NYC
01/27/2012 02:44 pm ET

Gentrification, Artists, And Trains In New York: Tom McGeveren Gives A Fascinating, Brief History

The relationship between artists, subway access and gentrification is well-established. But not until the Observer published an excerpt from a Capital New York newsletter, did we realize just how intertwined the three are.

The excerpt, written by editor Tom McGeveran and available only to Capital New York email subscribers, pertains to this fascinating article in Capital about the Luhring Augustine gallery about to open Bushwick, which will be the first well-established gallery to open in a neighborhood primarily dominated by DIY venues.

McGeveren explains how gentrification happens in cheaper neighborhoods accessible by train to the areas with all the commercial galleries:

So when the 57th Street gallerists first started becoming cool-hunters among young and emerging artists decades ago, what followed was a boomlet in Long Island City (take the train from 57th Street the shortest distance across the East River to where inexpensive studio space can be found, and there it is!) and Soho.

And then when lots of gallerists followed their artists down to Soho, Long Island City became a haul. That's about when the East Village and Lower East Side art scenes took off, and when new concentrations of artists formed along the F line in neighborhoods like Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and Gowanus.

Then came West Chelsea, the area around the High Line that boomed in the 1990s, pretty far from any good subway stop except the L train at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue. And before long, artists began to flood the first Brooklyn stop on the L line, Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.

And so, by extension, does this mean Williamsburg is to become the new Chelsea? And Bushwick the new Williamsburg? How far can gentrification stretch?

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