimilate. if it's done the right way. all of the immigrants who came to the united states, almost all came to new york, went to the areas where their people were and they provided social networks that were absolutely essential for finding jobs, for figuring out what to make of the strange food and all that stuff. in addition, the enclave was really an educational institution for newcomers. the problem that we find today and i can't give you a simple answer anymore that the enclave was a good thing
because it depends on the enclave. there are enclaves where the culture of that particular community is not helping to create the next generation of successful students and citizens. so what i found in canarsie was these jamaicans who i write about are extremely hard-working, very committed to owning a home, just as one of the large home ownerships in the city. >> and yet, the families don't, they want their kids to achieve in school but they don't, unlike the chinese they haven't figured out how to do it. >> and there's an assumption which turns out to be false that the schools are doing the job and they can put
their kids in school and turn their backs. >> the schools today, i don't need to tell anybody sitting here, are not going to do that for an awful lot of kids and the difference between now and four generations of immigrants is not just because the schools are worse , which in fact they are. it's that education has become much more important to getting into the middle class. so you have low skilled immigrants which we've always had but instead of being able to move up the ladder through the industrial center, they are going to have to go through the knowledge economy which means it's got to be successful and that's not happening in a whole lot. >> thank you. >>.
[inaudible conversation] >> here's a look at authors recently featured on after words. alfred university philosophy professor andras wescott and why a bike for legality may be the key to happiness plus there looked at dwight eisenhower's idle days in office and new york magazine jonathan chase weighed in on the legacy of president barack obama. the coming weeks on afterwards, melissa fleming will report on a woman's attempt to free her country on a fishing boat that was a really side.