• Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

51 to 1

District-by-district perspectives on what we build in New York City

District 35 – Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant


Mar 27, 2021 ,

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March 2021, conversations in Crown Heights.

Akilah: “This building [on Schenectady Avenue] means a lot to me, it’s been in my family a long time. What’s happening here is poor people are being pushed out. We need more apartment buildings, more schools.”

On a nearby corner, Ron sits in his walker surrounded by a group of friends.

“I’ve lived here most of my life. The neighborhood is good, but the buildings are bad. That senior citizens home across the street – they need more heat in that building, the heat isn’t working. But I love the atmosphere in the neighborhood. You can talk to anybody, and make friends.”

Further down Schenectady, Sandra owns the party store business “Majestic Creations”.

“Buildings that mean a lot to me here are my church, the post office, and the school where my kids go. They are convenient, everything is right here. I welcome the changes in the neighborhood, it’s getting more unique and diverse because different people are moving in.

“There used to be more violence, now it’s more peaceful than when I came in 1982. But I would welcome more housing, and programs for the youth – places that the children can go after school instead of the streets, and mentoring.”

Margaret, near the corner of Schenectady and President Avenue

Margaret: “I’ve been living in my building for 26 years. I’d like them to fix the building – it really needs fixing. Everything needs fixing. I do it all myself, because the landlord doesn’t do anything.

“When I came here they didn’t have as many people as now, but now it’s very crowded.”

January 2021

Gib V. via the 51 to 1 survey form

A place that means a lot to me:

The grocery store on Vanderbilt Avenue is an important part of the neighborhood to me. It is centrally located in Prospect Heights, so many neighbors shop there. The customers reflect the range of people who live in the neighborhood, and it’s often that one runs into friends and acquaintances. It’s going on four decades as a family-run business, and its owners are very engaged with the community. Even during the pandemic, it seems like a place where all of Prospect Heights comes together.

What concerns me:

Rising housing cost in our neighborhood has displaced many residents over the last twenty years. Prospect Heights is becoming less diverse, which is sad because many of those who live here believe social and economic diversity contribute to a better quality of life. Expected development at Atlantic Yards will increase the population of the neighborhood dramatically, although I have found that some of those who have moved in thus far are interested in community engagement. The pandemic has not stopped increases in commercial rent, either, making it difficult for small businesses to survive.

What I would like to see five years from now:

I would like to see the demographics stabilize, and preserve the diversity that we still have. For that to happen, the neighborhood would need significant new affordable housing – especially deeply affordable housing. I would like to see less traffic on our avenues, and more opportunities for using streets as public space. And I would like to see more neighbors involved in a dialogue about the future.

December 2020

Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum

Via the 51 to 1 survey form

A place that means a lot to me:

The Brooklyn Museum means a lot to me. I used to go with my family every first Saturday of the month. This was always a great experience for me and a fun time, between the food, the live music and family oriented vibes.

What concerns me:

My neighborhood is actually developing very well! It is a bit gentrified now, but that isn’t the worst thing that could happen in any neighborhood. There are however, many new properties and high rise apartment buildings being built: I do fear soon people won’t be able to afford the area if they do not already own property to live.

What I would like to see five years from now:

Five years from now if I imagined my neighborhood Crown Heights, I would like to see renovations to public places and cleaner train stations. I do feel like the improvement has been tremendous with both of these things, I just hope they continually improve.


Share your story of a place that means a lot to you in your neighborhood, and what you would like to see in the future.


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