Jasmine Martinez Interview Transcript

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Jasmine Martinez Interview Transcript

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Davis Nam


Jasmine Martinez


Davis: My name is Davis Nam and I'm interviewing Jasmine Martinez for the Displaced Urban Histories project 2016 with Becky Amato. And so let's just get started. Would you mind telling me just a bit about your childhood and where you grew up and what it was like?

Jasmine: Yeah um, I have lived in Williamsburg for my entire life. I've never lived in any other area definitely born and raised in Brooklyn New York. My family has been here since the sixties, so the apartment we have, we kind of inherited from my grandmother. Um, she's been in there since '67 I believe. Um, yeah. Amazing. Amazing childhood. I love my neighborhood. It's definitely a beautiful one. I am definitely grateful to be a part of like all the changes it's gone through. Definitely. Um, yeah I guess that's it. I definitely went to some great schools here in the neighborhood, met some really great people.

Davis: Where did you go to school?

Jasmine: Um, so I- very, very strange. I went to charter schools, so I went to a Beginning with Children charter school, which is in Brooklyn as well as almost near Bushwick, but it was in that school from kindergarten to eighth grade, which is a little, a little different from other public schools. And then, um, I guess everybody from that school kind of just migrated over to Williamsburg charter school. So those were the two schools I went to. And then once I went to college it was in city side, which is downtown Brooklyn for one semester. And then now I'm at Laguardia.

Davis: Did most of the people in your charter school-were they from Brooklyn?

Jasmine: Oh, absolutely. Like everybody was from south side Williamsburg. Uh, pretty much. Um, I mean, well my elementary school, this other school that I went to from kindergarten through eighth grade had a little bit more of diversity in terms of where people came from, from the city. Um, but definitely for my high school, everybody was mainly from this area for sure, or even maybe a little bit widespread in Brooklyn. So we had a couple of kids from downtown Brooklyn or something like that. Nobody too far though.

Davis: Why did your parents decide to put you in a charter school? Well, I think my mom, so my mom grew up in the area so she went to like all the public schools here. Um, I don't think necessarily when she had first put me in a school, I don't think it was like a conscious decision. I think she just saw that it was like a really great thing and she kinda just wanted to throw me in there I think especially too when I was five, so it was 1995 when I first moved to Beginning with Children and I think back then we were like the only charter school in the area. So um nobody, I don't think anybody had like a really good understanding of like how different it was or what exactly it was. But I think she just thought it was a really great activity and then it kind of just went from there. And so I was there for literally eight years with the same 50 kids, like every, every grade was like 50 kids. Um, and then we all went to the same high school.

Davis:Wow, how was that?

Jasmine: 03:10 Uhhh, I have a bunch of friends that I've known for like forever, but then I mean you get to high school and you kind of want like a different experience, want to meet new people, which I did. I definitely did, but it's almost like we all just moved to another building. So that's cool though.

Davis:Yeah, and you said most of the people that you went to school with lived in this area as well?

Davis: 03:31 Yeah, for sure. So we had a couple of people from this area like south side, uh, and then once I went to high school seminaries, Williamsburg charter, there's definitely a lot more people in the area that I didn't know that didn't come from my previous school. Um, but yeah, literally everybody kinda grew up here. It just seemed natural. I mean it was like a short distance walk to school.

Davis: So did you like going to school then?

Jasmine: 03:58 Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, I mean I can't, I didn't really go to a public school so I can't compare what it was like. But I definitely know that I was probably given a better education than some of the other people I knew in the neighborhood. Our curriculum requirements were definitely different. So, um, I remember my freshman year I had Saturday school. Yeah, we had an extended school year so we started in August and then ended in July. Our vacations, I think our vacations were a little bit longer, but it was definitely off of the regular public school schedule and I think my teachers definitely were like a ball game. They were a little bit more invested for sure, than I would say the average teacher. I think I still have a ton of them on like Facebook, which is. Yeah. So I mean that's kind of goes to speak to that.

Davis: Were your teachers from this area as well?

Jasmine: 05:01 Oh No, no.

Davis: Oh wow.

Jasmine: 05:02 No, not at all. Yeah, they were literally like all spread out throughout the country. I don't remember like where specifically everybody was really from. I just remember like where all of them went to college. So like you had a couple people. I'm like, I think my math teacher was from like Georgetown. Um, one of my social science teacher, they were literally kind of all over the place for sure.

Davis: Where did your parents go to school?

Jasmine: 05:28 So my mom a went to P.S. 16, which is an elementary school. Then she went to Eastern district high school, which is a pretty infamous high school. Um, it's actually, the building is still there, but they've since then they split it into three different kinds of schools. So she went there and then she went to um, Baruch for a couple of semesters. And then my father, I don't think my father even went to high school. I think um, eighth grade was probably like the highest grade he completed and that I'm not too sure about that. He wasn't, he wasn't directly from the area. He was a little bit. He's from, he was definitely for Brooklyn but a little bit more over. So I'm not 100 percent sure. Surely schools he went to though

Davis: So was your family close living up here? Living together here? Like your extended family and everything.

