Category Archives: Neighborhood Transformations

Vanishing New York: The Book

Source: Vanishing New York: The Book

Happy to see this recent news in publishing. A nonfiction book on the issues that Stephanie’s (on the market) novel tackles.

Vanishing New York: The Book

“At long last, after many efforts, I am happy to report there will be a Vanishing New York book. From the official trade announcement today:

“Blogger Jeremiah Moss’s VANISHING NEW YORK, a critique of the ills of hyper-gentrification and suburbanization of our cultural hubs, a rallying cry for how we can stop it (in New York and other cities around the world), and a lyrical look at why cities need souls.”

Many thanks to my agent, Anthony Mattero at Foundry Literary + Media, and to my editor, Denise Oswald at HarperCollins’ Dey Street Books, for taking a chance on a cranky blogger. And endless thanks to everyone who reads this blog, and keeps reading it (even though it’s depressing), for all your support over the years. I’m grateful that we’re all in it together.”

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by Celebrating La Casa Azul Bookstore… in the news

Happy that Stephanie (and some of the Zoe Health family) were able to participate in a news clip highlighting the gem that is La Casa Azul Bookstore in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. As donors, networkers and (most importantly!) customers to this bookstore, it was a pleasure to share how La Casa Azul has enriched our lives, and how it does the same for the neighborhood.

Greenwich Village Ghost Town

Source: Greenwich Village Ghost Town

“Last week, blogger Travelerette posted a cornucopia of photos showing the ghost town that Greenwich Village has become, thanks to greedy landlords who kick out commercial tenants, and then warehouse the empty spaces while they wait for high-paying national chain stores to move in…”

Gothamist Article Highlights the Ailments and Privilege of Gentrification

This recent article in the Gothamist highlights some of the glaring ailments of gentrification, white privilege and inner truths of so-called “liberalism”. How a white graffiti artist feels entitled to put up her piece on private property and lash out at the property owners with savior-complex threats of retaliation for not appreciating how her work makes their building “more profitable”. The short article picks up on these themes of gentrification:

-the double standard of white privilege: If Black and Latino kids had done the same act of graffiti, they’d have to worry about police retaliation

-how local economies are often not supported in the gentrification process, helping speed its spread

-the intimidation native (or long-term) residents, and residents of color, may feel in speaking out against the gentrifiers, particularly if they are white and/or are wealthier

-how a simple act of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. on the part of the graffiti artist could have changed this story from the beginning. Ask permission to do it first. And if you didn’t, APOLOGIZE for causing harm and hurt feelings when the owners express it. The story could have changed there, too. Instead the graffiti artist responded with a threat against the owners.

-how “beautification” of a neighborhood, and rising real estate prices do not always work to the benefit of all members of the community (and how beautification is often a code word that goes hand-in-hand with the gentrification process).

-the dangers of the perceived benevolence of white liberalism, that when put into a corner, can express itself in terms of a missionary (James Baldwin) savior complex in which the target community should feel indebted and inferior to.

A Community Food Market Where Dignity is at the Center

The Daily Table’s model simultaneously addresses food insecurity and promotes health in a respectful, dignified manner for all customers who walk through their doors. Here’s how.

Source: A Community Food Market Where Dignity is at the Center

Cars Still Rolling Through Pedestrian North Meadow Recreation Center

Early this year, The West Side Rag picked up a story we’ve been covering for awhile now, and published how the Central Park Conservancy and Parks DNorth Meadow Cars Greet Youepartment have been using half the basketball courts and indoor space in the North Meadow Recreation Center (in the middle of Central Park around 97th Street) for  office and parking spaces. Residents have attended community meetings, have gotten empty promises (or answers that reflect that the issue isn’t something they will take on), have collected hundreds of signatures from fans of the Recreation Center…And still the the public is being denied a slice of their tax-payer pie; the cars and offices are still there. Below is a collection of photos and a video from over the last few months documenting how cars block the paths of pedestrians and those wishing to use the courts for recreation. The only time the cars are removed seem to be when an organized team is playing in the courts, if not by whim of staff.

