Kids at STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Summer Camp in Brooklyn have foregone the usual craft projects and campfire games of the season to spend their vacation learning the ins and outs of gentrification. It shouldn’t be such a surprise, since that seems to be all New Yorkers (and the writer of every obnoxious Williamsburg trend piece) can talk about anymore. The fact that this camp is a necessity convinces me in various ways that society, especially that of New York City, is going down the toilet; but it’s also a really encouraging way to try to make gentrifying neighborhoods accessible to everyone. Maybe these kinds of initiatives can allow for residents whose families have lived in a neighborhood for 30 years stick it out alongside all those thirty-something accountants from Iowa who seem hellbent on moving into every last brownstone on the block.
Camp leaders hope so, anyway, and want kids to understand what the gentrification means on a financial level so they can take control. Campers walk around the rapidly changing Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill taking pictures of symbols of the gentrification process, like construction or for-sale signs. Some of the kids shared their ideas on finance with Sally Herships of Marketplace. Lots of their thoughts are adorably giggle-worthy, like 7-year-old camper Tristan’s:
“Gentrification is a small shift in an urban community to mostly help senior citizens get a home.”