New newcomers are mostly white Americans who come to

New York City is a very diverse urban center, and most of its neighborhoods are heterogeneous in terms of people’s backgrounds and economic class. Ridgewood, Queens is a good example of a New York community. It is not the most distinguished neighborhood, but since it is just an average area, it shows what life is like for an ordinary New Yorker. That being said, New York City has been expanding rapidly since the 1990s, and the city has been overall more inclusive, safe, and clean as a result. Though progress is good, it shouldn’t neglect, or even trample over, the local citizens. What we generally see in our ever changing metropolis is that there is an influx of a gentrifiers. These newcomers are mostly white Americans who come to the city, from all over the country, to New York in search of work. Though these people have every right to move into a city so that they can pursue the economic goals they intend to attain, they often disregard local people as they try to fit into their new homes. Gentrification seems beneficial, but it badly impacts too many people for it to be considered a helpful change.To first access the problem, one must look at the specific neighborhood at hand. Using census tracts, which are data surveys of a particular geographical region, one can see the demographics of each neighborhood in the city. That being said, Ridgewood is identified as a lower-middle class community. The region has experienced growth in terms of people’s: median household incomes, employment rates, and education. Although these advancements took place, they were not enough to bring the neighborhood out of the working class status. Even though the average household income increased, the price of rent jumped dramatically, so the proportion of wealth remained stagnant. Most of the workforce has an education basis of high completion or less, and this explains the fields of work that occur in the community. Only 6.5% of laborers were self-employed as of 2015, and there were small percentages in advanced areas of work; management, business, and financial operations only made up 7.2% of occupations, as an example. Since the vast majority of people do not have high paying jobs, most people in the neighborhood are home renters instead of homeowners.In terms of racial and ethnic backgrounds, Ridgewood is varying, but not as heterogeneous as some parts of New York. There was a major demographic change, as whites use to be the majority in 2000, but became the minority in 2015. The numbers for whites fell from 57.2% to 40% in recent years. This shift occurred because of the growth seen in both the Hispanic and Asian populations. Asians moved from making up 6.6% of the area to 10.3%, while Latinos escalated from 34.3% to 48.8%. These three are the dominant groups, and other backgrounds are minimal or practically nonexistent in Ridgewood. It seems strange that the white population decreased, as this time period was the height of gentrification, but it makes sense when considering a few variables. This area in Queens is highly occupied in space, and only 10.6% of units are vacant. Though this is a increase from the 4.6% in 2000, it shows that the vast majority of this region is inhabited. There is no space for the construction of large apartment or office complexes, and hipsters have not “overrun” the neighborhood for this main reason. Also, there are little vacant households because a large number of the people are immigrants, who do not want to, or cannot afford to, move to another neighborhood.Moving on to the issue at hand, we have to first define the term. Gentrification is defined as the acquiring and remodeling of houses and stores in run-down urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals; raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses in the process(Dictionary.com). The word can also describe the actual process of adapting to a higher class lifestyle.Gentrification has not struck the heart of Ridgewood, but for multiple reasons, it is an issue to the community. First of all, many people who live in the area, live here because they were displaced by gentrification. The Polish people who once lived in Park Slope, Williamsburgh, and most famously, Greenpoint, have left their prior communities because of too demanding rent prices. In the first decade of the millenium, Ridgewood was seen as the optimal choice for relocation. As many Polish people moved out of Brooklyn, and into southern Queens, gentrifiers soon followed. Even for many gentrifiers, the prices of Greenpoint and Bushwick homes became too much, and Ridgewood was the best alternative. With the M train connecting to the L line at Myrtle Avenue-Wyckoff Avenue, there is still easy access to Manhattan. It therefore, has seen an increase of gentrifiers, and land development. In regards to the Hispanic population, the number of Hispanics in the community has increased, but in recent years, there are signs indicating that the influx of Latino immigrants is slowing down. The increased rent prices are almost as high as the nearby communities in Brooklyn, and Hispanic immigrants can no longer afford to move into Ridgewood. For the time being, the Hispanic community is a majority, but it is uncertain what the future will hold. According to one real estate agent, Ridgewood is,”unlikely to be totally taken over by young creative types and professionals because of the strong roots its existing middle-class residents have in the neighborhood”(Ben Yakas).To put it in greater perspective, gentrification has been altering the physical and cultural landscape of the entire city. To say that gentrification is simply neighborhood enhancement is dishonest. The expansion of high rise apartment buildings, the startup of retail stores, and the restoration of local apartment buildings all seem like positive ideas, until you take a closer look. Many neighborhoods that are in the midst of gentrification are regions that have historically lacked funding from the public and private sector. Gentrifiers realized this, and they took advantage of low property values. As they buy property, they inflate property costs. This in turn, displaces low-income people, and it therefore reshapes the culture of the neighborhood. Some newcomers admit that there is a division occurring in the neighborhood, but others don’t see it as such. This is so much so that, “gentrification-related displacement has become a cat-and-mouse empirical game where people are forever being displaced and gentrification comes to explain all movement”(John Schlichtman, Jason Patch, and Marc Lamont Hill). Certain gentrifiers do not acknowledge that their presence leads to the outcasting of local citizens. All this is allowed because of economic inequality and it is enhanced by the legacy of racial divisions in the United States. This is clear because the neighborhoods that are gentrying are disproportionately inhabited by people of color. Therefore, people of color are automatically more often displaced(Stacey Sutton). This is at the due to an influx of Caucasian people in the gentrified neighborhoods. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was one person who recorded the changes in gentrified communities. One particular community that he investigated was Bedford-Stuyvesant, and he found that, “For newer residents, the median household income is $50,200 while long-time residents it is a mere $28,000″(Ameena Walker). This number indicates a vast financial division between the new residents and the locals. Many of the local residents are African American and the newcomers are predominately white. Another neighborhood that is most known for experiencing this kind of change is Harlem. As a 20 year Harlem resident puts it, “Every other day, there is a new restaurant opening, or new construction of ‘luxury’ apartments, new bars with $17 cocktails and $30 entrees. The median household income in Central Harlem was $38,621 in 2015…Who can afford this stuff”(Angela Helm)? Ridgewood has experienced demographic alterations from 2000 to 2015, but it is still an immigrant hub. Regardless of background or immigration status, the community has mostly maintained homogeneity in economic class, and this is a major binding attribute of the area. Gentrification brought about the biggest changes, but it hasn’t conquered the neighborhood just yet, though it might do so in the coming decades.