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A Push to Preserve the Cultural Legacy of Harlem’s Sugar Hill

December 18, 2015

Side Street By DAVID GONZALEZ : nytimes – excerpt

Today, the plaster reliefs in the lobby are chipped, the uniformed staff long gone. To a casual observer it looks like a building that will sooner or later be consumed by the kind of gentrification that has already remade central Harlem. Ms. Taylor is keenly aware of that, which is why she has enlisted a band of like-minded people to document and preserve the area’s history to ensure that whoever moves here knows the greatness that has dwelled within her building, as well as at 409 Edgecombe, a few blocks south, where Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkins, among other luminaries, once lived.

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“The way I look at it, so-called gentrification is a foregone conclusion, and there is nothing we can do about it at this juncture, because the market forces are too strong,” said Ms. Taylor, an editor and writer from Cambria Heights in Queens. “We are trying to uphold the legacy of the enormous intellectual, political and social activism that went on in both buildings. I have lived in Harlem for almost 30 years because the history here is so rich.”… (more)

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On a Wall in the West Bronx, a Gentrification Battle Rages

Alberto Serrano has declared war on the shock troops of gentrification: hipsters. He has chosen as his front line a part of the Bronx, specifically a stretch along Walton Avenue in the Mount Hope neighborhood, which — for now — is free from goofy bars, twee crochet sculptures and overpriced cafes. His weapon? A huge mural depicting a grand comic-strip battle of the hip versus the hopeful…

Decades ago, Herman Badillo, the former congressman and Bronx borough president, predicted it was inevitable that the South Bronx would be targeted by people priced out of Manhattan. Some laughed him off, but recent events have led some to wonder if he was prescient. Parts of Port Morris and Mott Haven have seen pockets of redevelopment that have attracted artists and others looking for affordable space. A city proposal to rezone a commercial and industrial stretch of Jerome Avenue to allow for new housing has stoked more fears.

Then, the announcement of the waterfront towers in Port Morris prompted nothing less than alarm, leading to several meetings among residents worried about gentrification in a borough where many people already feel they have to spend too much of their income on housing… (more)

 

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