Changes to the East?

I live in area of Prospect Heights my dad tactfully refers to as “a changing neighborhood.” Parts of Prospects Heights have already changed. West of Washington Avenue, the neighborhood is teeming with restaurants, coffee shops and quality produce available for purchase, but east of Washington Avenue, I seem to be the only person trying to gentrify the area. In the stretch of Washington Avenue near my apartment, the street itself is divided. On the west side, there’s Tom’s Diner, Café Shane and a good C-Town. On the east side, there are just sketchy Chinese places and a grocery store that might as well be a bodega, except the hours are worse. I think the problem lies in Washington Avenue itself. The street goes through Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights. But instead of acting like Smith Street, which creates continuity through Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, Washington Avenue is an east-west border in the neighborhoods it passes through. Based on The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the problem seems to be that the lights on the street too strongly favor cars traveling north-south, which discourages east-west foot traffic and ultimately splits up the neighborhoods.

But east of Washington Avenue, things are happening. My window overlooks the construction of two new large apartment buildings. Once they’re up, I wonder how the neighborhood will develop. If the city changes the light patterns on Washington Avenue, in a few years I’ll be able to annoy people with stories about living in Prospect Heights before it was anything. Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy squashing the packets of duck sauce I find littered along the east side of the street.

Related article: Sometimes I Feel Like I’m The Only One Trying To Gentrify This Neighborhood [The Onion]