Jasmine: 06:24 Yeah yeah, so when I was younger, my grandmother and my great aunt lived in Greenpoint. So they were still in the neighborhood. My Mom's like, my aunts and my uncles since then had all kind of moved. I remember like growing up I had an aunt in Puerto Rico and then my uncle kind of just like this free sprig, who's like in New Jersey and then back to New York. Yeah, he's all over the place, but I don't think they were ever like really in a close, close, close proximity ever. Um, but yeah, my grandmother and my aunt now live in South Carolina, So it's kinda just us and my uncle lives in Sunnyside, Queens.

Davis: Do you know what drove them originally from Puerto Rico to here?

Jasmine: 07:15 That's so funny, I just interviewed with my grandfather on this. So my grandmother moved here just for like job opportunities. She moved here in like the forties and my grandfather moved here in like the fifties and literally he just followed her. So she came here and I'm kind of like stalking her a little bit. So he came here to like look for her and then they both ended up at my, like my literally my grandparents had been in Williamsburg, since like the 50s. Like I was, I swear I'm just talking to him the other day, he was telling me that he actually used to like ride the trolleys out here, like, yeah, like that back. So, um, that's what brought them out here. And then as far as like them kind of moving back and going away, my grandmother is very business-y, I guess, that's not even a word. But um, she, she owns two houses in Puerto Rico and I guess she saw like a really great deal in South Carolina and she just grabbed it and like literally her, her and her two sisters now live on the same block they'll have like on the same block. Um, so I think that's what kind of pushed him out. They just saw like a better deal as far as like living and stuff. My aunt still owns a condo in Greenpoint, which is really cool, but they don't. I guess they just, when they come to the city to visit, that's where they stay.

Davis: Did they ever feel like there's some people we talked to you so they put a really strong connection, a strong connection to the area?

Jasmine: 08:45 Yeah, yeah, I think they did. I mean like when I spoke to them about like doing spray, they always have like these stories of like places that I'm going to be, I don't even know about these bakeries and stuff and definitely like the commodore I, she's like, I think they, yeah, I think there's definitely. I think the last time I've been with my grandmother here, her just her seeing the changes and everything to driving through. I think it's a little heartbreaking for her. I think she feels like it's not the same anymore. But then I also feel like she's kind of moved on. I don't think she expects things to be the same. So I don't think she like set herself up for it.

Davis: Yeah. That makes sense. Do you think that you've, since you've been here, you've seen a big change in the neighborhood?

Jasmine: 09:40 Absolutely. Like when I was younger, I remember one of the biggest things my mom telling me was another walkthrough like to walk through like barrier, like Kent Avenue, just because it used to be so industrialized really like ancient buildings that were like not in use anymore, pretty much vacant, so it was like Super Shady and obviously since then it's probably like the safest street to walk down. Um, but even, yeah, I just remember being younger and not, there not being as like many stores for like we've definitely seen a lot of new businesses in the area and even like someone to remember there being more like, like all these new developments. I just remember like being in looking a little bit more historical, like, like really old school buildings and like it looking just a little bit more authentic. Yeah, that's definitely changed in setting lines.

Davis: Do you think that it has an impact on what you wanted to study?

Jasmine: 10:45 Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Um, I, I, like, I picked this picture of the other day, of like, Williamsburg, you know, like I think I like passion, did like home. And then, you know, I really thought about it, it's like nothing that, you know, it's changed so much, like a lot of the stuff that I like all, like all the memories I've had with like arts and like certain places like they don't exist anymore. Um, so it Kinda just, you know, it makes me question whether this really is still my home. Um, but yeah, definitely I feel like very definitely feel like a strong connection to the area. I think it's definitely influenced me in what I want to study and probably could have gone about, like preserving it better.

Davis: Is there any place here that still feels like home to you?

Jasmine: 11:41 It's very strange, I did an assignment on this, it's so funny. There's a building on South six and Barry. No, not very. Excuse me, South six in Bedford and I'm, it's really ancient, like it's in circle landmarks. So it's really old looking. I've never been in the building. So I used to, when I was going to high school, my bus stop used to be right on the corner. So I literally stood in front of this building like every morning. And um, it's just one of the few things that hasn't changed, um, and even now like the outside, like they made like a plaza in front of it which is super different but they haven't touched the building. So it's, I mean it's when I go to work now to, or even when I'm going to school, like I'll go over the bridge and you can see the building from the train. So that's something that definitely makes me feel like at home. And then obviously my building, they haven't, they haven't touched my building.

Davis: So there are any changes that you do like?

