Chapter 9: Fort Greene, New York

Jan Rosenberg
Long Island University


Linked to lower Manhattan by theBrooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as well as by major subway lines, Fort Greene is just minutes away from Wall Street, City Hall, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Greenwich Village. Primarily a residential neighborhood, Fort Greene has been known for its racial and social class diversity since the 1840s. Two important characteristics differentiate it from other diverse urban neighborhoods. First, although Fort Greene shifted from mostly White to predominantly Black during its long history, its property values have increased and it has maintained a significant White population, currently about 15 percent. It neither tipped racially nor became poorer. Second, by the 1980s the social class differences between Black and White gentrifiers in the neighborhood's south end and the low-income residents concentrated in public housing projects became more salient than the racial differences between area residents. This article highlights some of the social policies, institutions, and groups that have contributed to Fort Greene's long and unusual history of racial and social class diversity.

Chapter 9: Fort Greene, New York (*.pdf)