Author Archives: Jonathan Marty

“El Barrio No Se Vende!”: Righteous Uproar at an East Harlem Rezoning Hearing

East Harlem Neighborhood Study Rezoning Proposal
Source: NYC Department of City Planning

At noon on October 11th, a hearing was held at New York City Hall to discuss the proposed rezoning of Manhattan’s East Harlem. The widely controversial plan, which calls for the upzoning of a 96 square block of the neighborhood also known as El Barrio, makes way for an astonishing 122,000 square feet for new restaurants and stores, 275,000 square feet of new industrial and office space, as well as 3,500 new apartment units. Despite ongoing backlash from El Barrio residents who fear that an remodeling of the working class, historically Latino neighborhood would displace longtime residents and destroy the character of the community, the plan was approved by the City Planning Commission nine days before the hearing. 

Naturally, gaggles of protesters waited outside the gates of City Hall prior to the event, many holding signs with slogans like “East Harlem is Not For Sale!” and “Mayor De Blasio, What’s in Your Wallet?” Protesters from groups like the Community Voices Heard (CVH) and the People’s Congress of Resistance made the rounds handing out literature detailing their opposition to the plan. One particularly striking piece featured the headline “TIME TO FIGHT BACK! Federal gov’t lets Puerto Rico starve – NYC gov’t drives Boricuas, poor people out of El Barrio with ‘rezoning’ plan.” Continue reading

The Future of The Hole: New York City’s Most Forlorn Bordertown

Situated in a grim, nondescript corner of the wealthiest city in America, miles away from the shining skyscrapers of Park Avenue and the cocktail parties of Wall Street, there is a place known simply as “The Hole.”

The geographic boundaries of the Hole, from Google Maps
The geographic boundaries of the Hole, from Google Maps

Long known as body dumping ground for mobsters, the Hole lies far below grade level, lacks basic 21st century necessities like plumbing and street drainage, and is scarred by various failed and/or incomplete attempts at development and improvement. In the middle of a rapidly progressing metropolis, the Hole remains a fascinating example of a land that time seems to have forgotten — and one whose attempts to modernize have been fraught with corruption, neglect, and general dysfunction.

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Report on UDL Teach-In: Gentrification

With dramatic shifts like rent hikes, sprawling urban redevelopment, and tenant displacement occurring throughout the world’s cities, the Urban Democracy Lab’s Student Advisory Board hosted a teach-in at the Gallatin student lounge on March 21st pertaining to the topic of gentrification. In order to unpack the term that is so frequently discussed by both academics and urbanites all around the world, the Student Advisory Board hosted a panel featuring NYU Wagner Professor Jewell Jackson McCabe, Gallatin Professor and Urban Democracy Lab Associate Director Becky Amato, and Gallatin Junior Anamika Jain. Aree Worawongwasu of the Urban Democracy Lab Student Advisory Board moderated. Continue reading