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Gentrification of Alphabet City

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Daniella Robinson

on 2 May 2013

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Transcript of Gentrification of Alphabet City

Roots Loisiada Commercialization Current State of Gentrification Discussion "Early Gentrifiers" By the mid-1980s, after years of neglect,
the Lower East Side was left with:
- High rates of homelessness and crime
- Hundreds of abandoned buildings
(at least 500 vacant lots)

Many artists began occupying deserted buildings, establishing small businesses and bars, creating community gardens, and working together to repair the neighborhood. They considered themselves "pioneers" of the area.

By the 1990s, there were hundreds of squatters. They often engaged in collective decision-making and skill shares, in order to rehabilitate their deteriorated buildings and decrepit neighborhood into something they could call their own.

Early gentrifiers' developments gave them a sense of "ownership" of the neighborhood, and they viewed the world they had created as "authentic". What is Gentrification? Latino slang for “Lower East Side”
Post Eastern European influx-Industrial Revolution
Neighborhood was largely Hispanic immigrants since the 1960's
a "world" of shared Hispanic culture
Rent was low; crime rates were high Gentrification of Alphabet City Does anyone live or spend time in Alphabet City? Daniella Robinson, Kristen Drewes,
Shaina Pakravan, Grace Anzalone Alphabet City / the Lower East Side ("LES") What are your views on the concept of "ownership"? "Authenticity"? The production of urban space for progressively more affluent users
This process changes the context of the neighborhood socially, environmentally, financially, etc. Community Gardens 14th Street to Houston,
Avenue A to Avenue D What do you see as pros and cons of gentrification? Particularly regarding this neighborhood? Nightlife, bars, restaurants, parks, commercialized living spaces Loisaida by Bittman "Bimbo" Rivas, 1974 Lower East Side
I love you.
You're my lady fair.
No matter where I am,
I think of you!
The mountains and the
valleys cannot compare,
my love to you
Loisaida, I love you.
I dig the way you talk,
I dig the way you look. Me vacila tu cantar
y yo me las juego
fria pa' que vivas
para siempre.
En mi mente, mi amada,
yo te llamo Loisaida
una mezcla, la perfecta
una gente bien decente O what a town.....
even with your drug-infested
pocket parks, playgrounds
where our young bloods
hang around
waiting, hoping that
one day when they too
get well and smile again de to 'as rasas
que estiman
que te adoran
que no saben explicar
lo que le pasa
cuando ausente de
tus calles peligrosas
si te aman
A ti, mi hermosa Loisaida your love is all
they need to come around.
Loisaida, I love you.
Your buildings are
burning up
that we got to stop.
Loisaida, my love,
Te amo. Once viewed as a dangerous
"no man's land", the work of early
gentrifiers created an "edgy", alternative
vibe for the neighborhood.

Mid-1980's marked the beginning of branding
this "energy" specific to the LES,
as entrepreneurs realized they could transform
it into a profitable destination.

They capitalized on creating establishments that
supported the "scene" of the LES, but for middle
and wealthier classes - profiting off a more
expensive "representation of place".

Wealthy developers purchased decrepit
buildings for cheap, renovated them,
and drastically raised rents
- often ruthlessly. Continuously rising rents pushes out
local establishments and long-time residents,
replacing them with chain stores and new,
wealthier residents who tend to be transient figures
in the community.

Newer residents are often ignorant of those who lived there
before them, taking for granted the world that earlier
gentrifiers established for them and uprooting these long-term
residents that value the community.

Commercialization of the neighborhood continues to increase
rapidly, and is the major undercurrent for escalating
gentrification of the area.

This forces each wave of gentrifiers to coexist with
the remaining "locals" who preceded them,
requiring the cultural identities and psychology of each
generation to adapt and change for their position
within an ever-changing context.
Drastic rent increases
Class and generational struggles
Temporary college students replacing
long-time residents
Expensive retail establishments and chain stores
replacing "mom and pop" shops that can no longer afford the area
Significantly lower crime rates
Increasing number of bars
Tarnished "authenticity" of the neighborhood
for early gentrifiers and Loisaidas
Creation of organizations dedicated to preserving the "true essence" of the LES and serving members of the community who are negatively impacted by gentrification (ie. GOLES, MoRUS, LESHRC) The neighborhood has evolved into a novel "go-to" destination for those seeking nightlife activity, usually disrespecting the neighborhood for what it had originally stood for and instead using it as an attraction where they could come and go as they please.

Newer residents are usually transient, and have no investment in bettering the community unlike the mentality of the "locals" before them.

Many long-term residents/"pioneers" of the LES can no longer afford to live in the area they served to create, leading to clashes with newer waves of gentrification.

Cultural worlds of "early gentrifiers", Loisaidas, and other early residents becoming more close-knit and tied to their cultural identities in facing these modern changes.

The homeless have become a significantly more marginalized population. A good cross-sectional representation of the neighborhood's development

Born out of desolation and rubble in the 1980's, people banded together to beautify these spaces once strewn with trash and heroin needles - seedlings have flourished and survived all threats posed by gentrification

Key to revitalization of the area - the LES has more gardens/park areas than any other area of Manhattan, all open to the public

There are over 42 community-maintained gardens found in Alphabet City, each with their own distinctive character COMMUNITY GARDENS GROW COMMUNITY! Questions Ever-increasing commercialization of the neighborhood has resulted in: What are your perceptions of community and gentrification? When perspectives of different generations are taken into account? Thank you! Thank you! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151347422971237&set=vb.710736236&type=3&theater Video
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