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Manhattan Urban Trends in 2007


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Manhattan gentrification trends in 2007.
An article by Mihai Pruna

Published in: Real Estate, Business
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Manhattan Urban Trends in 2007

  1. 1. Manhattan Island, New York City, New York 2007: What's Left to Gentrify? By Mihai Pruna Uptown: Harlem and Washington Heights Uptown is where gentrification is! At least that's what realtors hope, and they are building numerous condos hoping that the gentrification success story that is the rest of Manhattan so far has not yet ended. Gentrification in Manhattan generally occurs through pressure from established, sought after neighborhoods that spill into adjacent districts as housing demand skyrockets. The popular neighborhood Morningside Heights is touching the Southwestern corner of Harlem, which is undergoing 'heavy' gentrification as shown by the great number of new condos being built. Throughout Harlem and East Harlem beautiful old brownstones are also a draw, and many find new owners who restore them to their former glory. As some benefit from gentrification, there are also those who suffer from it. This flip side of gentrification can be seen in the uptown neighborhood of Washington Heights, which is undergoing a big shift in population as this traditionally Dominican-immigrant enclave is taken over by newcomers from various ethnicities. East Harlem's Puerto Rican community (El Barrio) is seeing the same fate as its members are priced out of the neighborhood. Lower East Side The other area still not gentrified is the Lower East Side. It's not to be confused with the hip and East Village. The East Village used to be a part of the Lower East Side, but as the gentrified West Village started spilling into the LES, the neighborhood above East Houston Street acquired a cool name to reflect its new status, a younger sister of the trendy and upscale West Village. Gentrification continues to spread south and that's where it gets touchy. Like in Washington Heights, gentrification in the Lower East Side destroys ethnic and religious communities. There are fewer traditional Jewish shops in the area, as hip upscale restaurants open up. The Puerto Rican community, Loisaida, is shrinking as its members, mainly poor tenants, are displaced to make room for new residents able to pay higher rents. Gentrification Trends Manhattan's gentrification process has reached its twilight. The real estate market is slowing down, due to better opportunities for developers in the outer boroughs. Brooklyn and Queens offer good renting or buying alternatives for someone who wants to experience the New York lifestyle to its fullest yet keep some money in their pocket. Especially more so when, compared to Harlem and Washington Heights, certain outer boroughs of New York, like Brooklyn and Queens, or even Jersey City are closer to Midtown or Downtown Manhattan (where most white collar jobs and hangouts are) by train.
  2. 2. The heart of the Big Apple has been gentrifying for over thirty years. Blighted neighborhoods became in turn havens for artists, hipsters, yuppies, new businesses. The sex shops of 42nd street completely disappeared and were replaced by the Disney-Urban landscape of today's Times Square. SoHo escaped a 1960's proposal to defile the neighborhood with an expressway to rise to fame first as an artist enclave, then a popular hangout. Today it stands as another Manhattan landmark neighborhood, recognized for its beautiful architecture, where tourists can experience 'downtown' and also provide income to a plethora of boutiques, restaurants and street vendors. One asks, after decades of real estate boom, during which most neighborhoods went through the gentrification cycle one by one, while the urban pioneers themselves fled to Brooklyn or Jersey City, is there anything left to gentrify?
  3. 3. Harlem following Frederick Douglass Blvd. Lots of new buildings can be seen in this transitional area between Harlem and Morningsid are hyping the neighborhood's name in the downtown tradition. Thus South Harlem becomes SoHa, (and Washingt Harlem Neighborhood around 125th Street. Condos are being built and old buildings are Lower East Side going South from Houston Street. This neighborhood experiences gentrification throughout, except on the river's communities makes further development impossible. ©2014 Mihai Pruna