In the Settlers of Brooklyn (pronounced inexplicably in the lost tongue of the High Middle Ages), an “award-winning game of entitlement, self-discovery and brunch,” there are five resources available: coffee, vinyl, bicycles, skinny jeans, and kale. All of which sound like reasonably life-enhancing additions, but when combined with a tableful of flannel-wearing gits, such as those portrayed in the video below, set on engineering the perfect endless brunch, the whole picture begins to grate like the line outside Egg on a Sunday morning. So the best thing to do may be just to roll with it, which is the idea behind this quick video sendup from snarkmeisters Above Average.
6sqft’s new series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. To kick things off, award-winning authors and photographers James and Karla Murray bring us 15 years of images documenting the changing storefronts of Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on 6sqft? Get in touch with us at [email protected]
Bleecker Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue South was once a huge Italian enclave with many traditional “mom and pop” stores catering to the large Italian families who resided in the neighborhood. By the late 1930s, it also had a significant bohemian population with many artists, writers, poets and musicians living in the area who set up galleries, coffee houses and music shops. Due to widespread gentrification and escalating real-estate values, the neighborhood has changed drastically and its unique appearance and character is suffering.
We are here to take you on visual tour to experience how many of the truly authentic shops remain on this venerable Greenwich Village street, and to show you what has replaced the ones that have vanished. Many of the shops you’ll encounter ahead have been featured with full-color photographs and insightful interviews with the store owners in three of our widely acclaimed books on the subject, but we’ve also rounded up several more ahead.
It’s rare to see a new development in Bushwick with any kind of style and grace, but a recently finished six-unit condominium at 27 Dodworth Street actually looks like some thought went into it. Even more remarkable is that it manages to do so on what is probably the most unfortunate looking street on the eastern seaboard. So breathtakingly ugly in fact that it could be thought of, by some, as chic. And as it turns out, buyers have shelled out up to $1 million for condos along this gritty stretch near the Bed-Stuy-Bushwick border.
Courtesy of James and Karla Murray authors/photographers of “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York“
“The evidence of disease is everywhere,” claims Jeremiah Moss. No, he’s not talking about New Yorkers’ health; this is something he believes is even more merciless: hyper-gentrification. Moss, the pseudonymic chief editor behind the “bitterly nostalgic” blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York and the founder of the anti-gentrification movement #SaveNYC, and James and Karla Murray, authors and photographers of “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York” submitted a short film to last month’s Municipal Arts Society Summit 2015. The ten-minute clip opens with a sinister assertion that “the soul of New York is dying,” and plays as a visual obituary of the small businesses we have lost over the past two decades.
Shortly after Jeremiah’s melancholic melodrama, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen was asked whether New York should adopt commercial rent control policies. Unconvinced this is an applicable solution, she instead emphasized that a “healthy and vibrant mix of businesses” is important and “bad” businesses must be allowed to fail. Nor is Glen convinced of the plight of the mom and pop, calling it a Manhattan-centric argument. While she acknowledges certain neighborhoods are changing rapidly, she says independent businesses are thriving in other boroughs.
Brooklyn’s hipsterization is pretty much widely accepted as fact at this point, but still not a day goes by without some article, essay or artwork pointing to how the neighborhood has lost its authenticity. The latest photo series to emerge documenting the substitution of the borough’s street cred for artisinal goods and overpriced organic cocktails is Kristy Chatelain’s “Brooklyn Changing.” Though Chatelain isn’t quite what you’d call a longtime New Yorker—she moved to Greenpoint from New Orleans in 2006—unlike the rants of her fellow new-era Brooklynites who bemoan how different things are since they moved in, her series comes off as a thoughtful study in just how quickly things changed in North Brooklyn over just five years.
Recently on the Brian Lehrer radio show on WNYC, Mayor De Blasio addressed questions about the effects inclusionary development–i.e. giving developers the green light to build market rate housing if they set aside 25-30 percent of the units for low- and middle-income residents–has on the quality of life in lower-income neighborhoods. A growing concern among housing activists is that reliance on this kind of inclusionary zoning leads to gentrification that pushes out the lower income residents due to the 70-75 percent of market rate units bringing new, wealthy residents and new businesses that will cater to them.
Photo: Joe Buglewicz
As the transformation of Queens reaches a bit deeper into the borough, it’s really no surprise that Jackson Heights is quickly becoming a focal point for savvy buyers and renters. The area, roughly bounded by Northern Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, is fully loaded with stunning pre-war co-ops practically everywhere and shiny new redevelopments for under $800,000. Combine this with its diverse cultural offerings and a myriad of subways that can always get you smack dab in the middle of Manhattan in less than 30 minutes (that’s better than a lot of the up-and-coming areas of Brooklyn, mind you), it has all the makings for the next hipster-setting housing boom.
The Times highlights the plight of the city’s iconic local bodegas, tiny grocery-slash-beer-slash-whatever-the-local-patrons-need shops that have long been a colorful cornerstone of everyday life in the city’s neighborhoods. Photographer Gail Victoria Braddock Quagliata even spent nine months pounding the pavements of Manhattan in a quest to photograph every single one of its bodegas.
But many of these tiny shops have been scrambling to stay in business. The city’s roughly 12,000 bodegas are losing customers. About 75 have closed this year according to the Times, many in uptown neighborhoods like Inwood, Washington Heights and Harlem. Though that proportion is small, many shop owners are concerned.
Image via Bill de Bodega
Jarritos with an $11.99 corkage fee, a hipster breakfast for $8.99? Act fast because you won’t want miss out on all the great deals going on at the Washington Heights “Gentrification in Progress Sale.”
A row of mom and pops located along a stretch between 162nd and 163rd streets got a Williamsburg-worthy facelift on Monday as Brooklyn locals Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan plastered storefronts with scathingly sardonic signage pointing to the area’s demise. The campaign, first reported on by Vanishing NY, was created in response to the ousting of several of the block’s 30-plus-year-old businesses by a new landlord in order to make way for commercial tenants willing to pay higher rents.
There’s yet to be an exact agreed-upon theory as to where the name Hell’s Kitchen came from, but most historians agree that it had something to do with the poor tenement conditions and general filth of the neighborhood in the 19th century. Its reputation didn’t get any better in the 20th century, though. After the repeal of prohibition, the area became overrun with organized crime, and until the 1980s it was known as a home base for several gangs. Today, Hell’s Kitchen is no longer the “Wild West,” but rather a rapidly gentrifying community ripe for new development.
A neighborhood profile today in the Times looks at the transformation of the neighborhood, also called Clinton or Midtown West, which is generally defined as the area from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River between 34th to 59th Streets. Summed up, “New buildings are going up, and older ones are being converted to high-end residences. The development of Hudson Yards and the High Line just to its south and the addition of the Time Warner Center on its northeast border have spurred growth. Prices have gone up but are still generally lower than in surrounding neighborhoods.”