Friday, March 18, 2016

Pardon Me For Asking, But Do You Sometimes Feel Like A Carroll Gardens "Leftover"?

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Below, one week's worth of real estate fliers found in my mailbox
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One of the main reasons why I have loved living in Carroll Gardens for the past 30 years is the relationship I have forged with neighbors who have lived here their entire lives.
When my husband and I first bought our home, we felt proud to become part of a well- established, mostly Italian neighborhood, where everyone seemed to know each other and where elderly residents sat on their stoops and helped keep a vigilant eye on your home, your kids and your car.
Though some certainly called us "yuppies" under their breath back in the 1980s, the people on our block certainly warmed up to us after we took the time to introduce ourselves.  They seemed amused by seeing us every week-end, in dirty clothes, working either on our house or in the garden.

The birth of our children, however, was what made us bona fide members, in their eyes, of the Carroll Gardens community. Our kids were immediately adopted by these wonderful neighbors. Sadly, many have long passed, but they have not been forgotten. There were Grace, Antoinette and Laura, the three sisters, who always had kind words for me when I was an exhausted new mother.  There was Lou, their brother, who always bought fun gadgets at auctions and sometimes gifted something to the children on the block.  And who could ever forget Florence, who handed out Stella d'Oro Swiss Fudge cookies to all the little ones as they toddled or bicycled by her front yard.

Even today, the Italian neighbors who are still living here take a keen interest in our now-adult kids.  Pete, who is in his 90s now, still keeps M& M in his pocket, so that he can dole them out to all the children on the block.  And though our own kids are now adults, he never fails to inquire about their lives and professional endeavors.
My dear friends and neighbors Tony and Dolores across the street have, over the years, watched over my children like grandparents.  Dolores' common sense child -rearing advice to me was always welcomed and kept me sane especially when the kids were teens.  Most importantly, the kids felt loved and protected by all these wonderful, caring adults.

When I think back, I remember a time where people connected more and where newcomers tried to integrate into an existing neighborhood, rather than trying to buy into the next new 'hot' real estate market.

Carroll Gardens has dramatically over the past ten years. Sadly, these days, I hear from many old-time Carroll Gardeners that they feel unwelcome in the neighborhood where they have spent most, if not all of their lives.
"Do you know what they call us?" many long time residents have asked me over the past few years.  "They call us 'leftovers'"
The 'they', I am told, are many of the newcomers  and especially real estate agents who can't wait to make a commission when a brownstone that has been held by one family for a long time finally comes on the market.

Though I have never personally heard the term 'leftover' used by the newer residents of Carroll Gardens, I must admit that the many glossy postcards and brochures from area real estate agents I find in my mailbox every week make me feel like a 'leftover' myself.  The mailings will invariably feature a home on the block with the word "Sold!" printed in bold lettering and the offer to sell my house for the same exorbitant dollar amount.

Of course, the mailers can just be recycled without another thought.  However, the telephone calls from brokers are more difficult to ignore.
" Are you the owner of  Number ___, ________ Street in Carroll Gardens?" an over-eager agent will ask? "Have you ever thought of selling your property?  You know, the market in this neighborhood is really strong right now."

What I hear them say is "Are you still here? How come you haven't cashed in yet so that I can make lots of money on the transaction myself."

My answer is always: "How dare you? If I wanted to sell, I would contact you.  Stop calling and stop harassing me in my own home."

Sure it is nice to know that the real estate market in Carroll Gardens is 'robust', but for all of us who have made this neighborhood our home, have raised our families here and want to grow old in our brownstones and in our community, the mailings and phone calls are unwelcome.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you a longtime neighborhood resident who sometimes feels like a 'leftover'?
Perhaps you moved here more recently and were unaware of how your Carroll-Gardens born neighbors may feel about the pressure to sell?
Let's discuss



49 comments:

onemorefoldedsunset said...

