This Brooklyn Activist Is Making Life Hell for Her Community Board

Felipe De La Hoz for the Village Voice
Alicia Boyd in action at a recent Community Board 9 meeting
The meeting ended just as most have over the past year: Alicia Boyd was shouting at Community Board 9 District Manager Pearl Miles. And Miles was shouting back.

"You're corrupt, Pearl!" yelled Boyd, to which Miles replied: "I don't care!"

Asked to clarify, Miles quickly mumbled that she meant she didn't care what Boyd thought.

Earlier in the meeting, Miles had called the police and threatened to have Boyd ejected for "trespassing." It would have been the fourth time Boyd was arrested and removed from one of the board's regular or committee meetings; this one was abruptly adjourned before the NYPD could arrive.

Boyd, a 54-year-old former kindergarten teacher and therapist with a stern educator's gaze and frizzy, layered hair, is a community organizer and the leader of the Movement to Protect the People, a community group that opposes upzoning and real estate development in Brooklyn's Community District 9, which includes Crown Heights, Prospect–Lefferts Gardens, and parts of Flatbush.

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The Ten Craziest 'Curiosities' We Found at the Soon-to-Be-Closed House of Cards

Categories: Gentrification

Lara Zarum, the Village Voice
"This whole block is suffering."

Standing behind the counter at his small Greenwich Village shop, House of Cards and Curiosities, James Waits surveys the changes that have affected many businesses in the area. "It's a combination of things. Rent is a factor."

House of Cards will close its doors on May 31 after more than twenty years in business. Stocked to the ceiling with cards, gifts, and curios, the shop — located at Eighth Avenue and Jane Street — is just one of a growing number of small mom-and-pop businesses in Lower Manhattan that have been forced to close their doors due to rising rents.

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East Village Residents Ponder a Changing Neighborhood After a Homeless Woman's Death

Courtesy Catholic Worker's Maryhouse.
Donna Harris at Christmas, 2014
The memorial service for Donna Harris was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Catholic Worker's Maryhouse in the East Village. But the service itself did not start until after 7:30 as organizers acknowledged the slow-to-arrive crowd. "You have to give them time to come," said Felton Davis, who works at Maryhouse. Indeed, the group soon swelled from five to nearly fifty people, most of whom knew Harris only in passing.

If you live near Tompkins Square Park, chances are you knew her, too. Harris, who had been homeless for at least the last decade, was known for her bright blue nail polish and unabashed commentary to passersby: "She didn't want people's pity," attendee Amanda Daloisio said, laughing. "And she was not meek and mild."

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Longtime Bed-Stuy Residents Have Had It With Hipster Bars Invading Their Neighborhood

As she described the gourmet menu drafted for her new bar on DeKalb Avenue, Bob's Standard co-founder Hilary Krishnan faced a tough crowd. "Gourmet pickle plates, curry sandwiches, chorizo dogs," she said cheerfully. "Are you getting hungry yet?"

The attendees at the February 9 meeting of Bed-Stuy's Community Board 3, whom Krishnan was asking for support, stared back in silence. Leaning back in her chair, 55-year-old Brooklynite Juanita Lewis had a one-word answer to Krishnan's question.


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A Brooklyn Nets Fan Responds to "Gentrification's Team" Label

Two weeks ago, we called the Brooklyn Nets "Gentrification's Team." It wasn't a particularly enlightening revelation, of course, but it was now supported by cold hard unscientific data. More »

Attention Upscale Homeless! Urban Outfitters' Space Ninety 8 to Open in Williamsburg on Friday

Tessa Stuart
Space Ninety 8
Last year, when news emerged that Urban Outfitters would be opening up on North 6th Street in Williamsburg -- a stone's throw from a planned Whole Foods and Anthropologie (both on Bedford), and next door to a new American Apparel -- an informal poll yielded consensus: neighbors were unenthusiastic. Some even swore they would never shop there.

But everyone bemoans gentrification; resisting it, when you're passing that $39 crop top every day on your way home from work, is another matter entirely. Just ask Spike Lee.

Will those negative Neds and Nancys be able to withstand the siren song of a macramé watermelon holder? Find out on Friday, when the multi-level Urban Outfitters, "Space Ninety 8," opens in Williamsburg.

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Williamsburg's Tops on the Waterfront to Close After 21 Years, Pushed out by Chain Stores

Categories: Gentrification

D.B. via Yelp
The "customer appreciation sale" at Williamsburg grocery store Tops on the Waterfront seems pretty awesome at first. Instead of just select items for sale, everything in the store--even the shopping carts--are 10 percent off.

But everything is for sale because Tops is closing its doors this month after 21 years in the neighborhood, pushed out, owner Yvonne Wong says, by large chain stores flocking to Williamsburg.

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The Rent Conundrum: Brooklynites Are Fleeing Back to Manhattan!

A few months ago, we sadly had to write a post titled "Brooklyn is No Longer the 'Budget-Savvy' Alternative to Manhattan." It revolved around the news that Brooklyn was now the second most-expensive place to live in the country, falling only below its skyscraper neighbor, Manhattan. But what happens when the second-most expensive place to live becomes as costly, if not more, than the most expensive place?

Let's call it the modern-day urban sprawl.

In a story that would come as a surprise to someone living in 2006, the Daily News reported yesterday that Brooklyn is becoming so damn expensive that recent transplants are actually going back to Manhattan. The slowly, then rapidly developing real estate boom in Kings County over the past decade is now pushing out newcomers as well as longtime residents.

Welcome to the rent conundrum that is New York City.

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Just Because It's My Brooklyn Doesn't Mean It Can't Be Yours

David Shankbone, Wikimedia Commons
Fulton Street Mall
On Saturday afternoon, Rerun Theater at Rebar was full. It seemed only fitting that even the name of the place is a do-over, its chairs the back seats from old minivans--and not just because Rerun is a venue for post-film festival movies that don't yet have distributors. Today the theater was screening Kelly Anderson and Allison Lirish Dean's My Brooklyn, a documentary about gentrification, public policy, and community in and around Downtown Brooklyn. In the film, Anderson unearths the political catalysts and private interests behind the gentrification of the borough she now calls home. It's worth noting that Rebar is in DUMBO, a neighborhood whose name is short for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass," and which was adopted in the late 1970s by residents of the area, hoping that its ugliness would deter developers. It didn't.

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