Jasmine: 12:43 Um, I do like how more diverse it is. I do like that. I do appreciate that. I do like um, how much, um, they put art as like a priority for the community. I appreciate that. There's a little bit of. I think the art in the community now is very much different from how it used to be before. I think they could have, I would have liked to see a little bit more of a preservation of the street art that was already here. Like my father was like a graffiti artist. So like, yeah, so I was definitely aware of all of that nonsense before, um, but yeah, she's a very different kind of way, which is cool. I mean, but I mean I would still like to see like one of my images of Williamsburg, one of the images of like my neighborhood growing up, um, was Macquarie and Macquarie in pool. I don't know if you've ever seen it. But it's um, so before they just renovated it for like a couple of years ago, but before that it was completely covered in graffiti. That was kind of probably another like site that made me feel at home. It's just something that was always there. Um, so like that I liked the fact that there is a lot of like food not going to like that. So it's definitely a lot of food options, which is is critical. But on the flip side of that though, before I remember there being so much, there used to just be like Spanish, which is, I mean I used to get tired of it, but now I kind of find myself like looking for good Spanish food, which is a little bit harder to find. But yeah, there's definitely. I mean there's definitely been some changes. Like I can't knock the whole process for being completely bad. I'm definitely embraced like uh, you know, cleaning it up and fixing it and stuff like that is cool.

Davis: What about your parents? How did they feel about it?

Jasmine: 14:54 Um, I think my mom, she's not, so she's a little bit older so I don't think she appreciates all the, like ours and stuff. Um, so for her, I mean it's not nothing, it's not anything that she can kinda like take use of the changes and I think more for her what's concerning her more as just like a rent situation where that's going, you know, like realistically like if we were to try and move to another location in the area just will not work. It wouldn't happen. We just wouldn't be able to afford it. So I think stuff like that is Kinda what she sees as the forefront, like Kinda, you know, so, so probably not the best outlook on it. Um, but I mean she gets like her, she likes Milk Bar. I'm sure she likes, she takes, she definitely has some advantage of it.

Davis: What does it feel like to you to be living in arguably one of the most coveted areas now for people our age?

Jasmine: 16:04 It's so funny when I tell people I live in Williamsburg, they are always like how? And I was there before everything happened. So I mean it's cool. I usually, that's really the response I usually get, like how the hell do I afford it, but I mean it's definitely cool. I mean it's, I feel a little guilty sometimes because I live in this area and I definitely don't take advantage of like all the things that it has to offer. Um, but yeah, it's awesome. I mean to be able, I think one of the things I like most about it is like all the, like, like the, like the parks and stuff and like going to the water front piers and I definitely enjoy that. But I'm probably not the best best person to ask.

Davis: Do you see yourself staying here for a long term?

Jasmine: I would love to. I mean, you know, when I, when I have a family like growing up, I mean in an apartment it's very different from growing up in a house. So I mean when I have a family I'm gonna have a house and that's just pretty not realistic in this neighborhood but I mean for the rest of like my twenties and maybe into my thirties, I would love to stay here. But I mean that's just all based on if I have the means to, which being optimistic, hopefully I will but being realistic, probably not. So yeah.

Davis: What about your parents? What did they see themselves doing?

Jasmine: My mom is definitely going to hold onto that apartment as long as she can. But do I see her going anywhere else? Not really. Um, this is like literally like, I mean this is all I've known but this is, she has like 30 years on me. Like this is awesome. I' don't see her going anywhere.

Davis: So what is like, what does a typical day look like if you're hanging out with your friends?

Jasmine: So different because you probably asked him and he's just moved here and there like a coffee shop now. So, um, what I used to do a lot. I mean I don't, between work and school I probably don't have that much time. But um, I remember just always like going to the park, going to the pier, just hanging out these two, like I used to when I was in high school, like literally I would always, I was always with my cousins and they're much younger so I would always be in the park playing basketball. We would get like these dollar slushies from this bakery type thing. Um, which just being out I really love like walking through the neighborhood more than anything. There's not like a specific place in the summer I'll go to the pool. The more than anything like kind of just enjoying being outside and taking it all in.

Davis: How have you seen the people that live in this area change?

Jasmine: That's a big question. Um, it's literally been like when I was younger it was definitely more Hispanic people and more like, like older Hispanic people, like old school, like from Puerto Rico, Spanish people. Um, so it's definitely changed. Like growing up when I used to walk outside there were Puerto Rican flags everywhere, like everybody was Spanish. I mean we did have like a small African American community as well, but it would kind of be a little one. To see like somebody Caucasian, like they would definitely stand out. Um, so it's changed so much. I mean all of us are too, like there's a really big hasidic Jewish community here as well, so I mean if they've been here just as long as the Spanish people have, so I'm seeing them is very normal for me. Um, but yeah, like going through high school and just really direct. You started seeing like all these ethnicities and so yeah it was just a 180 completely.

Davis: Do you think it felt more comfortable being around what you grew up with as opposed to now being like everyone's Spanish and now that it's so different?