I sympathize! We get a similar onslaught of mailings from brokers here in the S.Slope, plus phone calls & even brokers at the doorstep asking a) if we're thinking of selling, or b) can we give the addresses of neighbors who might be selling. Like you, we came here in the 80s, and were (mostly I hope!) accepted by our wonderful neighbors, who looked out for each other & kept an eye out for whatever was going on on the block. Neighbors made toys for the kids, brought us fish from trips out of Sheepshead Bay, were always hanging out for lots of laughs & gossips. People looked out to shovel the homes of the elderly, run errands, help fix things. Lots of do-it-yourselfers from all backgrounds/incomes. Still have some lovely neighbors, but many are gone, and the general atmosphere has grown a little more sterile. Have never had the "leftover" term thrown my way, but I do know a neighbor who got it, & developers next door to us told prospective buyers we ought to be grateful for their ugly condo building, replacement for a nice old frame. Oy vey!

Becky said...

We get these calls at my work, another area exploding with new construction and real estate "opportunity." I think they should not be allowed. My boss is in his eighties and it frightens him; makes him think someone is going to come and take his home away. My coworker hung up on one agent who called right back to hiss "bitch" down the line at her. I've gone as far as reporting them to the BBB and the FTC. I gave up emailing corporate after getting some nasty replies from various CFOs claiming it was not their responsibility. I may well be sending them to the Jolly Roger Telephone Co. if I can figure out how to do it.

Anonymous said...

I may be considered a "leftover" by the current crop of newcomers, but I don't allow myself to be labeled anything by anyone. It's not only ridiculous, it's condescending. I have lived in CG for all of my 62 years. My grandparents lived for decades since 1950 at 295 Carroll, and we lived around the corner on President where I am still. This does not in any way mean that I "own" CG,or that newcomers aren't welcome here, I can tell you, however, that there was a more familial feeling among neighbors. As you said, Katia, older neighbors looked after the kids, and if they saw something amiss, they had no hesitation to tell the parents. Try that today, please, and see what happens. I remember an retired gentleman on my block who moved several neighbors' cars on alternate-side parking days as a favor. My father would shovel snow for our elderly landlady many decades ago, and we do the same for some of our own elderly neighbors now. We pick up neighbors' garbage cans after pickups and put them back inside their front gates rather than leave them tumbling around on the sidewalk. As with all cycles, things change...for the better, worse, better again. Right now, I think CG is somewhere in the middle as the close-knit essence of this neighborhood seems to be slipping away.

Gary Dolan said...

I know what you mean about the changing character of the area. It doesn't seem to have the cohesiveness it used to have. On the other hand, I've been living here 36 years and sometimes still feel like a newcomer, living as I do next to a family that has 3 generations in the same house.

Donald said...

I've often wondered how much time you need to put into the neighborhood before you are considered an "old timer." Having been on the same block for 23 years (3 as a renter, 20 as an owner), I still don't feel I can completely call the neighborhood mine. I also get the postcards and mailers from the Real Estate companies and I view them as congratulatory message about the absolutely best investment I have ever made. But they also remind me that there may come I time when I may not be able to afford to stay. I am much more troubled by the change in the retail mix of Smith Street and Court Street than the new people who have moved in. The college professor and his investment banker wife who have moved in to the building are as lovely as the photographer and his school administrator girl friend.

Anonymous said...

My answer has always been "of course I will sell, if you meet my price". With each call I get the price goes up by $500,000.00. Currently, the cost of my house in Cobble Hill is $15,500,000 (Fifteen million, five hundred thousand US dollars). There usually is dead silence on the other end of the phone for a minute or so and then I tell them the next time they call me the price will increase 1 or 1/2 million dollars. And I also tell them that I will be filing a compliant with NYS about their telephone harassment. They never call back.

Katia said...

I'll have to starts doing this, Anon. I'll start the price of my house at $7 million, because it is a lot prettier than the Buschenschank building I just posted about.

Anonymous said...

