Last month, The Observer wondered aloud if there was some value to the preservation of New York’s ghetto character. If we are saving brownstones, cast-iron lofts and now modernist skyscrapers, why not the urban grit that overtook the city in the 1970s and 1980s. Most preservation is a form of urban theme park, so a little graffiti and some chintzy signs seems appropriate to convey the full sense of New York over the centuries.
This thought experiment was prompted by a liquor store sign that offended the sensibility of its neighbors in Harlem, who sought to transform the section of the hood into a certain Brooklyn enclave. “We want to be Park Slope with charming little stores and become a destination for people,” Ruthann Richert told The Times at the time.