Jasmine: You know, I think growing up, growing up in New York, I have always been used to like a diverse kind of setting. Um, so, and I see this when I traveled like outside, outside of New York, so I've always been used to like having multiple types of people in the room. I'm like, I remember the first time I went down south I was like in shock because literally you go down there and like you tell people you're Spanish and they automatically think you're Mexican or something like, um, so it was a huge difference, but I think I'm going to really going to school and stuff. I've always been like, people of different backgrounds. So it wasn't, it wasn't ever like a, there wasn't ever a point where it was just like I was interacting with just Spanish people but also multiple cultures in the community. It definitely took a shift, like once I started going into like a middle school, then he started saying like a bunch of people. I mean, it wasn't really like a huge difference because I was like when I went to school and stuff and you know, I was interacting with other kinds of people so it seemed natural but it wasn't anything like super like told.

Davis: So if you had to pick your favorite place in New York where would that be.

Jasmine: Um, so I would say they're definitely the Williamsburg bridge. I just walking in. So, um, when I was younger in the summer we would always walk to it because we didn't have macquarie employee yet. So my mom liked to take us to pitch street pool which is in lower east side. So we would literally walk in like every other day. And so, and it's changed so much. Like that bridge has been renovated like most times. Those a really cool bridge to wall. So I would definitely say that. And then, um, there's a pier on Grand Street that I love that it's changed a lot too. When I was younger it was a little bit more of like, um, it wasn't as nice I guess, so it wasn't as developed so it was a little bit more of like a, you felt like you shouldn't be there. We kind of trespassing to go there. So it was little bit cooler when I was younger, but now they like definitely like fix it up. It's a really great kind of like park area. Um, so I would definitely say those two places for sure. When you go across I just smell.

Davis: When you take the subway into Manhattan or you take it, what is the biggest difference that you noticed between here and there? Or do you notice one?

Jasmine: Oh, between les and Williamsburg, Williamsburg in like now site in East village. Um, definitely would say that the new development, like it's almost like this guidelines completely changed. So I live, so the building I live in, I live in on the 17th floor and I'm actually like really lucky because we're the last building in that plaza and then the next like tall buildings, the Citibank building and yeah. So I literally get that whole kind of view and it's changed so much is so, so different. You, you just see all these new buildings popping up everywhere. I think it was probably the biggest difference I see is that, you know, you see all these buildings that are brand new. I mean you get a couple of those and les, but they're just not as, and not as many. So I guess that'll probably be like the biggest change that I see.

Davis: Do you like, do you like the new buildings?

Jasmine: I think they're, I think they're really great looking and just bomber. I probably, you know, like realistically and nobody I know is going to be able to afford them. So I mean they're great to look at but they're not included. But for those who do you think that people.

Jasmine: Who Do you think these new buildings are catered for?

Davis: I'm definitely. People have a higher income. I think a lot of the reason like Williamsburg or so develop this because it's so close to midnight and it was such short trip. Um, so I think definitely for those people that were kind of getting pushed out, um, there were definitely cater for them, not just them. I mean like some of the, some of these apartments here insane like races. It's pretty insane. Yeah. So just a really higher income than. Well, it's obviously in the neighborhood for sure. And did you guys or was there ever a point in your life that you thought be realized that wow, this is actually really changing? Yeah, I mean, so I guess when I was a nice. I mean I always had this idea. I mean you're, you're younger though, so I didn't, I guess I didn't like really now that like I assumed I was going to be living here for like forever and then it was like the idea of like rent and bills and stuff and how much I would be making in the future kind of came into play. I was like yeah, might not be living here when I get older. So I think that's kind of when it hit me. Like this is definitely changing the area I grew up in for sure.

Davis: How did that make you feel when you realized that?

Jasmine: We definitely feel like a little bit of bitterness and anger, a brochure you kind of feel like, you know, you have some type of right to this area growing up here and being here as long as he did. Um, which isn't necessary. I mean now that I'm older and you know, that's not necessarily true. I mean I've lived here but you don't own anything here. So, um, so I mean I definitely felt like I went through that phase where I was a little angry, but now I'm just kinda really appreciate what I can from it. Try to make some difference in it and try to get what I can from out of the situation. But I mean it's being upset as anything. A stuffy, not going to be productive for anything. Who

Jasmine: Do you think that you were angry when you said that you were experiencing igert? That you weren't gonna be able to maybe spend your life and where you've grown up?

Davis: I mean, you just really naturally associate those people that, that emotion with like the people you saw coming in. So I was like, you know, like this hipster turning like all that crap, so just naturally you see changes and this is the new element in situations that are just going nationally. Gonna, associate goes to. But it's not anybody's fault. It's a gray area. I mean, if I could, I didn't live here and I couldn't live here, want to live here. So it's not, no, it's not for anybody to be upset about it. But um, I think I also felt a little bit, a little bit of anger towards like not my community, I guess like the whole situation, you know, I've thought like if the kids in my school or even myself for a little bit more privileged and we have an opportunity to like go to these amazing schools and get these amazing jobs, we'd be able to like, keep it, keep the community as it is. But those are just thoughts I had when I was younger.

