Sunset Park is a neighborhood located in Brooklyn, New York. The neighborhood has a 130,000 population made up 49% Hispanics, 33% Asian, and 14% White. West of 5th Avenue is where the main parts of the Hispanic community is and east of 7th Avenue is where the largest Chinatown of Brooklyn is located with a large Chinese community. To the west on the waterfront of Sunset Park lies Industry City, a recently renovated industrial complex that serves as a venue for food, arts, shops, and more.
The neighborhood is named after Sunset Park, which lies on a hill facing towards where the sun sets and high enough to see the skyline of Manhattan.
Eighth Avenue – Chinatown in Brooklyn
If you take the N train and get off at 8th Avenue, you will be taken into the first and largest Chinatown in Brooklyn. In the early 20th century, 8th avenue was previously known as “Little Norway” as it was home to Norwegian immigrants. After the neighborhood increasingly became abandoned as the Norwegians left, Chinese grocery stores run by Chinese immigrants had started to take its place. More Chinese immigrants began moving in to the area along with people escaping the increasing rents of Chinatown in Manhattan. Today, the Chinese population in the neighborhood continues to grow. The avenue is filled with Chinese run fruit stands, markets, restaurants, shops, and small businesses.
Sunset Park was originally a neighborhood for European immigrants. But as they eventually moved out, immigrants from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, other Latin America and Caribbean countries began moving in. Hispanic restaurants, businesses and churches were built and the community began to grow. Today, Sunset Park is a predominant Hispanic population.
If you were to take the D, N, and R train, you can get off on 36th street and 59th street to reach the Hispanic populated area of Sunset Park.
Basilica Our Lady of Perpetual Help is one of the largest church in Brooklyn.
Separated by the Gowanus Expressway, Industry City lies on the waterfront of Sunset Park. Facilities here were previously used for shipping, manufacturing and warehousing. In the 2000s as technology began to evolve, money had began to pour in from the government to renovate this area into a technology campus. Artists lofts were also built and events attracted many artists into the area. More renovation plans for spaces office hubs, shops, businesses, and even NBA’s Brooklyn Nets training facility had developed.
With the recent renovations and popularity of Industry City, the worry of gentrification also comes along. Usually when an area becomes popular, the housing around start increasing in rent and people who originally live there would not be able to continue to afford living there. Although for Sunset Park, housing prices had already been increasing before the boom of IC. Sunset Park’s easy accessibility by different subway trains and highways and it’s thriving Hispanic and Asian community are reasons the pricing is going up. But IC may be a threat and exacerbate the issue. But on another side, IC can create more jobs for the community. The poverty rate in Sunset Park is 25.8% compared to the 20% citywide and by creating more jobs families can support themselves. A job training center called Innovation Labs in IC helps integrate local community residents into the businesses around. This can provide opportunities for the local residents.
Sunset Park is special because of the communities that make it up. While gentrification is a threat, can the deep rooted Hispanic and Asian communities overcome this?