Perhaps you read a lengthy and largely admiring profile last Sunday about the nonagenarian broker credited with helping to save Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, from a downhill slide.
In that piece, Mary Kay Gallagher is quoted as saying that she got into real estate as a kind of civic duty, “to help find responsible guardians for the shingled, gabled and columned behemoths in her own backyard.”
As suburbia beckoned many of the middle-class white families that had populated the Flatbush area, the minority population surged to 20 percent in 1970 from 2 percent in 1960, according to the Times article on the woman. Blockbusting by brokers wanting to repurpose the area became a viable threat.
Once the so-called Old Guard moved out, what mattered to the 90-year-old broker was replacing them with owners who cared enough and could afford to maintain their properties and preserve the neighborhood’s aesthetic. Continue reading