Like most gentrified neighborhoods in New Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens looked completely different only a decade ago. There were no coffee shops or strollers on Smith Street and the brownstones were not obsessively recognized for their aesthetic charm just yet. It was a lower-income neighborhood on the brink of a migratory explosion.
So when the Bloomberg administration sent a letter last week to the residents of the quasi-bourgeoisie neighborhood about an incoming homeless shelter on West 9th and Court
, the residents freaked
. Almost immediately, shouts of the common "Not in my backyard!" reverberated from the community.
It's funny how that can work, huh? The recent transplants are frustrated that even more recent transplants are on the way. And this is strange because the neighborhood is no stranger to Department of Health programs: a housing complex for abused women and a clinic for heroin addicts already exists.
With the homeless population in New York drastically spiking in past months, City Hall has had to quickly
open homeless shelters across the City, finding spots for the 47,000 or so living on the streets. And one of these locations happens to be in Carroll Gardens, where the administration seeks to open a facility, run by Aguila Incorporated, that can hold about 170 of the City's homeless.
Before shit really hit the fan in the community, Marty Markowitz, the Borough President, and three other legislators sent a letter to City Hall, arguing that there was still the question of cost and the homeless shelter in general:
"Given that the City of New York will pay substantial sums for the rent of the building, this suggests a large potential conflict of interest," the letter said. (Read: Uhm... yeah?)
Technically, the City only has to notify the community of a project like this - no approval is necessary. It doesn't look like there's much the senselessly frustrated Carroll Gardens residents can do: apparently, mattresses and refrigerators have already been brought in, indicating that it's opening up regardless of outside pressure.
Don't worry, Carroll Gardens residents, these people just need a place to sleep. Everything will be fine.