Davis: I was totally not something I think, um, why do you think people move here?

Jasmine: I think, I think it's honestly just number one, the convenience in the. And I feel like everybody comes from you. It's from a hat. And so I was really close. He was like a lot of amenities here, like convenience, like everything's super close. I mean, any story you can think of we practically have now. Um, so I think that's a big factor. I think there's a lot of new housing here too. So you're like moving into like these random apartments, like beautiful places. Definitely could probably go on. So there's a lot of stuff. I mean it's definitely, I mean this, you know, you have all these great parks. I mean it's originally a beautiful neighborhood, like absolutely like fault anybody for wanting to hear for sure.

Davis: Do you think your family maybe has more bitterness about it?

Jasmine: No, I don't think like, I think me just being, I guess the age I was while everything was going on, it was a little bit with more in the neighborhood. Like I was outside more was at a younger age. I think my grandmother, I mean she's a little like, heartbroken over like her favorite, like hair salon not being there anymore, but I mean she's moved on from it and I don't think my mom, like even though she's grown up here and she has a ton of memories here, I think she just, I think she's more concerned about the financial, the financial situation of it. Um, but no, I don't think either of them feel. I think, I think it was just a teenager and you know, what do you see as, or

Davis: what would you think would be the biggest difference between your mother's childhood and you're a child living here?

Jasmine: Oh yeah. My mother grew up here during the eighties, the eighties rent an amazing lifetime period year. See a c definitely saw a little bit more like violence and crime and drugs and stuff like that, which is not particularly what I saw growing up. So there's definitely different from my childhood. Um, and then the lake, like standards were different back then. Like it wasn't really required for her to go to college and stuff like that. So like everything was very differently. My mom, she got her own place, she was 18, so. And it was, I mean it was more doable back then, like financially. So yeah, definitely different from my childhood for sure. I can see that something different.

Davis: Did she, um, she wants you to stay here?

Jasmine: I don't think she specifically wants me to stay in this area. I think she would be happy if I stood in Brooklyn because I think that's where she's, she's going to stay. Um, I feel like if I was a solid amount of like I'm moving somewhere else, I think she'd have a problem with that at all. Does she feel a strong sense of community here still? I don't think so. I don't think she's ever felt like a strong sense of community here. Um, this is really strange. I mean she's grown up in that building so she knows like everybody in the building, but I don't think she's ever felt like a strong sense of community. I mean even before like all this, like who developed like the Hasidic Jewish community in Spanish community, we're very segregated. Even even now it's still segregated, so I think there was always kind of like those divisions and even that, I mean that's not like, that's changed recently, so I don't think. Yeah, I don't think she thinks anything different of it.

Davis: Was that ever a topic of conversation in your house? It changing?

Jasmine: Certainly change in this neighborhood. Yeah. I mean I was at one point there was one point where she wanted to like move somewhere else. She want to get like a bigger place and then I think that's when we really started seeing, like probably wasn't likely, um, and she kinda like entertain the thought, like moving elsewhere. But I think like when we were kind of going through that situation or we, you know, we kind of spoke on like how things are different, but I think, I think my mom's really positive about it other than like the finances. I think she was not going to happen. Change happens. So I don't think she was ever like upset about it.

Davis: Do you think she's worried about losing the place that she has now? Or is that a concern?

Jasmine: I guess for a lot of people to be in that building and who've grown up in this area now. I don't think so. No, I don't think that's fair is. I think she's just, she's just more focused on like the income she's concerned dot. Yeah, I know. I am very aware that that's very different from a lot of other people.

Davis: So what does the word gentrification mean to you?

Jasmine: I guess the main things I think of when I hear that word or just like the associations with it. So a displacement, like, like a community that was already established there. I'm being kind of pushed out in small ways. I also think gentrification is like a really long process. I don't think it's like a overnight kind of thing. Definitely involves like a lot of building and it's about new developments and planning. I think the biggest thing I really associate with it is that these communities are, are leaving not by like, you know, they're not wanting to leave with the kind of being forced to either, but just by circumstances to me and they're kind of being pushed out, which, um, which is unfortunate, but I've been, I'd say the biggest thing, I've pretty much associated with it.

Davis: Where do you think the people that are being pushed out or going?

Jasmine: Definitely other places of New York City. So I know a lot of people that have moved to like the bronx just because cheap, cheap housing and even my family, a lot of my family's moved down south so I think the main thing that's Kinda like their focus is housing prices and where they could live comfortably. And um, yeah, unfortunately it's not here anymore.

Davis: I just on a personal level, how does it feel to have your neighborhood change so much from what you grew up with?

