Silicon Alley U
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
It wasn’t all politicos and power brokers at the ribbon cutting for the FDR Four Freedoms Park gathered at the tip of Roosevelt Island earlier this week. Cornell had a strong showing, too, since their new tech campus will be the park’s neighbor to the north within a few years. Cornell president and jockey David Skorton was there, and so was Eric Schmidt, the Google executive chairman who is serving on a three-man advisory panel for the campus.
Wearing a natty tweed blazer and jaunty blue scarf, Mr. Schmidt was wandering just south of the sloping lawn, near the massive bust of the 32nd president that is a centerpiece of the park, when The Observer caught up with him. “I would say first it’s probably the most beautiful new public structures in America today, it’s so visually arresting,” Mr. Schmidt said. He thought is was a stunning space both to look at and to look out from.
men of manhattan
Gentrification has taken hold in every corner of the city over the past decade or two, but few places have felt it as acutely as Harlem. Demographics, tastes and prices are all shifting and skewing, for better and worse, often all at once. Last week at Harlem’s Studio Museum, a confab of the neighborhood’s business owners and power brokers came together to try and figure out what comes next for their community.
Hosted by the Harlem Park to Park Initiative, a self-styled community improvement association and business alliance, the conference brought together city officials, real estate developers and noted executives from the dining, hospitality and entertainment worlds. Among them were the CEO of the country’s largest African-American real estate development company, R. Donahue Peebles, and Tren’ness Woods Black, the third-generation owner of Sylvia’s Restaurant.
Mysteries of Brooklyn
The Awl interviewed Jonathan Van Meter, the man who penned the much beloved/much maligned New York Magazine essay “I Hate Brooklyn” back in 2005. Mr. Van Meter’s essay included a multitude of wonderful zingers, including his thoughts on a visit to Brooklyn Heights: “You can see the entirety of Manhattan across the river, a fact I found both oddly comforting and deeply disturbing. Why can’t we just be over there, in actual Manhattan?”
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
When it comes to Brooklyn, the rising tide of wealth that has flooded into the borough over the last two decades seems, more than anything, to have lifted housing prices. The well-being of the borough’s longtime residents has not, as the New York Daily News points out, been similarly buoyed.
the way things were
Chelsea is the new Park Slope, only better!
Why, there are so many cool places to take your hip, urban children—the High Line, Chelsea Piers, the Chelsea Market, all the art galleries and, starting this fall, your terrifically-gifted little one can even attend school nearby at Avenues.
Now if only you could just stamp out those last edgy, transgressive elements from the neighborhood. Sure, those things made you feel superior to your Brooklyn-dwelling friends when you first bought that sleek new condo, but now you’re all about playgrounds and preschools and you don’t want to push your toddler through a crowd of scantily-clad men.
Tales of Retail
Willimsburg, Brooklyn: A neighborhood seemingly synonymous with capital-G Gentrification by capital-C Caucasians, an longstanding association no doubt perpetuated by the continued development of Manhattan imports like The Meatball Shop and luxury developments like The Wythe Hotel—”Snooty Williamsburg,” as it were—that keep flooding the neighborhood. But was it really all that diverse to begin with?
Pass the syrup—and the Kleenex, because the Death of Downtown lamentations are only going to get louder as the Village gets its second IHOP.
There’s one in Harlem and one on East 14th Street, and soon there will be one in the West Village, too, at 80 Carmine Street. The International House of Pancakes has hit the Big Apple, folks, and it looks like it’s here to stay.
Things may have looked bleak during the recession for On Prospect Park, but the tower’s most expensive penthouse has finally sold for $5.1 million, just as everyone knew it eventually would.
Are boom times here again? Well, when it comes to gentrification in Brooklyn, Prospect Heights in particular, it’s not a question of if but when, and Prospect Heights was already pretty far gone when the sleek tower was just a rough sketch in Richard Meier’s head. Even if The New York Times did call the starchitect-designed condo “a wall of windows into the real estate bust” back in 2009.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Maybe you’ve heard about this neighborhood in New York City called Williamsburg? It’s a magical little place that—sometime around 1996—young artists looking for a bargain in reasonable proximity to Manhattan migrated from places like the East Village, back when it was still fairly cheap. The neighborhood has historically been a stronghold of Brooklyn’s Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Italians, and Chasidic Jews. Since then, like every other neighborhood in New York, folks young and old—moneyed with finances given or earned—have moved into the neighborhood.
As a result of this:
1. Those for whom the neighborhood was once affordable no longer count it as a reasonable living option.
2. Those for whom the neighborhood was once populated with contemporaries, it no longer is.
3. Those for whom the neighborhood was the place that they grew up have seen it indelibly changed.
And we know this now because a daring satirist writing for Thought Catalog—a digital publication ushering in a new Age of Enlightenment—has now come out as one of its ‘thoughtful denizens.’
The Times has uncovered an unseemly side to gentrification in West Harlem. No, not economic inequality, housing displacement or racist crime. It is something far worse: dog doodoo.