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Protesters Call for Boycott of ‘Gentrifying’ Bar

Dozens of people gathered outside of a new Crown Heights sandwich shop and bar called Summerhill, located on Nostrand Avenue, to protest the “gentrification” of Crown Heights and the bar, whose owner they labeled “racist” and “colonialist.”

Organizers of the event showed up with a list of things they wanted owner Becca Brennan to do, such as remove a hole-ridden wall that she claimed came from bullets.

From the Gothamist:

Brennan, a 31-year-old former attorney and Toronto transplant, has apologized for the promotional blunder, after initially saying she was just being “cheeky” when she decided to photograph a $12 cocktail in front of “bullet holes” in the wall at 637 Nostrand. She has also faced community backlash for saying she would serve the 40 ounce bottles of rosé in paper bags, prompting accusations of classism and racism.

On Saturday, incensed residents spoke about the impact of gentrification on their neighborhood, and accused Summerhill of glorifying violence, and for-profit cultural appropriation.

“People of color are not props or backdrops,” said Toya Lillard, who is black, and a Crown Heights resident of over 20 years. “If you are new to this community you are duty bound to do some research. To be culturally literate. To know where you are. To know what came before you. It’s not our job to inform you or educate you. It’s yours.”

Summerhill was open for business during the protest, windows flung open to the street. Forty Ounce Rosé bottles had been cleared away from the bar shelves.

About a dozen patrons sat around the bar and at high tables, occasionally speaking with reporters, while Brennan herself mixed cocktails. She did not engage with the crowd outside, even as protesters started a loud chant of “Bye, Bye Becky,” using slang for a generic white woman. Speaker after speaker climbed a step ladder outside and called for a boycott, while two publicists, one of whom described himself as “crisis management,” took notes.

“I grew up here for 54 years,” said neighbor Stephanie Simms, who is black. “I watched Colt 45 being bought. I have drank it in my years. Yes, it was a cheap drink and it was in a brown paper bag, but it destroyed lives. So why is it something that you want to monopolize on?”

“Glorifying violence is not the way to go,” added another speaker, who did not provide his name. “I’m a resident of Crown Heights. I’m a black man. I’m offended that people are marketing our hurt, our pain, our struggle. Crown Heights is not on sale.”

Click here to continue reading at the Gothamist.

15 Comments

  • 1. Moishe pipek wrote:

    They have my vote.Every person should be treated with dignity.This is not subject to change by wealthy.

    Reply
    • 2. Milhouse wrote:

      This is not about individuals not being treated with dignity. It’s about a very recent mishugaas called “cultural appropriation”, combined with good old fashioned jealousy and resentment of those better off than oneself.

  • 3. Of course they did wrote:

    Nothing says “progressive” without at least a bit of casual anti-Semitism.

    Reply
    • 4. CR wrote:

      There’s a healthy helping of open, explicit racism against all white people being expressed by these thugs and cretins. They deserve every ounce of scorn and mockery being heaped upon their gutter “culture” in that story.

  • 5. The kangeroo wrote:

    That is their idea of dignity therefore it should be honored.They deserve a place to live if they would be chased out of their habitat where would they go?I vote for them.

    Reply
  • 6. CR wrote:

    So the gangsta m0f0z have problems with their turf being invaded, colonized and occupied by forces more powerful than their violent thuggery. And we are supposed to care because….why, exactly? Are these folks shocked, angered and surprised that, after years of “F— Da Police”, “First Of Tha Month” and other such anthems to being a violent, lazy, cretinous, irresponsible layabout someone came along pointing out how ridiculous and contemptible that entire culture really is? And that lots of others in the neighborhood agree with the sentiment enough to patronize such an establishment?

    Someone is finally cleaning up the filth. All the more power to them!

    Reply
  • 7. "WHERE IS SHARPTON" wrote:

    THIS IS REMINISCENT OF THE KOREAN BOYCOTT AND IF THE MAYOR ALLOWS THIS HE IS NO BETTER THAN DINKINS. IT IS A FREE SOCIETY AND IF PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THE STORE, DO NOT PATRONIZE IT. ALLOWING BOYCOTTS AND THE SUCH WILL OPEN THE WAY FOR PERCEPTIONS THAT WILL LEAD TO RIOTING. THE CITY OFFICIALS MUST PUT DOWN THIER FEET AT THE ONSET AND NOT ALLOW ILLEGAL RACIAL DEMONSTRATIONS. BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, SHARPTON ( OBAMAS FRIEND ) WILL BE AT THE FOREFRONT, AND WE ALL KNOW WHERE THAT LEADS.

    Reply
  • 8. The hood is over crowded. wrote:

    The people upset, should show an living example of their grace and dignity.
    Complaining about other’s bad judgment and disrespect will not make the complainers better people.

    Reply
  • 9. Concerned wrote:

    Why is this being posted on our community’s news site?
    I feel that we are losing the plot if this is considered news worthy for Chabad of crown heights.

    Reply
  • 10. IF they really care wrote:

    let them do work with the youth in their neighborhood
    and not just rabble rouse
    what if it would have been a black person who opened up the shop
    would it be OK then?

    Reply
  • 11. Confused? wrote:

    Where was there anti Semitism?
    A non kosher bar opens up insulting our fellow crownheitzers. The bloodshed in crown heights isn’t a tourist attraction. Neither is the poverty.
    Personally I feel the response to this insult is to boycott the place. By protesting you are giving them free advertising dollars.

    Reply
  • 13. The kangeroo wrote:

    Tell the lamebrain hipsters to hang out in the village.They have my vote, the long time residents need a place to live.

    Reply
  • 14. But . . . . wrote:

    The age-old questions:
    How does this all affect the Jews?
    Is this good for the Jews, or is it bad for the Jews?

    How does this relate to Jewish Crown Heights? Is “Becca” short for “Rivkah”? Or is she not Jewish?

    Is this restaurant kosher? Or not?

    Inquiring frum minds want to know!

    Reply
  • 15. jdf007 wrote:

    I don’t get anything about this article, except that this is the nonsense that goes on all over the country, in ever state, every region, in every city that is small, medium and large.
    Let’s focus on the Toya Lillard quote. If we look at events 30-50 years ago, segregated neighborhoods were basically outlawed. So, unless if Ms. Lillards ancestors built the neighborhood brick by brick, versus having just moved in, she and others will just have to deal with people moving in like their parents and grand-parents have done.
    This is America, too bad.

    Reply

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