For perhaps a different perspective, here is my story. I am much younger than most who are posting here and was born and raised in Brooklyn, near, but not in, Carroll Gardens. After marriage, but before kids, my wife and I bought our first apartment in Carroll Gardens, charmed as we were by the neighborhood for all the same reasons that have been mentioned on this blog time and again. We always tried to be as neighborly as possible, but had little time to devote to neighborhood activities since, as young professionals, we worked almost constantly (we had a mortgage to pay in Carroll Gardens, after all). Fast forward a couple years and my wife became pregnant with our first child. We realized that our apartment would soon become too small for our growing family and faced with ever-increasing Brooklyn housing prices realized we had to buy something larger now if we wanted to make a home in Brooklyn for our family. We were, of course, priced out of Carroll Gardens for anything larger than what we owned, so we sadly moved out of the neighborhood to find more space. We now have a lovely home in a lovely neighborhood with lovely neighbors but we still have too little time to devote to our neighborhood, since we still work constantly AND have a small child (and a mortgage on a house to pay in Brooklyn). I know some generations like to scoff and say "kids today", but the reality is that work demands are greater than they have ever been and real estate prices are higher than they have ever been. Consider that your new neighbors may not actually be rude or inconsiderate, they may just be so busy trying to keep up that they cannot devote as much time to the neighborhood as they would like. We do miss Carroll Gardens...perhaps we'll be back one day..

Katia said...

I hope you will be back, Anon. You make a valid point.

Jason from First Place said...

This post has left very sad. My family has been in South Brooklyn Red Hook since they arrived off the boat in the 50's. I grew up in Carroll Gardens and went to the local schools. (PS 58, Sacred Hearts both on Hicks st. and Summit st.) I was an altar boy at St. Stephens and delivered prescriptions for Dominick & John at Clinton Apothecary. My fondest memories are all from my years in this neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone. I have been yelled at by every one of my friends parents when they caught me doing something dumb, then I would get it from my own mother. I remember the old Norwegian Church, and the Yuppie invasion of the 80's. My parents are now some of the elderly leftovers. My dad is one of the last Bocce old timers at Carroll Park, sadly his friends are passing away, and his circle of friends is dwindling. He still sweeps every neighbors front sidewalk of leaves, and dirt. I have made the move out to New Jersey, but my heart is still in CG (I still have my NY drivers license. I always thought i would keep our house in the family forever, but now things have changed and i am contemplating a future without Carroll Gardens. This would break my heart, but when I go back to the neighborhood, my old friends whose parents didn't own their house have been priced out of our old neighborhood. That is what makes me the most depressed. The new people that have replaced them do not have the same love of what it was that "we" as a community built. So I have some tough decisions ahead of me, and I hate this feeling.

Katia said...

I can only imagine how hard it would be to sell the family home. It seems that everyone who grew up in Carroll Gardens always carries a bit of the neighborhood in their heart, no matter where they end up.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:16pm here. Keep my words in mind Jason. Most newcomers do not lack the love of what it was that previous generations built, they just have less time. Believe me, they would love to get involved, but the demands of life have changed. It is a sad new reality. I am sure if you sell your family's house you will find that there is a wonderful new family (albeit a very rich one) that wants to make it a home.

Anonymous said...

I love Carroll Gardens, we moved here in 2001 and fell in love with the local feel, the history and the people. I will say overwhelmingly, that the older generations were extremely welcoming. However, their children are decidedly NOT. There is an absolute divide between the "kids" (now in their 40s) who grew up here and still live here and raise their kids here and those like my husband and I who grew up elsewhere and chose to live and raise our kids here.

Anonymous said...

Jason - As someone who was priced out of CG, I disagree that us newcomers, most of whom have lived here for 10+ years, don't love the community that the past generations built. We all moved here when it was affordable to rent (and buy), but now that the rents have climbed, none of us can afford to stay. And ALL of us are sad about it. We sent our kids to the schools, made friends in the park, supported all the old and new businesses. We are just as sad to be priced out, to see all the drug stores and banks move in. But, unlike you and your family, we won't be making millions on our family's brownstone. Look on the bright side.

jackie from designsmitten said...

I've been in the neighborhood for 12 years and adore my neighbors young, old, new, leftover whatever.
what I find really disturbing is the amount of people buying these 4 family brownstones and making them into 1 family homes which really makes it even more difficult for any 'normal' people to live here. yes it's great to have people raising families here but does a family of 3 really need 4 luxurious floors? obnoxious!

Anonymous said...

