Urban Fold

Artists Feel Gentrification Pressure in Bushwick

The Brooklyn Brief attended the recent eighth edition oft the Bushwick Open Studios annual art event. There the blog heard from artists concerned about the growing expenses of living in the neighborhood.

"Bushwick is catching on," artist Colm Henry told the Brooklyn Brief. "Honestly, I’m hostage to whatever my landlord wants to do. We’re hostage to any landlord, really."

Also shared is the story of painter Becky Kinder, who lives in a building currently seeking to legalize its living units by means of the state's Loft Law, which was expanded in 2010 by the New York State Legislature:

"Like many properties in Bushwick, the originally industrial building has structural issues the owners want to bring up to code, while being able to make the first floor open to commercial tenants. A loft law conversion would presumably insulate artists from drastic rent increases, but a deadline for tenants to apply passed in March. Any new artists hoping to set up shop are out of luck."

Kinder also makes a case for the state of decline in the neighborhood that would surprise Jane Jacobs:

"It started to get nice, and then it sort of went over a cliff…People came in who didn’t have the same regard for the upkeep of the neighborhood. Littering, screaming at all hours of the night. I think they were lured more by the proliferation of bars."

Full Story: Excited by the Crowds, Worried About the Rent: Conversations With Artists in Bushwick


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