The Deli #56 - Altopalo, NAMM 2019, Queens takes over Brooklyn

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and Bushwick have furnished denizens of New York with<br />

a variety of performance spaces, and it certainly doesn’t<br />

show any signs of slowing down soon, but the inevitable<br />

process of gentrification will likely continue to push<br />

musicians further into <strong>Queens</strong>. And while one would be<br />

inclined to just chalk up the immediately adjacent neighborhoods<br />

of Middle Village and Glendale (both of which<br />

are situated right next to Ridgewood), the residential elements<br />

of these areas set them apart from the visually<br />

unappealing industrial spaces of eastern <strong>Brooklyn</strong> that<br />

have proven fertile ground for art.<br />

Rather, it’s more likely that neighborhoods like Maspeth,<br />

with its large industrial lowlands, and Ozone Park, with<br />

its recent development investments, will become spaces<br />

where artists, promoters, and entertainment companies<br />

will set up shop. Both neighborhoods are characterized,<br />

at least in part, by recent real estate acquisitions of unused<br />

warehouses and factories, and fit with the general<br />

trend of movement that has characterized <strong>Brooklyn</strong>’s<br />

development <strong>over</strong> the last twenty years. That being said,<br />

DIY has never necessitated “venues” and established<br />

performance spaces for art to flourish, and as industrial<br />

spaces become increasingly scarce it may force a return<br />

to form. It’s entirely possible that Cypress Hills and its status<br />

as a diverse, residential community (plus its proximity<br />

to the burgeoning scenes of Bushwick and Ridgewood)<br />

may see an influx of creators in the next five years.<br />

Regardless of where exactly the next wave of musicians<br />

and scene-makers lands, their choice of <strong>Queens</strong> as “the<br />

place for artists” — at the expense of <strong>Brooklyn</strong> — is not<br />

simply written in the stars: it’s a process that’s already<br />

well on its way. d<br />

A<br />


s the fringes of Bushwick and Ridgewood seem to blur into<br />

one another, many loathsome acronyms have appeared––<br />

from the cringey “Ridgewick” to the somehow even worse<br />

“Quooklyn.” Bad names aside, the trend is noticeable and has<br />

become only more apparent as venues shift <strong>over</strong> to <strong>Queens</strong>, too.<br />

choice to be the new “hot” neighborhood. With its quiet treelined<br />

streets and safe yet modest residential sensibility, it’s an<br />

area that seems more conducive to raising a family than starting<br />

a punk band. Yet, the neighborhood was attractive for its convenient<br />

location, proximity to the M train and affordability.<br />

However, the historic <strong>Queens</strong> district is not simply an extension of<br />

<strong>Brooklyn</strong> or Bushwick and to refer to it as such would be a) misguided<br />

b) and <strong>over</strong>sight of Ridgewood’s rich history. Formerly a sturdy<br />

blue collar German enclave and later a predominately Italian and<br />

Latino neighborhood, Ridgewood was able to remain more or less<br />

out of harm’s way during the most chaotic points of deindustrialization<br />

in the ’70s. Pre-World War I, Ridgewood sustained a viable<br />

beer and knitting industry largely due to its population of German<br />

immigrants and proximity to what was previously farmland throughout<br />

<strong>Queens</strong>. Around the 1960s and 1970s, the white flight epidemic<br />

spurred many <strong>Brooklyn</strong>ites to flee to bucolic areas of <strong>Queens</strong>. This<br />

was especially salient when Bushwick became a hotbed for chaos<br />

and looting in the Blackout of 1977, leaving much of the area vacant<br />

and burned. However, Ridgewood and Bushwick were, in fact, entwined<br />

at one point, sharing the same zip-code (11227) up until the<br />

wake of the ’77 Blackout when Geraldine Ferraro advocated to split<br />

the neighborhoods and finalize a border.<br />

More recently, when rising rents have pushed artists out from<br />

their loft-style <strong>Brooklyn</strong> apartments, Ridgewood has presented<br />

a viable option. Ostensibly, Ridgewood appears to be an odd<br />

Unlike Bushwick, which has certain historic buildings, Ridgewood<br />

has designated historic districts (Stockholm Street, Ridgewood<br />

North, Ridgewood South and Central Ridgewood). It’s one<br />

of the reasons you see blocks of uniformed row houses uninterrupted<br />

by modern, plasticky apartment complexes. Architecturally<br />

speaking, crossing <strong>over</strong> into leafy Ridgewood feels and<br />

looks starkly different from the distinctly industrial look and feel<br />

of Bushwick. Louis Berger, a German born, Pratt-educated architect<br />

who designed around 5,000 homes in the two neighborhood,<br />

is partially responsible.<br />

However, now that the trendy vegan eateries, rustic pizza shops,<br />

novelty pinball bars, and hip galleries dot the streets alongside<br />

stalwart pork stores and bodegas, Ridgewood’s status is no longer<br />

pegged as an up-and-comer but rather a full fledged destination.<br />

As real estate developers and tastemakers have caught<br />

on to the trend and attracted a wide range of millennial newcomers,<br />

new zoning is being put in place to foster more housing and<br />

mixed-use residential buildings. Inevitably, this may cause speculation<br />

to sky-rocket and land values to rise, further propelling<br />

the cycle of displacement.<br />

18 the deli Winter <strong>2019</strong>

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