Gentrification or Just Good Taste? Measuring Change One Taco at a Time

When people want to track a societal shift, they turn to statistics. But signs of the times also come in less quantifiable bites.

The Brian Lehrer show on WNYC has since the recession began asked readers to write in their stories for it’s “Uncommon Economic Indicators” series. One listener wrote to tell of the skaters who have settled in by the planters outside the glassy, under-occupied Richard Meier building by Grand Army Plaza. A few noted consumers pass around more rare joins these days, a sign that people have cracked open piggy banks to make ends meet.

Nostrand Park picked up the Lehrer show’s idea, with a twist. A recent post on the Crown Heights blog has “uncommon gentrification indicators”–a demographic shift measured in coffee shops, local blogs and affordable housing forums.

In Sunset Park, the recession has coincided with a neighborhood rezoning, the opening of a Duane Reade, an uptick in murders, a downslide in pizza sales and, recently, headlines touting the local fare. The New York Times, the Brooklyn Eagle, the Huffington Post and the Village Voice have all in recent months guided hungry New Yorkers to Sunset Park.

What do you think? Is it the recession, gentrification or just long overdue recognition that if you want tender, chewy hand-pulled noodles or melt-in-your-mouth pork tacos, Sunset Park is where it’s at?

Where do you go to get your bellyfull? Leave a comment. I’ll make a map.

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6 Comments

Filed under development, economy, food, recession, where to find

6 responses to “Gentrification or Just Good Taste? Measuring Change One Taco at a Time

  1. Ba Xuyen is the obvious Banh Mi go-to. Gran Via for coffee, cake, and pan de zanahoria. Don Paco for cookies and churros con crema. Tacos Xochimilco for tacos and so good sandwiches. Blue Sky for raisin twists, bubble tea, and red bean buns. Maria’s for guacamole. Tacos Nuevo Mexicano for the mole on their enchiladas. Johnny’s or Pizza on the Park for rolls and pizza.

    Mmmmmm. What else?

  2. EricaJo

    I can’t stay away from the Yun Nan Flavor Snack Shop, nor do I know why I would want to. The tamale lady who stands on 45th right above 4th in the am is god-sent some mornings. Tacos Matamoras is god-sent some nights. I’ve been ordering from the Szechuan place on 49thish, Metro Cafe – they deliver. Gai Lam on 8th ave for pho. There’s a new dumpling place on 48th perhaps just east of 8th avenue. I like Eclipse also, extensive menu, great spicy shrimp dishes – delivery also works well.

  3. I have so much to try! Keep an eye out for the map. I’ll try to get it up in the next week or two.

  4. curly

    Another vote for Eclipse, the Panaderia on 5th b/w 45th & 46th, across from Gran Via, Ba Xuyen of course for banh mi, loving Prosperity Dumpling, Ricos Tacos, Metro Cafe for spicy chinese, China #1 for standard chinese takeout. And it’s Greenwood Heights, not SP per se, but Little Buddy Biscuit on 5th @ 18th or so is worth the long walk. Holy yummy baked goods!

  5. My go to places are Eclipse, Sunset Bagels, Prosperity Dumpling, Pizza by the Park, Blue Sky, and the vietnamese sandwich place on 8th and 42nd or 41st

  6. Fo

    Adding to what is already a great list, I think Lucky Eight on 8th Av. has some delights – including the evil-yet-delicious roast suckling pig.
    Also, had some great soups and stews (Caldo de Bolas) from La Carreta Ecuadorian Restaurant on 51st, just off 4th.

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