Social Responsibility

Gentrification in Brooklyn

Gentrification is serving as a destructive force in New York City. Unfortunately the effects overwhelmingly affect the city's longtime minority communities.

There are 2 primary issues:

Economic - The main theatre here is housing: tenants besieged by landlords to relinquish their longtime homes. And acquisition of a domicile becoming increasingly unaffordable to the majority of the city's residents.

Cultural - Longtime communities being depreciated and being unwillingly replaced by newcomers. This occurs through non-centralized processes which often manifest themselves in disrespectful and demeaning ways. Some of these are brazenly racist or class-ist - others are micro-aggressions or cultural insensitivities.

Role of Tourism

Fortunately, the tourism industry is one of the largest sources of employment in New York City. The US Bureau of Labor & Statistics shows that the Leisure & Hospitality industry has over 450,000 jobs in NYC (although obviously this also includes restaurants and local leisure activity). And a substantial amount of the jobs are unskilled or semi-skilled (do not require higher education). This is vital for the large pool of unskilled labor among the city's longtime residents. Although we acknowledge that there are nuances to tourism's effect on the city. And gauging a clear picture of the impact is complicated.

What's a certainty is that TOURISTS = GOOD. Official statistics show that on average, each individual foreign visitor spends $2000 here. So bring on the tourists!!! We are thankful that you choose to come here.

Our Standing

This company is run by a 4th-generation Brooklynite (Jeff Stirewalt) whose family has lived here since the 1890's. We have been here long before Brooklyn "became cool." This company is a mom-and-pop local small business. The profits and earnings are primarily spent in nearby communities by our ownership/staff - who are mainly comprised of born-and-bred New Yorkers, or people who have lived here a long time.

We care about ALL of Brooklyn and its communities. We take gentrification very seriously - and recognize it as a grave menace to many of our neighbors.

There are 2 ways that we approach gentrification:

1) Sensitivity and respect - we are committed to conducting ourselves in a manner of utmost respect for our neighbors, and for longtime residents of neighborhoods where we operate.

2) Financial support - Approx. 10% of our net earnings have gone to local civic nonprofits, and to artists/art institutions. We also solicit donations from our customers and they have shown alot of generosity. In 2017 we raised over $6000 from our customers for respected nonprofit St. Nick's Alliance for affordable housing. Moving forward we hope to raise even more.

How You Can Help:

The best thing that you can do is give money to those at the frontlines of these issues: affordable housing, tenant advocacy, education etc. Here are several reputable, longtime local nonprofit agencies:

St Nicks Alliance

Los Sures

El Puente

Here are some fairly-recent political activist groups which campaign for progressive municipal policies:

Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network

Equality For Flatbush

In conclusion, this issue is always on our mind and we strive to contribute even more support in the future!

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