Hyper-gentrification--the jet-fueled process in which city government and corporations collude to displace the existing culture and population of New York and replace it with something shinier, wealthier, and homogenized for your safety--is often used by real estate agents to rebrand and sell "newly discovered" neighborhoods.
Sometimes, the sell can be unabashed in its revanchist rhetoric. A reader sent in a newsletter from one real estate agent working to sell Harlem. I'll let the text speak for itself.
- "New Yorkers are always debating which hood is the hottest. Is Bushwick the next Williamsburg? NoHo the next Tribeca? It’s Harlem: buy now and you will thank me."
- "Harlem is getting a tech-led makeover, thanks to a new series of economic development initiatives aimed at combating the neighborhood's infamous high unemployment rates and widespread poverty."
- "Blue-collar retirees are watching their neighborhood, once crime-infested and poverty-stricken, being reborn and rechristened as money-hungry real estate investors mine for gold in the pocket between W. 125th St. and W. 150th St."
- "Harlem is facing another wave of gentrification, which will push prices up further than the current median."
- "Call it the Whole Foods Factor. The organic grocery has the power to remake neighborhoods, and it’s planning a new location at Lenox Ave. and 125th St."
- "That will add to a bevy of bars and restaurants that have opened up in the last few years, like Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster and the 11 commercial banks on 125th Street from Lenox Ave to Morningside Ave. Some of the other retail giants following Whole Foods is H&M and Forever 21."
11 banks! And, ooh look! There's an Olive Garden, too!