North Meadow Active Driveway
Not a Parking Space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Footage

WSome Residents Try to Play Basketball, Even with the Cars in the Wayhen kids try to use the basketball courts, even with cars parked in the way. May 2015: North Meadow Cars in Courts May 2015

Alternative Parking Areas (to note a few)

Other Places to ParkNorth Meadow Ring Places to Park North Meadow Ring 2 Places to Park North Meadow Other Parking Places
North Meadow Available Spaces to Park

Rent Wars- The Year of the Tenant

Sharing a video put together by MULTIHOP.TV, a “short documentary highlight[ing] rent wars between NYC rent stabilized tenants vs. greedy developers / landlords.”

For those looking for a good read, I recommend again Tales of Two Cities. It’s being reprinted this fall by Penguin if you can’t grab an original copy.

The Tragedy of Urban Renewal: The destruction and survival of a New York City neighborhood

Thanks to the great  Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group I came upon this great video that documents the displacement and perseverance of the “Old Community” of an area in the Upper West Side Manhattan. The community was victim to a Robert Moses urban planning project and the film documents its impact on the community of color residents. It also reminds us when neighborhoods were more than addresses, but communities that knew each other with ties and love. The topic of displacement and community in this area of New York (and in general) is a theme in my second novel, currently undergoing revisions. The text below is taken from the youtube description for a film written, produced, shot, and edited by Jim Epstein and narrated by Nick Gillespie.

 

“Uploaded on Sep 28, 2011

In 1949, President Harry Truman signed the Housing Act, which gave federal, state, and local governments unprecedented power to shape residential life. One of the Housing Act’s main initiatives – “urban renewal” – destroyed about 2,000 communities in the 1950s and ’60s and forced more than 300,000 families from their homes. Overall, about half of urban renewal’s victims were black, a reality that led to James Baldwin’s famous quip that “urban renewal means Negro removal.”

New York City’s Manhattantown (1951) was one of the first projects authorized under urban renewal and it set the model not only for hundreds of urban renewal projects but for the next 60 years of eminent domain abuse at places such as Poletown, New London, and Atlantic Yards. The Manhattantown project destroyed six blocks on New York City’s Upper West Side, including an African-American community that dated to the turn of the century. The city sold the land for a token sum to a group of well-connected Democratic pols to build a middle-class housing development. Then came the often repeated bulldoze-and-abandon phenomenon: With little financial skin in the game, the developers let the demolished land sit vacant for years.

The community destroyed at Manhattantown was a model for the tight-knit, interconnected neighborhoods later celebrated by Jane Jacobs and other critics of top-down redevelopment. In the early 20th century, Manhattantown was briefly the center of New York’s black music scene. A startling roster of musicians, writers, and artists resided there: the composer Will Marion Cook, vaudeville star Bert Williams, opera singer Abbie Mitchell, James Weldon Johnson and his brother Rosemond, muralist Charles Alston, writer and historian Arturo Schomburg, Billie Holiday (whose mother also owned a restaurant on 99th Street), Butterfly McQueen of “Gone with the Wind” fame, and the actor Robert Earl Jones.

Designating West 99th and 98th Streets a “slum” was bitterly ironic. The community was founded when the great black real estate entrepreneur Philip Payton Jr. broke the color line on 99th Street in 1905. Payton, also credited with first bringing African Americans to Harlem, wanted to make it possible for a black man to rent an apartment, in his words, “wherever his means will permit him to live.”

A couple years after Payton moved his first tenants into West 99th and 98th Streets, the black orator Roscoe Conkling Simmon marveled that African Americans for the first time were living in “the most beautiful and cultured neighborhood in New York City…because back of them stands organized and sympathetic capital.”

Fifty years later, the federal bulldozer tore that neighborhood apart.

Written, produced, shot, and edited by Jim Epstein. Narrated by Nick Gillespie.

Approximately 6.30 minutes.”