One of the things I enjoy most about walking the eastern side of Sunset Park is the path you take through different communities. From a heartland of Latino culture on Fifth, you'll hit a mostly Chinese neighborhood beyond Sixth, and by 9th the beginnings of Satmar dominated Borough Park, all overlaid over an older, and declining, Irish, Italian & Scandinavian population. Though you want to understand what you're seeing around you, you're clearly an outsider. But it's a beautiful experience, that of an older city offering up a series of foreign encounters, and always a heartening contrast to my own, much loved, but rapidly homogenizing home turf. What is a city without complex variety? With Sunset Park primed to boom, boom, boom, and rife with development and buy-up - those multifamilies on Fourth & around the park selling like hotcakes, waterfront smorgasbording & commercial development racing along in Chinatown - I wonder what it will be like even a decade from now. A Starbucked Fifth, complete with high-end restaurants? A rash of boutiqued condos in place of family rentals? Clearly development that brings real, permanent jobs to local residents has to be seen as a good thing, but at what expense to a neighborhood's identity & affordability? Without a doubt, rents will be soaring. The Chinese & orthodox areas (the latter technically east of Sunset Park, but hovering at its border) will probably remain most stable, given that property ownership stays largely within community hands, even though there'll be plenty more eyesores rising along the streets and avenues, but elsewhere, is this (see below) the inevitable profile of the future? Williamsburg dances on the horizon.
Industry City via Crain's