Today’s New York Times tells the world about the fine Jamaican bakery on White Plains Road and 226th Street. Could this be a boon for business, or the kiss of death?
Gentrification is a double-edged sword. A fine balance of old- versus new-guard is easily upended once a nabe gets hot, written up as the “next big thing” and commercial and residential real estate prices soar. Archimedes told us about displacement.
I remember frequenting Christie’s Jamaican Patties on Flatbush Avenue, from ’85 to ’10, in Park Slope. A patty on coco bread, with some ginger beer, was a treat, before heading off to Mooney’s, for a pint or ten.
But Park Slope became a destination for all New Yorkers. First came the red, double-decker tour buses, disgorging camera-wielding tourists in front of the tiny shop. The line would stretch down the block, to the American Apparel shop that just a few years earlier was the Plaza Twin movie theater.
Christie’s had to move, across the street, when the rents were jacked and a Crunch Fitness took over the space. Crunch extended from the bakery’s spot on the corner all the way down the block. But Christie’s hung on making patties for a few years, next door to the Asian liquor store, the one with the protective glass and the massive Rottie prowling the premises.
But, finally, Christie’s vanished, a sandcastle washed away by an incoming tide.
Will the same thing happen in the Wakefield section of The Bronx? It seems unlikely now, but I think Real New Yorkers know the answer. Get your coco bread and beef patties while you can, kids.