In 1988, I was born at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn.
I’d lived within 2 miles in Crown Heights until I was 12 years old.
I remember my dad playing with me in the park in Crown Heights.
I remember running for the ice cream truck in Crown Heights.
I remember the boys playing basketball using a milk crate for a hoop and the girls jumping double dutch with phone cords in Crown Heights.
But I also remember my cousin being shot at point blank range in Crown Heights.
And I also remember losing another to gun violence on the streets of Crown Heights.
Becca Brennan, a former tax attorney from Canada, turned an empty bodega into a “boozy sandwich shop.” Capitalizing on the history and gun violence of Crown Heights, she admitted to fabricating a story about the bodega having an illegal gun shop in the back, marketing the cosmetic damage as a “bullet hole-ridden wall.” She’s also selling 40oz. bottles of rosé in brown paper bags. There’s a real history behind the 40 oz. in brown paper bags, but for her it’s another marketing angle.
Naturally, I was bothered when I heard of Summerhill. The Crown Heights I love so much and always wanted to return to was being mocked. Who the hell in Crown Heights needs this surfer-style sandwich shop with $12 BLTs? While gentrification is great, what is it really doing for the existing community? Yes, it’s bringing in new business and living opportunities—but it’s buying out the heart and soul and replacing it with coffee shops and bars. Becky took our struggle and ran with it like the wind in Chicago.
Just as I was outraged when I first heard of Brennan’s doings, so was the crown Heights community. A forum was held outside of the restaurant, and she never even came outside to address the public. Instead, she sent out her PR team to pass out copies of an apology – only to the press.
Brennan claims she will be reaching out to the community to learn what’s really needed and how she can play a role in the betterment. This should be interesting. Becky, do better.
*I do not own any if these photos! I saved all photos from google!