Paved paradise, destroyed the White Castle. Rendering by Adam America

The public’s relationship between fast food and gentrification is fascinating: A McDonald’s being replaced by a high-rise hotel is deplorable, but then so is a Starbucks taking over a local bodega. Corporate chains can be, depending on context, either the gentrifier or the gentrified, either the business that will be missed or the definitive problem. In Park Slope, a single-story Mcdonald’s on 4th Ave. was mourned back in 2013 when was announced it would soon bite the dust to be replaced by an 11-story building. Yet the Chipotle that opened recently in the neighborhood on 7th Ave. is considered by many locals to be a final, disgusting, sterilized touch to the area’s gentrification. The issue is many-leveled and nuanced.

The most recent affordable housing lottery to be announced in Brooklyn is a relevant case: Back in 2013, Brooklynites lost yet another place to get tiny hamburgers when the 781 Metropolitan Ave. White Castle closed to make way for a boxy 81-unit apartment building. The development, nearly complete, will begin accepting lottery applications on Monday for its 16 subsidized units.

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RIP White Castle. Photo via PropertyShark, 2010
RIP White Castle. Photo via PropertyShark, 2010

The 16 units consist of four studios, four one-bedrooms and eight two-bedrooms. The studios are renting for $867/month to one-person homes making $31,612 to $40,080 a year. The one-bedrooms are renting for $931 to one- and two-person families making $44,875 to $45,840 a year. The two-bedrooms are renting for $1,123 to two-, three- and four-person families making between $40,492 and $57,240 a year.

Amenities include a roof deck, tenant lounge, gym and laundry. The building is on the same block as the Graham Ave. L.

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The death of Williamsburg’s White Castle is no isolated incident – the borough’s White Castle’s are rapdily ascending to the Big White Castle In The Sky at an alarming clip. According to Brownstoner, “White Castle’s exodus from the borough is something of a trend — Brooklyn lost three of the cheap eats locations in only three months in late 2014 and early 2015….Five White Castles remain in Brooklyn, in Sunset Park, Bushwick, Brownsville and East New York.”

Per usual, a portion of units will go to those with mobility, vision, or hearing disabilities, municipal employees, and area residents (in this case, those living within Brooklyn Community Board 1).

The lottery will be accepting applications through June 13 at midnight. Don’t be scammed: There’s never a broker’s fee for these lotteries and you should apply through NYC Housing Connect.

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