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.”
Find out more ahead
4 Downing Street (r), 8 Downing Street (l). Renderings courtesy of Urban Compass.
The much-discussed new condos at the site of the former Broken Angel House at 4-8 Downing Street in Clinton Hill are officially on the market. Ten “hand-crafted condominium residences,” developed by Barrett Design and Development will include eight two- and three-bedrooms in the original building at 4 Downing and two two-story “generously scaled three bedroom homes” in the newly-constructed 8 Downing.
This way for prices and interior renderings
Our article last week on Hoboken being named the hipster capital of America certainly got people talking. Some felt that Hoboken is the frat capital of the country, while others were simply shocked that Brooklyn, the land of artisanal mayonnaise and lumbersexuality, didn’t even make the list of most hipster cities. The New Jersey city was given its title by “data-driven” blog FindtheBest, who drew their ultimate conclusions based on how many yoga studios and cafes there were per 10,000 inhabitants. So does the fact that Brooklyn also has rock climbing gyms and food trucks disqualify it completely? Tell us what you think.
Is Hoboken really America’s most hipster city? According to a study conducted by “data-driven” blog FindtheBest, Hoboken out-hipsters us all with its souped up offer of 13 cafes and one yoga studio per 10,000 residents—the vast majority of whom are aged between 20 and 34 years old.
FindTheBest looked at the top 19 municipalities with 50,000 or more inhabitants, evaluating both the locale and people against certain attributes they deemed characteristically hipster. Hilariously, the site defines a hipster as one who associates with a “subculture all about nonconformity and effortless nonchalance” and embodies an appearance that conjures up one “reading Proust over an overpriced cup of coffee.”
More on the study here
Photo by brandon king cc
Focusing in on just race can be taboo when looking at gentrification, but a new study finds that an area’s racial composition is actually the biggest predictor of how a changing neighborhood is perceived. CityLab recently dissected the study conducted by sociologist Jackelyn Hwang to find that the way that blacks and whites perceive and talk about change in their neighborhood is often wildly different. This gap in perception has wide-reaching effects for changing neighborhoods because not only does it polarize the individual groups, but it can also have a tremendous effect on where neighborhood boundaries are drawn and investment is distributed.
Find out more here
Of Brooklyn’s gentrifying neighborhoods, few have seen such rapid change as Bushwick. The neighborhood, which sits in the northern portion of the borough, running from Flushing Avenue to Broadway to Conway Street and the Cemetery of the Evergreens, has grown as a natural extension of Williamsburg—a haven for creatives and young folks looking for lower rents. But well before its trendy vibe put it on the map, Bushwick was a forested enclave originally settled by the Dutch—its name is derived from a Dutch word “Boswijck,”defined as “little town in the woods”—and later, German immigrants who began building breweries and factories.
Unfortunately, as the breweries along Brewer’s Row and factories closed and farms disappeared, derelict buildings and crime took hold—with the looting, arson and rioting after the city’s blackout during the summer of 1977 playing a starring role. According to the New York Times, “In a five-year period in the late 1960s and early 70s, the Bushwick neighborhood was transformed from a neatly maintained community of wood houses into what often approached a no man’s land of abandoned buildings, empty lots, drugs and arson.”
More on Bushwick’s past… and present
Image via the Historic Districts Council
What once seemed unheard-of in terms of where to rent or buy in tertiary neighborhoods is now a thing of the past—be it Harlem, Williamsburg, Hell’s Kitchen, Long Island City, or the Lower East Side. But one of the best examples of rapid transformation is Brooklyn. Certainly there are many coveted communities such as Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, and Park Slope, but there is another neighborhood making what looks like a very successful run at gentrification: Crown Heights.
More on the Crown Heights renaissance here
- Empire Mayo in Prospect Heights looks to create the “must try” garlic truffle mayonnaise from Kevin Hart’s SNL parody of Bushwick gentrification. [DNAinfo]
- Two for the price of one: This tiny side table transforms into a full-on rowing machine. [Gizmodo]
- Forget hailing a taxi to get to the airport; a helicopter ride will cost you just $99. [NYP]
- Faith Seidenberg, one of the women who sued McSorley’s (and won!) for not admitting women, dies at age 91. [NY Times]
- Hold your nose…the top 25 bad smells that remind you you’re in New York City. [Scouting NY]
- As if rent wasn’t expensive enough, New Yorkers spend a whopping $146,127 on cigarettes during their lifetime. [NYDN]
Images: Helicopter via alexjamesfitz via photopin cc (L); Fish market via nchoz via photopin cc (R)
If you tuned in to SNL this past Saturday, you probably saw this hilarious sketch featuring Kevin Hart, Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah spoofing life in hipster-laden Bushwick. The trio are huddled on a street corner talking about all the “crazy things” they’ve been doing over the last week. SNL uses the opportunity to poke fun at everything that’s gone granola in the ‘hood, from handmade dog sweaters to the $8 artisanal mayonnaises that now dominate the area’s once crime-ridden streets.
“That last party was off the chain, bro!” Pharoah says. “There was drinking wine. It was painting landscapes, barriers, fruit. You know what I’m saying?”
Hart: “Did you have any cheeses tho?”
“You acting like somebody put gluten in your muffin.”
Watch the video here
We all know the typical gentrification pattern–artists move in to a neighborhood and make it hip; they’re followed by trendy coffee shops and cool vintage stores; rents rise; the artists move on to the next frontier. But what if the influx of artists to a neighborhood slowed gentrification? It sounds like an impossible premise, but it just might be taking shape in East Harlem.
Fast Co. EXIST takes a look at El Barrio’s Artspace PS109, the project which has transformed an abandoned public school building in East Harlem into 89 units of affordable live/work housing for artists and their families and 10,000 square feet of complementary space for arts organizations. A whopping 53,000 creatives applied to live in the building, where studios will rent for as low as $494/month and two-bedroom units will go for $1,022/month. But isn’t Artspace’s goal to break the gentrification cycle—”to preserve the cultural fabric of a small corner of Manhattan that’s starting to change quickly” by preserving its affordable housing?
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