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With the park as the centerpiece, the great Brownstones were soon crowding in. By the twenties, the swells in the Brownstones gave way to mainly Irish and Italian immigrants who worked in the pencil and watch factories and other manufacturing that became a part of Brooklyn’s blue collar culture. They in turn gave way to heroin, cocaine, and the great 1970s catastrophe that enveloped America’s greatest city.
Nearly half a million people fled Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope in the decade of the '70s. However, even as thousands fled, others were moving in, finding bargains and fixing them up, having babies and putting their kids into local public schools. When they first moved there, one of the units in Dan and Amy’s building was still in the shape it was when the economy of Park Slope was driven by drugs and burglary.
Now, however, Park Slope is home to some 5,000 elementary school students, my two grandchildren among them. Yes, the demographics are changing, the rents are higher, but Park Slope and its neighboring communities are better for all the change.
The kids are attending highly diverse schools that generally succeed at improving the lives of most of the children attending them. They live in a culture where kids are king. That was Amy's better choice.
This story appeared earlier on the author's blog, The Cascadia Courier.
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