When you’re a New Yorker ― you know, the one that was born and raised here ― there is a particular aesthetic that you want to keep regarding your community. You want to maintain the memories of fun block parties, and opening Johnny pumps to get wet, sitting on the stoop with your music playing and just enjoying the neighborhood. You want to keep these memories, and somehow, keep most of the culture you have grown to love.
Now, I am aware that things do change and everything has to change for the better… but let’s be honest, some things have indeed changed this city for the worse. One of those things is the expansion of CitiBike.
Let’s be clear; I am not saying that the CitiBike invention does not make any sense; this is New York City, the city where people take public transportation because they don’t own cars. I am saying that CitiBike should not be in certain neighborhoods. Gentrification is critical, and to be quite honest; it’s not a decisive factor for New York. The issue is that the CitiBike epidemic was created to bring the “lower” neighborhoods more attraction to the middle class; This is a problem!
How? Let’s look at this, shall we?
What is the purpose of the middle class being interested in lower neighborhoods? TO MOVE THEM OUT! It’s that simple. So simple that areas who have been housing specific ethnic groups have placed their rent so high that they cannot afford it. Neighborhoods are slowly being wiped out. Mom-and-pop stores are going out of business; developers are buying property to turn them into million-dollar condos, homeowners are approach with cash offers on their brownstones that are not for sale!
In saying this, the question is, what is the real purpose of CitiBike being in a neighborhood that is not middle class? Do you honestly think it’s to help people get around more? Think again. CitiBike is another mechanism that is being used to force out those who are incapable of keeping up with the middle-class New Yorkers. Simple as that.
Still don’t think so? Okay, let’s look at Downtown Brooklyn for example. Downtown has always been a neighborhood that harbored shoppers, warehouses, and factories. In the midst of this area, you have six public housing units: Atlantic Terminal, Fort Greene Houses, Farragut Houses, Gowanus Houses, Wyckoff Houses and Red Hook Houses. Let’s keep in mind; these neighborhoods have been here for a very LONG TIME. Now, let’s look at the area. Fulton Street has always been a large shopping area. It was once the home of Albee Square Mall, Bargain Bazaar, and the infamous Beat Street Record Store. Today, downtown consists of Banana Republic, Starbucks, Nordstrom Rack, Ann Taylor Outlet, and let’s not forget The Barclays Center. It gets even better. New Housing developments are formulating in all surrounding neighborhoods, and they are going for $1,900 and more for a studio apartment. Who’s affording this? Not the people who have been living there. Do you think that these apartment buildings are even available and affordable for people who are residing in the area? NO, it’s not. So, when building high-rise condominiums in proximity to public housing units, what happens to the neighborhood? Everything goes up. Food prices increase, rent increases and everyone who were once able to make things work is now struggling even more because of their “community upgrades.” With all of this happening, here comes CitiBike. An “affordable” option to get around the city for 45 minutes at a time.
Now, CitiBike may be in areas where there are no buses and means of public transportation in the downtown area, and that’s ok, but why is CitiBike in the public housing community where there’s a tiny percentage of people who use it? The real reason is that public housing in New York City is being scouted by developers to turn them into co-ops. Low-income neighborhoods, like public housing, who have housed CitiBikes are likely to have the highest gentrification rate.
For developers to maintain momentum in these communities, they need to be able to get the current tenants out; which is why rent goes up because the city knows the current residents cannot afford it. It’s an underhanded trick and a pretty amusing one at that. But, you already knew that this was the plan anyway. Right?