New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

El Barrio

One defining characteristic of New York City is its ethnic neighborhoods, some indelibly stamped with the signature of one or more ethnic groups.

And acronyms for neighborhoods are the clearest sign of gentrification. Once you have a catchy name, such as SoHo, you can hear it used as the real estate broker's refrain. The utterance of all those wonderful little neighborhood nicknames - NoHo, SoHo, Dumbo, Tribeca, NoLita, RAMBO, GoCaGa, BoCoCa, etc.- are meant to give comfort to the prospective property buyer or renter that the neighborhood has arrived and is now officially hip.

In Spanish Harlem (SpaHa), it is not so clear that the ship has yet come in. This area is still plagued with lack of services and crime, even though there has been an influx of tenants seeking cheaper pastures and the neighborhood is sporting a number of upscale shops. There is a lot of tension here as gentrification threatens low income and long-time residents. Read article about the neighborhood here.

An irony in this city is the abutment of neighborhoods with very different demographics and household incomes. The Upper East Side is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New York City and in the United States. Its northern boundary is generally considered to be 96th Street, where, ironically, Spanish Harlem begins. As one approaches 96th Street, you can feel things change quite rapidly, and passing through it is like crossing a continental divide into a very different land. Shops, amenities, foods, and signage cater to the Hispanic community, easily seen once you enter El Barrio...

1 comment:

Mirela said...

:)) Dumbo and Rambo? I've heard of all the others, but I missed these two while visiting NYC :-D... different ethnic neighborhoods left me amazed and in love with NYC - one corner turn and you find yourself in a completely different world, culture, stores, language...