After taxes, whats left? And, where the heck can you go? Especially, after living in the best neighborhood!
I never understood the flight to New Jersey/Staten Island. Call me ole timer/left over--I'm staying put!

Anonymous said...

Can sympathize with the barrage of real estate mail (no phone calls yet). Having lived my entire 62 years on DeGraw St (yes I have embraced the revised spelling) much has changed. I crossed the Street (sorry had to go to corner) to attend St. Agnes School (where my parents and grandparents had also went to school) and still worship each Sunday at St. Agnes Church, my children being the fifth generation to do so.Every family knew every other, as well as all the aunts, uncles and cousins who visited on a regular basis. Being Irish (even then a leftover from family in the neighborhood before the turn of the 20th century) there was a mixture of Irish and Italian families on our block but there was little difference in day to day of our lives. All neighbors were like family. It was a wonderful place to grow up. Summer evening brought entire families out to the stoop where all families interacted. THE MEMORIES ARE PRECIOUS but it is still a great block in a great neighborhood. I interact (usually only a hello) with new neighbors and feel compelled to be the one to welcome them to the block. Still great neighbors, still a great neighborhood and place to call home, different yes, but nothing stays the same. STILL A GREAT PLACE TO BE WITH GREAT NEIGHBORS, don't feel like a leftover.

Martine Bisagni said...

What surprises me is that the hyper-aggressive real estate agents do not seem to realize that we have GREAT real estate agents in the neighborhood who are part of the neighborhood, often work together and have the neighborhood's best interests at heart. The neighborhood already HAD great assets. It's not new. They are just different assets...

Katia said...

Well said, Martine.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'm at risk of being considered a leftover. I have lived in Carroll Gardens for 10 years. I'm sure many of the same things that attracted me to neighborhood have attracted many of the newer residents. I moved here in large part because Carroll Gardens has character... there are neighborhood characters who probably don't know who I am. Since I moved here, Vincent Raccuglia has said 'hi neighbor' to me every time I have walked by for 10 years. I appreciate and make sure I support some of the neighborhood spots like Caputo's, Mazzola, Court St. Pastry, Paisano's and some of the great new places. Like you, having a child opened the circle of people I know here and it's great to walk down the street and see people that I know (it's pretty special in big, anonymous NYC). I haven't found that the newer residents are more or less friendly than the long-time residents. What matters to me is that we all realize that we live in a great neighborhood and if we want to keep it that way, we should make sure we're great, friendly neighbors regardless of how long we've lived here. I think we can all learn a lesson from Vincent. He didn't wait for me to live here for a certain number of years before he considered me his neighbor. I know he loves the neighborhood and probably doesn't love everything that has changed. But we are all neighbors and if we treat each other that way, I think Carroll Gardens will continue to be a special neighborhood. (And I think all of us, regardless of how long we have lived here, can safely recycle those real estate notices without a second thought.)

emirkeye said...

Hi Katia,

So we left Carroll Gardens to move to a suburb of San Francisco and we get the same flyers in our new neighborhood of ranch homes sold to returning servicemen in the late 50s. Most of the original homes have been sold and remodeled to yuppies but there are a few original elderly residents who are hounded by private developers and real estate agents. Nothing short of a restructuring of the real estate commission process of 5-6% of the home value will stop hustling sales people in a "robust" market. I suppose the internet will eventually do to the real estate broker business what it did to travel agent industry or Uber is doing to the taxi industry.

In the end though, change is inevitable and places evolve everywhere. I believe we should all appreciate being owners in a desirable neighborhood in a desirable city because the alternative I suppose could be to die with no capital appreciation in a house in Cleveland or Baltimore with all of your old neighbors bemoaning how the neighborhood has changed with all of these 'immigrants' moving in. Alternatively, we could live in a close knit community in rural America where things change more slowly but change nonetheless with all the young people moving to the city.

