Gentrification – Helping or Hurting?

Most have heard about the gentrification of Brooklyn, but Harlem is another area of NYC slowly moving up the ranks of most gentrified areas.

Luxury apartment buildings are going up left and right, a surge of new restaurants and shops are springing up, and iconic places such as the Harlem Tavern has booming business. So why is this so bad over the the west side of this neighborhood? People are worried about it changing the culture and community that is deep rooted in Harlem.

Great video piece on Harlem gentrification arguing against the white / black gentrification divide
Luxury apartment building in South West Harlem

I spoke to Debbie, a resident of Harlem for nearly 30 years. She said it’s been interesting to see the shift from what the area was when she moved into her apartment on the lower west side of Harlem to what it is now. “I’m not so much upset about new businesses or even younger, whiter people moving in. I just hope the neighborhood stays the way it always has been,” she shares. She tells me how in the spring and summer everyone is out on their stoops, kids are riding their bikes down the street, you can smell people cooking and music going – people gather, talk, hangout. “I just don’t want people to come here for the cheaper rent, I want people here for the community itself.”

Harlem restaurant, Harlem Burger Co., opened in 2016
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