A new painting in the South Bronx warns residents that something dangerous might be creeping into their neighborhoods: Bushwick.
The artwork, part of a mural at the corner of Brook Avenue and East 140th Street, reads "Coming Soon ... Bushwick (If We Let It.)"
Harry Bubbins, a founder of the environmental group Friends of Brook Park, painted the message and maintains that it is supposed to be ambiguous about changes arriving in the South Bronx, despite its somewhat ominous tone.
"Rather than have something overtly against gentrification or 'stop gentrification,' we thought we’d put something a little more thought provoking and let people discuss it from there," he said.
As seen in #MottHaven The #Bronx. People are not letting #gentrification come into the #southbronx without a fight. A big applause to @friendsofbrookpark for using #art to spread the word. We've watched neighborhoods destroyed by gentrification pricing out long time residents. The battle lines have been drawn and The Bronx is where we can take a stand. #TheBronx #ilovethebronx #thebronxisbeautiful #myBronx #yourBronx #ourBronx #welcometothebronx #welcome2thebronx #everydaybronx #PeopleOfTheBronx #SaveNYC
"We've watched neighborhoods destroyed by gentrification pricing out long time residents," he wrote. "The battle lines have been drawn, and The Bronx is where we can take a stand."
Bubbins said he has already made up his own mind about gentrification as well.
"I certainly believe it’s a cautionary tale," he said, "but I didn’t phrase it in that manner just to let people think rather than have an alienating message too quickly."
"And it could be any neighborhood," he continued. "Bushwick just happens to be the latest flavor."
The South Bronx has already seen several amenities arrive that would tend to be more stereotypically associated with gentrified Brooklyn, including a beer garden that serves locally made brews and a pop-up coffee shop that served drinks with racially charged names.
Although the mural just went up a few weeks ago, Bubbins said he has lived in Mott Haven since 1995 and has already seen the area change drastically.
"Some people are fond of certain changes," he said, "and other people see the negative ramifications of the capitalist system."