Author Richard Price spoke at the New York Times' "Cities for Tomorrow" conference earlier this week. He talked a bit about gentrification in Harlem and "that eternal argument: Is this good for Harlem or bad for Harlem?"
NY Times photo
He said: "The big picture is: Everything that's happening now in Harlem, everything that's being built in Harlem is with someone like me in mind, preferably 30 years younger than me. The born-heres? They're looking around and seeing new restaurants, and high rises going up, and new trees planted, and they know it's not for them. It's like: You're in the way..."
"It's like white people discovered Harlem like Europeans discovered America, and the Indians are going, 'Really? What are we standing on, cream cheese?' ... So whatever's exciting and new is a little bit of a death knell."
He talked about the recent closure of Pathmark and the opening of Whole Foods on 125th Street: "The minute that Whole Foods went up--game over."
And he had some sound advice on how to be a decent neighbor in a gentrifying part of town, including "learn manners" and "patronize businesses that were there a hell of a lot longer than you were." Also: "Be a good guy. Have a heart."
Watch here at minute mark 16:15.