Sunset Parkers Sour Over Hipster Wine Parties At Industry City

Sunset Parkers Sour Over Hipster Wine Parties At Industry City

Roughly 50 Sunset Park residents protested with the Brooklyn-based activist group Uprose outside of Industry City during the Brooklyn Crush Wine and Artisanal Food Festival Saturday.

Protesters held signs reading “Brooklyn Crush Do Not Crush Brooklyn” and the word “Displacement” circled and struck through.

Activists charge that locals can’t afford to shop at Industry City, and that the looming tower of gentrification is attracting an ultra-wealthy demographic with events like the tasting on Saturday, which cost wine aficionados $75 per person.

“We want to make sure Sunset Park’s waterfront doesn’t get turned into another Williamsburg,” Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of Uprose, told Sunset Park Voice. “The concern is that the industrial waterfront has always hired blue collar workers. If we lose the industrial sector, then people and small business will be displaced.”

A major concern for Sunset Park residents is that Industry City will spur development throughout the rest of the neighborhood, and that the mom and pop shops will be pushed out and replaced by artisanal food stores, and other staples of a gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood.

Andrew Kimball, Industry City CEO, told the Brooklyn Paper that they have no control over development decisions made by landlords in the area. Furthermore, over 4,000 people are employed at Industry City, with nearly half of them living in Sunset Park or other nearby neighborhoods, noted Lisa Serbaniewicz, account executive with the Marino Group who represents Industry City.

“Local businesses have seen an uptick in the amount spent in their stores,” said Serbaniewicz. “Thousands of community residents have attended events at Industry City or sponsored by Industry City in other parts of the neighborhood. These benefits, and the many others, are worthy of support, not protest.”

These figures offer little consolation for Uprose, and its community volunteers, who are advocating for the waterfront be developed with community interests in mind.

“[Industry City] is turning us into a party neighborhood like Williamsburg or Chelsea,” lamented Yeampierre. “That’s not creative or innovative. That space could have been used for something better. We’re thinking 50 years from now. We don’t fight for the sake of fighting; we’re building something.”

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