So I say let's relax and embrace the change we cannot control and be thankful for what we have got.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Carroll Gardens. My grandparents lived on First Place between Henry and Clinton. I lived on Clinton Street between Union and President. I attended PS 58's and basically grew up on first Place. In 1979 my parents moved to Staten Island. They bought a townhouse. We could not afford to buy a brownstone in Brooklyn at that time. My entire extended family was still in Brooklyn. I was miserable because Carroll Gardens was my home and we had to move. My parents are still in Staten Island but they have done everything in Brooklyn. They still atten mass at Sacred ?Hearts, shop on Court Dtreet, and go there for lots of amenities. We still have family on ?First Place and ?Henry Street. They will never leave. The neighborhood has changed. It is not what it once was. So many old timers have passed and their children have moved out. It is very sad to see how the neighborhood has changed. I remember the invasion of the yuppies. My grandparents did not understand why the place was changing and why these yuppies were moving in. However I do remember them embracing them after awhile. I now live in North Csrolina but Carroll Gardens will always be my hometown. I had to leave New York altogether because it is unaffordable. Now that is sad. There are a lot of New Yorkers here and many from Carroll Gardens. For this of you who are still living there you are not LEFTOVERS. You are the community. You made the community. I respect that you are still there. I wish I was.

Anonymous said...

That kid broker who claims to have been born on my block? People who can't do, teach. And those who can't teach teach gym. I can't imagine anyone waking up and saying I wanna sell apartments. This kid obviously had nothing better to do but get a brokers license. Judas. My mother lives in San Francisco area and gets harassed daily by card toting brokers. These brokers are the real estate equivalent of ambulance chasers. Yes. Change is here, people die and families sell. In time.

Alyssa Alfano said...

I am a newcomer to the neighborhood - we started renting on 4th place between Court and Smith 2 years ago, and I have been reading this blog since. First, thank you for all of your posts. I even went back and read most of the archives! Second, you and other long term residents are not leftovers - you have built a sense of community in this neighborhood that I have never experienced before. I am so grateful. Sadly, some of us who would love to be long term residents (even leftovers ;)) and continue building this community 40 years from will never make this a reality in the current real estate market.

Katia, please continue your great work of posting community events (especially those on nights and weekends) where newcomers and long-term residents can meet and enjoy everything this neighborhood has to offer. I'm sure there are many of us of us who know our time in Carroll Gardens can't be forever, as much as we would want it to, but still want to contribute in a meaningful way. I will make it a point to introduce myself to more neighbors over the coming weeks. If you (Katia and commenters alike!) have other suggestions, please continue to share.

Katia said...

Thank you so much for your kind words, Alyssa. Nice to meet you and if you ever spot me on the street, say hi.
That's really how we build an even better neighborhood.

Allyn Howard said...

Hi Katia, I've been in my building since 1992, longer than I lived in my hometown in Va. I only wish I owned something here! I've been very lucky as a renter all these years. I see the changes and it's worrying to me bc I hate to think I'll one day have to leave such a wonderful neighborhood. I cannot afford the "market rates" for rentals or purchases in the area. We get the real estate mailers, but for now the owners don't seem interested in selling. I try not to think about it too much. I was so thrilled when Le Petit Cafe and Sparky's (no longer around) & Cozbi (clothing boutique - no longer around) opened up down near me. The 1st 10 years I was here, not much existed on my end near W9th St. Then Frankie's and Buttermilk Channel opened up and all was perfect in my mind. But, as with most neighborhoods, especially those in a good school district, more & more people arrived. You just can't stop "progress" when you want to! For the most part, I've only met friendly people, but I rarely go out on weekends bc waiting in line to eat out just feels like living in Manhattan. I have a tendency to wonder how everyone makes their money, which can be fun, but tiresome. Sometimes it's hard not to feel jealous of the stylish young French families whose adorable kids attend the International school. For now, I'm hanging on. I hope all of you home owners stop getting so many calls, that would drive me crazy. At least, you own your homes. That's gotta be great! Who would have thought so many wanted to live near the Gowanus Superfund site ;)

Anonymous said...

The real estate agents have now left notes on my windshield wanting to buy my vintage car. There's nothing left in the neighborhood they don't want to flip now!

Marcia said...

Amen. I get bombarded, too, by those vultures. And when anyone calls, I’m not as polite as you. I say, “You’re vultures and you’re ruining this city.” I add, as you do, “Don’t call me again.” But they will, of course. They’re making a fortune on the commissions. When I was getting bombarded with mailings from one place, I bundled them up and mailed them back to their office and left messages on their phones t stop calling. I don’t hear from that place anymore but there’s fifty others to replace them.