Jasmine: It's a little difficult. I mean sometimes, I mean sometimes I really try to embrace it and make the most out of it. I think one of the most disheartening things is that like, you know, we weren't able, I think my community before I was able to like do this and like come together and make these things happen. And so to see like, you know, this new wave of people come in and make all these things happen and you know, do all these things, I think that's pretty. I think that's the most upsetting thing. Um, why do you think that they were not able to come together to, to. I think um, a lot of them were either first generation like immigrants are like second. So I don't think a lot of them are really at a disadvantage as far as like being educated on like, like protesting things and you know, effectively like gathering and petitioning things. So I think they all really didn't have that, like one to like work the system in their favor, which is unfortunate. So I think now and anything that sucks, that now that we have this new generation who kind of has more of a sense of how to go about getting these neighborhood changes in play, um, it's, it sucks. It really can't happen at this point. It's in the past is gone too deep for you to be really effective and not to be completely pessimistic about it, but you know, it's, it's pretty much already cemented in this area. So yeah, I think that's probably the most upsetting thing about it.

Davis: If you could go back in time and change one thing or tell those people, maybe your, your mother's generation one thing, what would you tell them?

Jasmine: Oh my God, to take data and one actively sort of a really like commit to these like one idea, come up with these ideas and commit to it and just make more of a statement I guess. But then, I mean, you really have to think about like what was really the focus for these people at this time? Like these are all, like they're all coming from these other. Am I like my. Well, I can only speak for my family and my family is coming from a, a really bad financial situation in Puerto Rico. So their first priority was to come here and make money, like, you know, they weren't focused on like rebuilding the neighborhood or like keeping it intact, like these weren't, these weren't their priorities. So I guess, you know, just for them to make it a priority and to see, to really include everybody, build a better relationship I guess amongst the community. Let's say. Do you want.

Davis: What would you want someone to know who hops off the alternate or something pops into women's herb? What would you want them to know about this area that maybe they can't see you?

Jasmine: Yeah, something I've talked and thought about too, like um, I guess I guess I would want them to really know that there was a community here before everything. I think that's one thing that people just don't see. They just come here and they're like, oh, so great. And like, I guess they imagined that it was always this great. Um, and in a sense it was, but it was, you know, there was like a different environment here, like, you know, it was a different culture here. Um, and like, I mean even though there's still parts of Williamsburg, I still have an attack, but for the most part, like there was a, you know, there was a group of people here before everything. What do you think, what do you think made it so great before? Um, so, um, I think one thing that was really awesome before it was like this overwhelming, like you wouldn't literally walk outside and you would have this overwhelming sense of like Puerto Rican pride. Like literally it was in your face at all points. I was blogs everywhere. Like everybody is like Spanish music playing everywhere. And even for me like being, growing up in New York City, like, it's really funny when I go back to Puerto Rico, people don't think I'm Puerto Rican because I'm so American. Like that was really the only kind of place where like, you know, I felt like the time I thought, you know, really be Puerto Rican, be from this community, they felt included.

Davis: What name would you consider yourself?

Jasmine: Like if someone else would, are you. It's a little, it's a little difficult though because I don't speak Spanish, which is pretty stereotypical of new porter because I grew up in New York. So they're always like, what are you going to ask you today? Um, so it's very, it's a very weird kind of. Whereas, you know, I associated myself with most with my culture and that through that time period I, that's when I felt the most like involved and included because I lived here.

Davis: I'm sorry if someone would say to you, what are you saying?

Jasmine: Yeah, no, definitely. I mean I would tell people I'm Puerto Rican, but any, you kind of almost have to always include that you're from like or Americanized because I mean especially if I like when I go to Puerto Rico and I tell people like, a lot of them don't even realize in Puerto Rico. So they're always like, oh, you're from New York. Yeah. And I'm from New York, so it's, it's almost like a different kind of subculture a little bit.

Davis: Do you feel proud to be from here?

Jasmine: Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I definitely, I mean, and I just, I mean that's even beyond like being Puerto Rican from Leesburg. I just think I'm very proud to be from New York and especially in New York City. I think um, growing up here as opposed to growing up in other areas definitely shapes you a little bit differently. Like I think I definitely have tougher skin and I've seen a lot and I've been exposed to a lot, which, you know, other people might view as like a bad thing, but I think it's, I think experienced, you know, exposed to so much stuff. Um, yeah, definitely new to see a difference between someone who grew up in the south side versus someone who grew up like a New Yorker who grew up in West village or something. Oh yeah. I mean there's always like that. I didn't eat them like a growing up in south side of know. It was a big community, but it was also small too, especially I can only speak to really like when I was a teenager, like you all had your sense of style. Like we dress different. I mean it was really funny because even now, like as a native New Yorker, like when I hear from other boroughs were always like, there's always some sort of beef. They're like, we're just like, when somebody says that they think I'm from the Bronx or something, I'd take it offensively or something. So I mean, but it's like, you know, just as like a, how we speak, how we dress, you know, there's differences there is, it's not, you know, super notable, but you know, you can notice them for sure.

