Global/Local Sunset Park

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn's 38th district. (jacopast/flickr)

Mayor de Blasio plans to invest $100 million into the industrial area of Sunset Park. Queens College professor Tarry Hum, author of Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn's Sunset Park, talks about the local - and global - forces shaping that Brooklyn neighborhood. 


Tarry Hum

Comments [20]

Lorraine liriano from Sunset park

I have lived in Sunset Park since I was14 years old. I am concerned about the development of the area because working and middle class will be priced out of the area. I would like to buy a place but the prices are outrageous how about developing mixed income housing and economic opportunities for people in the community.

Aug. 07 2014 11:45 AM
ex Sunset parker

I lived there for five years and moved 2 years ago. Our co-op building went from multinational to chinese dominated and meetings being held in Cantonese. It was difficult for the other half of the residents who spoke either English or English as a second language.
The waterfront properties are being bought by mostly Chinese, according to some old owners that still have their business there.
I always felt pretty safe there even at night, but it also has it's share of gang shootings and random shootings in the summer months. Doesn't get too much coverage though on that.
The pool is still open and that and the park is a big bonus.

Aug. 07 2014 11:42 AM
C from Brooklyn

I am disturbed by the racism on this thread.

Aug. 07 2014 08:28 AM
Lynn from Sunset Park

Sunset Park is an amazing neighborhood. Its is on the crest of change right now and the folks that live here seek to have a voice in that change. Rightly so. We've seen what was done to the Williamsburg waterfront and we say a collective- no thank you. We also have serious serious concerns regarding the gutting of what was intended to be and is zoned as 2 and 3 family homes that are being used to house numbers that far far exceed that(up to 15 families in one home). These homes are run by unscrupulous developers who are taking us back to the "How the Other Half Lives " level of dwellings shown in Jacob Riis images from 1890. No joke. The developers flout safe and habitable housing laws seeing the occasional fine as the cost of doing business. Their profits far outweigh any fines that are infrequently imposed. Current laws allow for this blatant disregard for zoning and safety standards by being difficult to enforce. As a neighborhood we have been fighting this battle. I know many other neighborhoods across this city are as well. We hear that a bill may be coming before the city council that would address this loop hole. I can only hope it is true. The tenants in these buildings deserve better . They have few if any options and are disenfranchised from recourse for unsafe housing. Complain and they get thrown out and there are plenty more desperate people willing to take their place.

Aug. 06 2014 08:48 PM
betzy from Sunset Park Brooklyn

I've lived in Sunset Park for most of my life. I own a brownstone here and my family and I are very happy here. Its multicultural, thriving, good schools and hospitals etc. I have never felt unsafe in Sunset Park. Panoramic views from Sunset Park, can see the beautiful NYC and a stones throw away.

Aug. 06 2014 08:23 PM
M. from Outside the city.

Born and bred in Brooklyn (1950s-1970s), my recollections include the pool in Sunset Park as an oasis for an inner city kid. It was a clean and safe place. In later years the area became very unsafe. There was no way that I'd venture into the park (I think the pool was closed.)
I moved from Brooklyn in the 1970s because the area was not where I'd choose to raise a family. I remember my nearly 80 year old father having to fight a kid trying to rob his car outside Key Food on 5th Avenue.
I hope Sunset Park benefits from the area's rediscovery. While it's easy to declare a lovely success from the blending of cultures, that's not always the case. (See earlier comments.)
I remain hopeful. My ancestral home remains nearby, and I'd love to return.

Aug. 06 2014 12:38 PM
olive from Brooklyn

It's a wonderful space for the park alone. Talk about people-watching— you could sit there all day and just watch and listen.

Here's one explanation about the silver railings throughout Sunset Park:

Aug. 06 2014 11:50 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Brian, I think you need to be much more careful referring to anyone as a "gentrifier." If you're someone who moves to a neighborhood from another neighborhood that you've been priced out of, this often does not fit into the negative, "pioneer" type of narrative that many media outlets talk about. Just because you make a little bit more money than someone else should not make someone into someone who is taking over and pushing people out. We all need to broaden this conversation to focus more on how real estate developers and the city are the reason why NYC overall has become prohibitively expense for many residents.