Being on a commercial street, I didn’t have the warm experience you did of being “adopted” by the Italian neighbors but I had friends who did. One of my friends was a single mother with a 4-yr-old in the 70s. She later relocated to Chicago and is now a grandmother but whenever she comes back, she visits her Italian landlords who acted as substitute grandparents to her daughter (now herself a mother of three). I guess that world is gone forever.

But how sad the changes.While it's nice to see so many young couples out on weekends with their babies but there’s something about that indoor play area replacing Winn’s that is pathetic. Kids can’t play outdoors any more? Maybe the advantage is the kids can be left there while mom and dad shop?

As you showed so well, it's creepy to have these money-grabbing real estate agents waiting for us to sell or die. Not to mention how we’re losing the sky. Not around here yet but have you been to BAM lately? I remember in Pete Hamill’s memoir about growing up in Brooklyn, in what’s now Windsor Terrace, he opens by saying what he always loved about Brooklyn was the sky. How you can see it from anywhere in the borough and how much is obscured in Manhattan. I think of that every time I look up and see another piece taken away.

We were lucky to get in when we did.

Katia said...

There is quite an interesting comment thread on the PMFA Facebook page on this.
If you are a FB member, you may want to check it out. https://www.facebook.com/Pardon-Me-For-Asking

Anonymous said...

To Marcia's point: Back in the 50s and 60s, we kids played outdoors. We couldn't wait to get home from school, change out of our school uniforms, and get outside for some fresh air before going back indoors to do our homework. We played hop-scotch, jumped rope -- single and double-Dutch -- played with our Barbie and Ken dolls, roller skated, played hide-and-seek, rode our bikes (those who had bikes), played stick ball in the street, stoop ball, played tag, made mud pies, or we made up games as we went along. Free form play, nothing pre-planned, and every afternoon was a new one for us to create on our own terms. Not to mention Carroll Park which was our everyday playground in summer with a great wading pool that was actually a wading pool and not just a few sprinklers. I am glad, however, that the park is well used today after school. We learned how to compete, how to bargain, how to make rules, how to win AND lose -- no collective prizes. You either won or lost, and you learned to deal with it. We were never sitting around, but always moving, running, and jumping to burn off all that energy. Much healthier than today's planned indoor play for certain.

Anonymous said...

I moved to First Place in 2001. I made a real effort, despite the 'new, more stressful' demands of life mentioned above, to meet the longtime residents of the neighborhood. I went out of my way to introduce myself and make friendly conversation every time I passed them. I offered to host an annual block party, which I've done now for the past four years. Some of them said, "Thank you for bringing this back. We used to have these block parties when we were kids". Just make the effort to integrate because what we all fear is the unknown. It might not be Sesame Street but it certainly can get past and "us vs them" mentality.

Anonymous said...

Hahah. People, indoor play means gymnastics or rock walls or trampolines. It's probably going to be a fancy day care. right next to the doggie day care. :-) it's just an alternative place to play! Kids will always play outside and they do!

Jeff Alexander said...

I know how you feel. I feel even worse than you do. I''m a 57 year old native, a left over , but one who doesn't own a home. Here's a song I wrote in 2001, when this was already in play. I made this video last summer, in 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q54bWDY-hdc

Bev D.-Red Hook/Carroll Gardens said...