Davis: Do you see a new culture emerging the south side now people live in south side? Do you see a collective culture between those people?

Jasmine: Not necessarily. I mean it's something I would, I would love to see though. I think um, I think if like the remaining population prior to this process of gentrification to create this really great community with people that are coming in, I think that, that'd be awesome. Have I seen it thus far? Not necessarily. And I mean that's also too, not that anybody's. I got all but I think um, a lot of people that were here before very weary about, you know, those things and they're a little bit more old school and that kind of like sense of like getting medical, do Spanish people going to like, you know, everybody's in that house in their neighborhood. So I think, I think before that happens, so we kinda have to just get to this level of comfort.

Davis: Do you see in the future, do you think the two, like the people were from south side and the new people, they think they're going to integrate everything.

Jasmine: It's going to keep going. More and more new people are going to come up in the air. I mean I hope that it integrates and is able to be like this awesome community that forms. But I mean that also I think you have to take into consideration like what's being planned for this community, like all the buildings that are being built and like who, who we are like really kind of inviting into the neighborhood and I guess it just depends on both parties and I would love for it to see it like that. But I guess throughout the is what happens.

Davis: What is your hope for this neighborhood?

Jasmine: I mean I just hope that it continues to be like an awesome place and welcoming. So like everybody, um, I hope that they include more like affordable housing and what that were able to just cater to one specific income and that we can be a little bit more inclusive to different economic classes and different cultures. I mean that would be awesome if we could kind of like enrich the culture that's already here within the Spanish community. But I mean I'm not trying to make like a secluded. I wouldn't want like just a secluded place here. I would want everybody to be able to enjoy it and Kinda take away things for a minute.

Davis: Do you think that because of the fact that you were young, you have a different idea of where you'd like to go as opposed to maybe your friend, mother, she still lived here?

Jasmine: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think and that's, I think that's, I think that's going to stem off of like how we grew up, how he grew up and like the differences in like society and morally correct for. And I think that's just a difference of like, you know, growing up with these time periods I think are a little bit more like I think me growing up in this age I'm a little bit more in tune to like the, you know, the rest of the world. Whereas like my, when my grandmother, my grandparents were here, it was just, it was almost like Puerto Rico and New York City, which is very different. Um, but yeah, I think that definitely affected like the outlook I have for sure. If you don't find yourself living here in the next few years, where would you to find yourself in New York City? Or just can hopefully. Um, I'm definitely planning to go away. I'm in school for my associate's right now, but in depth planning to transfer to a college out of state, so that'll definitely take that into face. Um, but I think, I think at the end of the dam, very much a city girl, like I don't even know what I'm 25. I don't know how to drive. It's pretty much limited on where I could really go. Um, so I'll definitely be in some sort of city. I love the East Coast even though I've never been to the west coast, I can't say I don't like the west coast, but definitely somewhere in a city like I've always thought about like Chicago or Boston. So some sort. Yeah, his community, a big factor in thinking where you want to go or anything. It's for young people.

Davis: Do you think there is like that's an important thing looking for the community for young people?

Jasmine: I think when they're thinking about where to go, I think that's definitely important thing. But um, I mean you want to feel comfortable wherever you're living and usually tend to feel comfortable about, around people similar to you. So I think that's something that definitely plays into it, that I think for me, I'm not much so, I mean like growing up in New York City, if I move out of the city, I know I'm going to get a place somewhere that was going to be completely different, so I probably wouldn't bother me as much. I think I've already come to like accept the fact that it's, this is going to be definitely I think New York City is so diverse. I mean anywhere I go I'm just going to see it as not diverse. Um, and especially with a Puerto Rican sphere, I don't think it's actually, but I think Florida has a really big population for Reagan's as well. But I think for the most part, wherever else I'm move moving pretty much. I'm not going to be around as many issuers.

Davis: Is that going to be a big factor in where you start to go now?

Jasmine: Absolutely not because already I've accepted that I'm not going to be around them. So definitely more put into play. Anything where it would live.

Davis:Do you think that would be a big factor for your family now?

Jasmine: We were actually considering it when my grandmother moved to South Carolina. We were like, wait, what are you going to lead that? You don't even speak English that well. So like she just did it. I mean she was really pretty house and it's really cheap so I don't think I've played in factor for her. Yeah, not at all. So I guess we're talking about if there was one thing you wanted to tell people in this neighborhood, what would you, what do you think is the history of this neighborhood is one, what is your personal history with this name? That makes sense? That was always a great place to live and I think also to people also really stereotype Brooklyn as like um, like, like all this time and all these drug dealers and all stuff that's like a really kind of widely accepted or evil, which, and I think that was never true. Like I grew up in. I mean, we had our share of like violence, but I think it really had to deal with like teenagers or like any serious, like serious situations. Anything. I guess that would be something I would want to stress to people too. Like we're not, I mean Williamsburg doesn't have to deal with this in English, but in places like that where just I, you know, like right next door I grew up a lot in there as well, but kind of telling people that so they weren't like this disruptive community or like this community that was like in need of anything or I think we were getting by pretty fine. It wasn't like we needed, we ran like this really bad state that we needed like saving or anything like that would probably be one of the things I would want to like get across to them.