Aug. 06 2014 11:45 AM
Ken from Soho

I worked at the Food & Drug Administration in Sunset Park from 1965 to 2000, at which time the FDA moved from Sunset Park to new facilities in Jamaica Center. We had two buildings in Sunset pArk at Third Ave. & 30th St. One of these buildings is now a Federal prison, and the other now houses a large electronics store.,

Aug. 06 2014 11:44 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Sunset Pk Chinatown is overly populated, everyone is PACKED in like sardines. Nowhere to go, hang out, meet up with people, except for the one holdout - Soccer Tavern. Never went in there, but I found it amusing that they have signs in English and Chinese stating that bathrooms are for customers only. And the big American and Norwegian flags outside the bar.

And Chinatown is expanding down to 7th ave. Watch out!

Aug. 06 2014 11:36 AM
Harold from Sunset Park

I don't like the way the mother-daughter houses are being broken up and turned into multi-family dwellings. Also, there are absentee landlords who are not maintaining these building. The chrome bars and doors are an architectural abomination. They need to be discouraged.

Aug. 06 2014 11:35 AM
Janna from NYC

Sunset Park was a really affordable place to rent studio work spaces up until about 2-3 years ago, but Industry City in now making sure that's no longer the case. They're driving up the rent all over Brooklyn. I currently rent a space in Navy Yard and they're doing the same thing to us.

Aug. 06 2014 11:35 AM
Janna from NYC

Sunset Park was a really affordable place to rent studio work spaces up until about 2-3 years ago, but Industry City in now making sure that's no longer the case. They're driving up the rent all over Brooklyn. I currently rent a space in Navy Yard and they're doing the same thing to us.

Aug. 06 2014 11:34 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Bernie, go hold hands with John "from office" and live in Croton on Hudson or some other place where you feel more "comfortable."

Aug. 06 2014 11:34 AM from Queens

Had a retail store on 5th and 45th from '76-1980. It was heavily Dominican and Puerto RIcan then, though there were still some Norwegian other white ethnics around. Haven't been there since. Have no clue what's been going on around there since 1980.

Aug. 06 2014 11:32 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

The Chinese have ruined 8th ave in Sunset Park. Non-stop spitting, smoking, shouting and straining resources by chopping up buildings into more apartments etc. I now have PTSD whenever I see those shiny silver rails in front of a building.
Don't even get me started on the N train.
I lived there (in a mixed-race building near the N train) for a couple of years and it was awful - why come here just to turn another place into the hell that you left?

Aug. 06 2014 11:30 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

When will the waterfront get developed with public space. Sunset Park has some of the best vistas in the city but has virtually no public space by the waterfront.

Aug. 06 2014 11:29 AM
suzinne from bronx

Please. I lived in Sunset Park for over 10 years. It's a relatively safe and nice neighborhood, BUT as a white native of NYC I came to resent living in a neighborhood OVERWHELMED with non English speaking Chinese. No one wants to feel like the outsider in their own city. That's how I came to feel. Once called a cab to take my poor cat to the vet, and the driver who arrived couldn't speak a work of English. Had to go back home and call another car service.
Went to a Chinese restaurant their and they didn't even want to serve us. We were a problem to THEM.

Actually the Irish American family sold their hold to Chinese. They gutted the place and it became a brothel!

Moved out in 2009. Back in the Bronx.

Aug. 06 2014 11:28 AM
Rachel from Sunset Park

I have lived in Sunset Park. The developers that are going in are destroying the neighborhood. They are putting 2 bathrooms on each floor of a 3 story brownstone. I've heard of a building with 5 kitchens. The rest of the rooms were bedrooms. There was not a couch in the place. Developers are turning it into a slum and taking advantage of people and expecting them to live in unsafe buildings. Further, the department of buildings is worthless. Complaints along with pictures sent to the DOB go nowhere.

Aug. 06 2014 11:26 AM
bernie from bklyn

i live here. never got jacked up by a gang member for my cell phone or hassled on the street or seen women get harasssed and this neighborhood is working class poor.

Aug. 06 2014 11:25 AM

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