Bensonhurst Research Paper

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Research Assignment Final: Bensonhurst
Like many neighborhoods in New York, Bensonhurst has also been subjected to gentrification and reurbanization. Undeniably, over the years, my neighborhood has experienced death and life as an authentic urban place. Essentially, the drastic changes of the population, social relations, and etc. have led to the development of its current authenticity related to its new beginning. Bensonhurst has undergone a cultural, social, and economic transformation; evident from how the attributes of the new, innovative Bensonhurst remold the old, historical one.
Essentially, to determine the full extent of the changes on my neighborhood, I interviewed my mother, aunt, and neighbor. Particularly, I was intrigued to
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Particularly, I was intrigued to learn about their situation and sentiments regarding Bensonhurst’s new authenticity and receive insight on the influence of those changes on their lives. In addition, three articles relevant to my neighborhood are Nancy Foner’s “Transnationalism, Old and New: New York Immigrants,” Sharon Zukin’s “Why Harlem is Not a Ghetto,” and Sally Engle Merry’s “Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers.” Foner’s article discusses transnationalism and how old and new immigrants engage in transnational practices. Essentially, they create and maintain “multi-stranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement” (363). Her article is relevant to Bensonhurst because it provides insight on former and current residents of the neighborhood, and essentially, some perspective into the soul of the neighborhood; the people. Zukin’s article delves upon how gentrification and reubranization influence the authenticity of an urban place. Her article relates to my neighborhood because in the same retrospect as Harlem, Bensonhurst has also undergone an extensive transformation and changes due to the new residents and commercial buildings. Merry’s “Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers” explores the urban danger correlated with living in a neighborhood with “strangers.” Her article concentrates on a …show more content…
The neighborhood’s cultural diversity can be attributed to the huge waves of immigrants, who remolded it with their values, ideals, and beliefs and developed the authenticity. During the early 20th century, a lot of Italians and Jews relocated to Bensonhurst. According to Foner’s “Transnationalism, Old and New: New York Immigrants,” former Italian and Jewish immigrants were compelled to come to America due to push and pull factors. They came in hopes of a better life for themselves and their families, and continued to maintain social relations in their societies of origin and settlement through transnational practices. In addition, they provided funds to support their family (Foner, 343). Word of mouth and chain and return migration prompted a huge movement of new residents into New York and specifically, Bensonhurst. In fact, before World War II, the Jewish and Italian population were about equal. When World War II ended, a huge influx of immigrants from Naples and Sicily moved into the neighborhood (“Bensonhurst, Brooklyn,” n.d.). During the 1950s, the Jewish population started to decrease as a result of the huge movement of southern Italian immigrants into Bensonhurst and new available housing in the suburbs. Thus, making the neighborhood, for the most part, predominantly Italian, which led to its nickname “Little Italy of Brooklyn” (“Bensonhurst, Brooklyn,” n.d.).

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