Davis: What do you think is or was the authentic self side?

Jasmine: Um, for me it might be different for my grandparents. For me it was like really strong leg Puerto Rican community. Like having these flags everywhere. Having these businesses like Spanish food, like every corner, you know, the day guys, um, the uh, I don't know if you've ever seen this week and then somebody usually come out. They're not as common as they were before. Um, there was like these people that are like ics, so the dog was and stuff like that. I think that was my kind of history of it. I think there's certainly different from my grandparents when they got here, it was very, so there was actually, so a lot of Polish people in this neighborhood before and they kind of all went to greenpoint. But yeah, when my grandparents first got here, the Puerto Rican culture wasn't as big as well, what do you see as just see I as authentic in this area now. Now that's very, there's still some parts of like, um, the south side towards like union where you found, uh, the buildings themselves looked still very much when the nine they have the flags out and stuff, but I'm not really, I mean there's no, there's nowhere. And now that I can really like directly, like say like this is how it was when he was like, when I was growing up, other than like these historical landmarks and stuff like that, but nothing pretty much.

Davis: If you could give advice to any group that feels like they're losing that authenticity and there may be, what would that advice be?

Jasmine: I guess if they see it as a negative thing, I would definitely encourage them to kind of try to fight it. And I mean that's one thing I'm still kind of wondering myself like where, what could be done as a community here to kind of preserve those things. And so I'm not 100 percent sure what. But I definitely think that organizing as a community and being into and you know, kind of being this force helps in any situation. When you think of the word or someone says the word gentrification. What are like the stores? Are there things that you immediately think of? Coffee shops I'm hopeful are like, is this, is, this is cool. I mean I have nothing against those. I shop at trader Joe's, but I think those are kind of like, um, the first steps to it for sure. Yeah. Once we started seeing the coffee, definitely going on here.

Davis: Do you see people from south side is taking advantage of those things?

Jasmine: We're going, going to. The coffee shops are going to hold everybody to whatever extent they want to. I guess. I don't know if people like, I can't say Spanish. People really love coffee or you know, it's funny. We actually um, like my family drinks like this one specific coffee and they will never touch anything. Starbucks. It's ridiculous. So I mean I definitely see them like it's not like they're not taking part in any of any of the, like the bars and stuff out here. I can definitely, you know, I've been to and all my friends have been to a lot of moments for sure. I don't know about the coffee shops, but yeah, they definitely have taken, you know, they've definitely taken part in all that stuff for sure.

Davis: What are your favorite places that you have is a well in Williamsburg?

Jasmine: I love the Brooklyn Brewery. I think that's just going to sit there and I really like all the street art. That's really all, I mean there's places on the Internet that they were like my favorite faces, new faces I know like, um, there's like this, um, it's like Spanish restaurant on Broadway, which is so iconic in my life. It's just been a, it's been there forever. I actually don't know. So we refer to it as it's called, we call it freedom, which is, um, I honestly, I can't even say exactly I hear that word and that's the thing I imagine, um, that they're like these really kind of like I mentioned, that style of restaurants where it's like they have, right, they have like all your, like basic Spanish words. So the other grades, beans, Rotisserie, chicken, stuff like that. So, um, there's one on Broadway that I've been there. We've always paid their Williamsburg Chinese food restaurant and stuff and I will say like we used to have like four on, like within, like a three block radius of my house and it's now I think we don't have one. So that's certainly and affect it. But I guess things like that instead of those restaurants.

Davis: Oh, like what's been them?

Jasmine: Well, they're doing it. It's huge and I'm actually not sure, but they're, I think they're building this huge hotel on Broadway now.

Davis: Um, would you like to like 50 percent of that blog?

Jasmine: So like they're the, like, I think like six business for that. It's been a lot of new businesses. So I think one of the old Chinese stories, Chinese restaurants that we used to have was replaced by like a coffee shop. The other one, yeah, apartments really like housing, housing or something like some sort of. Definitely new developments as the buildings are just going in general. Is there anything else or is there anything, any final thing that you convey to people going to tell people really want to make sure that this goes down in history. I mean, this doesn't feel so much pressure. Um, I guess the final thing I would really want to say just stressing how important it is to, um, plan, um, this neighborhood for everybody. You know, not just for like this new kind of, um, you know, kind of population that's coming in and still be mindful of the people that are still here and so like just really respect their presence within the community and the culture that they have. Kind of definitely being think that's probably the most important thing we lose judgification awesome. Somebody does that.


“Jasmine Martinez Interview Transcript,” Displaced Histories 2016, accessed April 22, 2024, https://displacedhistories.hosting.nyu.edu/courses/spring2016/items/show/175.