As being a resident for 61 +years. Going to many meetings, being called a leftover. Finding this humiliating at the time, 6 years ago. Our neighborhood changed from late 70's on- we were the first to rent out to singles. Pets included. Changes were fine, but as we approached the 2010 and on, at meetings we were put down on many topics. Since, they were newcomers- paid or pays high rents, we were the old leftovers with minds of three generations ago. Our two or three generations made these neighborhoods. Our families worked long hard treacherous hours, in bitter cold or hot weather, sweating in grease n grime, longshoremen carrying and coming home to eat a hot meal n go to sleep to get up at 4:30 am to stand on a line. Grandpa to stand abd wait for pint of milk for the young in the 1930's. Our quaint 4 or 5 family homes want to stay the same. No high risers, no ugly glass towers that are towering over 5 stories or higher. Rentals for seniors in new senior Aptments start at
1600.00. What the heck. Where is this low
income or moderate income for elderly. We
are losing old mom n pop businesses to
banks, realtors and developers. We don't
know our neighbors as we did once. Young
came in with an aristocratic idea- that they
pay high rents, so what they believed
should be here in our neighborhoods
should go. Landmark for one. I and others
fought against. One we don't need a board
to select who Workers we must hire and the cost of an individual exterior door or window. What rent increase would we Estimate for one's increase. This was absurd. It's quieted down abit. I attended all two churches and two schools plus John Jay High. I may have maybe tops three I still knew as classmates. All have moved on and passed on. Elderly Italian families or individuals are a teaching lesson to the young. They watch as they garden and make beautiful fixtures in their gardens. They see how we buy in bulk, where they buy one or one pounder or two. As a lil girl, loved playing hip scotch, stoop ball, jump rope, hide n seek and ringing door bells on Court St n hiding. Haha. Rascal I was. I'm much quieter but am outspoken when it comes to community affairs, where our seniors do not come out to-since it's late. We don't see anyone sitting on stoops as we did years ago till the city lights went on and sometimes till they went off. Them days were great. We don't do block parties, since, young say they must sleep till noon or later. Hmm. Block parties start at 11:00am- on. Thank goodness for Court St. Fair or Carroll Park Rummage fair. We don't have our Madonna feast- St Stephens church, feast would last for a week. Love fairs, where I can walk Court St with no traffic. Eat n have drinks and buy from vendors. We should do this a few times a year. Joe the ice cream truck jingling up Third Place. Or the carnival truck- pony ride or seat rides. Or the high ride. Or the hot peanut vendor on Sunday afternoons. Them were the good ole days. Safe days. Sharing days. Great aromas on Sundays or holidays. Peddler-Tucker with his horse n wagon, also had a store s who sold veggie n fruits.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Let's not forget John, Nancy and Mario on the block. I prefer to be known as a "local" .

Anonymous said...

I've been living in Carroll Gardens for about 7 years and I love it. It's the most neighborhood-like borough to me and I'm from an Italian hometown, so I really appreciate the community. That said, as a single person, sometimes I feel like a "leftover" in a certain way just because there are SO many young families. It almost feels like they're creating a community for themselves here and the childless are not so welcome. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but it seems like almost everything here is geared towards parents/families and it's making it more sterile. And by families, I mean young children - again, it seems like all the kids here are under 5-6 years old. Maybe that's because as the kids get older the family moves once they need more space and to get their kids into school, but then in comes another. I fully understand why, it's a beautiful neighborhood with great schools, but I also think it's starting to lose some of it's character and is now merely a haven (or stopover) for wealthy families. I have no problem with kids, but it really feels like the kids (and their scooters) outnumber the adults here. That's my only issue with this wonderful neighborhood. And thanks again for this wonderful blog!

Katia said...

Anon, I have heard the same from other single friends here in Carroll Gardens. Perhaps, as our local elementary schools continue to be overcrowded, young families will decide to move away again, but right now, the neighborhood seems to be all about kids.

Anonymous said...

So we're supposed to pity people who could potentially make millions off their homes now? If there were only a simple solution like saying "no thank you" or throwing out a flyer. Poor you.

Hankbreath Deluxe said...

I'm 39 y/o, have lived here for 3 years (renting) and abhor the term "leftover". Not cool. I love the neighborhood for the same reasons long-time residents do.

Anonymous said...

