We'd filed this under 'duh,' except that the article in the new Block Magazine about how the Italian community in Williamsburg is getting squeezed by what the sociologists would call "demographic shifts," has some interesting historical background on the nabe and its Italian history. First, of course, Bobby Moses cleaved the neighborhood in two by running the BQE through it. Then, well, we all know what happened next: "Two decades ago, as artists and “hipsters” flocked to Williamsburg, the Italian community faced an additional challenge...developers in Williamsburg have driven housing prices up and low-income Italian families out of the neighborhood." The "capo" of the Giglio Feast that graces Havemeyer Street every July (and is now surrounded by construction sites) says:
“The housing has become too expensive for the Italians who live here. The developers don’t live in the neighborhood, they just care about their money and they don’t give the Italians the opportunity to stay here. It had always been a two- or three-family-building neighborhood. Now you have high-rises and condos that are really expensive.”Look, it's always best to listen to the capo, no?
· The New Italian Williamsburg [Block Magazine]