"I'm not leaving"

Luckily for Adelaida, she has section 8 zone housing, which is more highly regulated, and allows her to stay in her home for much longer than many of her friends. After asking Adelaida about how the people who aren’t as lucky as she is have had their lives changed by gentrification, Adelaida spoke about a woman she knew who had been homeless for three years after a dispute with her landlord over her contract. Adelaida then speaks about the concept of affordable housing, stating that she often asks the question, “affordable for who?” Affordable housing in South Williamsburg is often used as a way to circumvent laws regarding real estate development, allowing developers to build where they otherwise would not be able. For Adelaida and many of her neighbors, “$2,000 a month” is not affordable.

Notwithstanding the disappearance of the neighborhood she once knew, and the rising housing costs, Adelaida says there are some aspects she likes about the new Los Sures. As someone who enjoys learning about other cultures, eating different foods, and travelling, Adelaida says that the new South Williamsburg restaurants and establishments are of interest. There are people from many different countries who move to South Williamsburg, and she enjoys seeing the diversity. She also says that the diversity has not affected the dispositions of Los Sures residents, as people generally get along very well. The sense of familiarity has disappeared, but people are still welcoming and open.

Another aspect that Adelaida sees as positive is the heightened police presence in Los Sures, making the neighborhood much safer than it had been previously. For many years, Adelaida says there had been a lot of petty crime, as well as organized crime, with the rise of gang violence in the 90’s. Now, she feels safer walking down the streets. The heightened police presence comes as a result of the neighborhood’s change demographically speaking, which, in some ways implies that the people who inhabit Los Sures are more worthy of protection than their predecessors.

For Adelaida, the gentrification alone is not enough to make her move. She will be staying for as long as she possibly can. South Williamsburg is her home, and she doesn’t see herself living anywhere else. This decision is the result of an amalgamation of many factors, but one of them is quite simple: Adelaida doesn’t drive. Here, in South Williamsburg, Adelaida can walk to see her friends, go to the store, or visit restaurants. She’s a woman on the go, and living a sedentary life is out of the question.

The sensation of feeling trapped, the movement of a community center, these are experiences are not singular. Adelaida’s life is, of course, her own, although it is a product of her neighborhood, a neighborhood she shares with many others. The course of gentrification does not show signs of slowing, though those affected by it must have their voices heard. 

"I'm not leaving"