Research: History of East Williamsburg

Nowadays, East Williamsburg is known as the area that is bordered by Flushing Ave in the Southeast, Bushwick Ave in the West, and Metropolitan Ave in the North. However, from “The Neighborhood Name Police,” I learned that there is a discordance on how this area is called. The article argues that there is a phenomenon occurring in East Williamsburg between the creation of a creative neighborhood name and its gentrification. In this text, Julie Strickland provides the reader with the history of the name of the neighborhood. The earliest time an area was called East Williamsburg comes back to 1783 when that was the name for Ridgewood, Queens. Following, Cripplebush (between Flushing and Nostrand Ave) became  East Williamsburg. There is not a specific known root for the use of this new name. However, the author mentions that the establishment of East Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone in 1982, and the start of the gentrification of the area in 1980-1990 is most likely a part of this name change.

Due to the uncertain nature of the new neighborhood’s name, and that its nature rooted another name, I researched about Williamsburg’s history, which includes East Williamsburg in it. “History of Williamsburg Brooklyn” by Brooklyn Tours and  “Brooklyn in the Civil War – Soldiers” helped me expand my understanding of the history of the area.

In 1638, the Dutch West India Company took the land from the longstanding Native Americans, which in 1664 became part of the English who called it Bushwick. Jonathan Williams acquired the area that was located in the Metropolitan Ave in 1802. He named this Williamsburgh with an “h” at the end in his honor. In 1840, the Bushwick separated from Williamsburgh, and they dropped the “h.” In 1855, Williamsburg became part of Brooklyn, and in 1898 it became part of New York City.

The year 1903 was crucial for Williamsburg since the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed, which Brough residents from Lower East Side to stay in the neighborhood. By 1917, Williamsburg was the most densely populated area in New York City. Many Europeans came and settled in the North Williamsburg. Immigration did not stop after that, in 1930s Jews came to Williamsburg escaping from the Nazis, and between the 1960s and 1980s, the Hispanic community grew as well. The area was affected by the numerous immigrants arriving, and the lack of infrastructure to give a home to all of them. Therefore, by 1990 the manufacturing jobs diminished, and the numbers of unemployment increased, which caused the increase of poverty, racism, inadequate health care or education for a big part of the population in Williamsburg.

The neighborhood that attracted jobs for its industrial jobs was each day becoming less favorable to live until the area attracted city planners, developers and community groups who worked in what they call “reviving the neighborhood” by participating in the gentrification of Williamsburg. East Williamsburg in specific, which got that name around the 1990s became a home for artists that were interested in the low rents, and the big studio spaces they could get in the area. There was a real state boom, which attracted a more affluent audience of residents to East Williamsburg.

From the source “City Living: East Williamsburg Has a Multi-layered History,” I learned about the most recent real state history in East Williamsburg. Katherine Ulrich comments that nowadays there is more infrastructure in the area around Meserole, Montrose, and Johnson Streets, which changes the real state ambiance of the neighborhood. The author included the statistic from the reports from the Department of City Planning that shows an 8% increase from 2000 to 2010 of the population of the Brooklyn Community District 1, which includes East Williamsburg.

Bibliography

Tours, Brooklyn. “History of Williamsburg Brooklyn.” Like A Local Tours. Accessed July 29, 2018. https://www.likealocaltours.com/williamsburg-brooklyn-history/.

Ulrich, Katherine. “City Living: East Williamsburg Has a Multi-layered History.” Am New York. May 14, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2018. https://www.amny.com/real-estate/city-living/brooklyn/city-living-east-williamsburg-has-a-multi-layered-history-1.6820973

Strickland, Julie. “The Neighborhood Name Police: East Williamsburg.” Brooklyn Based. August 14, 2015. Accessed July 26, 2018. https://brooklynbased.com/2012/07/24/the-neighborhood-name-police-east-williamsburg/

Williamsburg. “Brooklyn Public Library: Brooklyn in the Civil War – Soldiers.” Accessed July 26, 2018. http://www.bklynlibrary.org/ourbrooklyn/williamsburg/.

I am an international student from Venezuela that desires to communicate with the world around me visually. I hope that I can become a part of the global conversation where I can tell stories that are untold. With a background in business and languages, I have experienced how different fields will always connect at some points, and I aspire to reinforce that connection in my work. I believe that there is not one pure aesthetic, and therefore I have chosen to collaborate and learn from those around me to every day grow as an artist.

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