I've rented in the neighborhood for 4 years, a transplant from SF, i've been in NY for 6. the first time i got off the subway and walked through the neighborhood i thought, why would anyone ever live anywhere else. While yes we are new-comers we talk to the neighbors, old & new, and take an active part in the community. Though the neighborhood has changed a lot even in the short time we've been here, we're fearful that we won't be able to afford the rent much longer since our renewal increases are beyond cost of living, and i'm sure these real estate agents are reaching out to our landlord too - but we're hanging on as long as we can and promise to help preserve the community as much as possible while we're here.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I love your blog and follow it regularly. I am impressed with how well you maintain it. The last one really hit home. We have been here about 35 years, as as renters, coop owners and then home owners.We have definitely felt the "leftover" attitude. Originally, we really enjoyed the neighborhood (still do) and the many interesting small businesses, especially the restaurants. They are really disappearing.The many empty, for rent spaces on Smith is very depressing. When we moved here from Greenwich Village, the same thing was beginning to happen, along with crime.
I find the whole Gowanas Lighthouse thing beyond belief. For all the building, I don't see much or any change in the crowded schools and subways.
Keep up the great work,

Katia said...

Thank yo so much, Anon. I do spend way too much time on this site, but am glad that it gives the community a place to discuss and stay in touch.

Anonymous said...

I've been in CG for 19 years, all of them as a renter. The "old timers," who we'll call "leftovers" here, have rarely, if ever, gone out of their way for me or my family. Not to say they're all bad -- there's just always a generational split, and a split between homeowners and renters. (There used to be a more cultural split, too, but that's evened out a little.) The homeowner/renter split has probably grown, now that all the homeowners are rich (on paper or in real life). The point being: There was no golden age. People find comfort in their own generation and their own economic class.

And: be nice to the newcomers.

And: Personally I am grateful for newcomers and their activism and love for the neighborhood. Farmer's market, movie nights, flea market, great coffee, new places to eat. All developments in recent memory.

Anonymous said...

Ahem....the "newcomers," as we'll call them here, are the same people who complain about everything that doesn't meet with their approval. Complaints about coffee smells from D'Amico and repeated calls to 311? A few short decades ago, you could smell the redolent aromas of the Gowanus Canal halfway up to Court Street. Now that's a gagging smell to be reckoned with! What next? The smells from Caputo's or Court Pastry? It was the "old timers" or "leftovers," some of whom are well known in the community, who fought tooth and nail since the 1960s to get someone to do something about the Canal. Complaints about church bells? Why would anyone buy a house across the street or a block away from a church or move to Brooklyn which is known as the Borough of Churches and then object to bells? If a church has a steeple, chances are it has bells -- or at least a carillon -- and they will ring. But church bells are bothersome and complaints are repeatedly called into 311. Of course, we know that all these complainers are a minority, but I'm incredulous at the gall of some people who don't "approve." I won't even comment on the "rich homeowners" or "golden age" or "generation comfort" or "economic class" remarks. Those statements are simply insulting and condescending.

Anonymous said...

Amen anon 4:59pm

Anonymous said...

The good old days, before the neighborhood was lousy with church bell complainers...
http://www.nytimes.com/1997/09/28/nyregion/brooklyn-2-worlds-edge-scene-bias-beating-line-divides-red-hook-carroll-gardens.html

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:09, the article you cite could have been written about any number of neighborhoods in NYC boroughs going back decades. These hoodlums were in the minority. I remember the gang activity in the 60s when I was growing up....the Sea View Kids and the Degraw Street Boys...claiming their turf by signing their gang name to the bottom of lampposts around the neighborhood. Painting the neighborhood with a broad brush suggesting that CG's old-timer residents are racist or worse is simply wrong and cynical. You insult me (an Italian immigrant), my immigrant parents, and my immigrant grandparents who lived decent, honest, hard-working lives here. You must have a bone to pick about some personal slight you feel you have suffered here.

heather epstein said...

My husband and I have lived in the neighborhood for the past 5 years. We love the area and the friends we have made in the hood. Over the past 5 years I have seen it change drastically. From the rise of expensive condos and townhouses being built to the growing closures of stores (rip Angry Wade) to the openings of chain stories (Intermix, etc). My husband and I rent and we can no longer afford to live in this hood. We hung on for one more year but we are thinking it's time to rip the band aid off. Which kills me. *sigh*

Lisamarie said...

I'm not a leftover I'm an original. I'm 51yrs old been here since my begining and I'll be here until they take me out in a pine box. My parents,are still alive in their 70's! So jo I don't feel like a leftover. Live & let live.