South Bronx to Become the ‘Piano District’

El Mundo | Imani Lee | November 11, 2015

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Gentrification in New York City has taken a new turn as developers claim the South Bronx waterfront as the site for their new project. Developers have taken the waterfront between 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Ave in order to build two 25-story towers with 1,600 apartment and retail spaces. After the completion of the two structures, they plan to continue expansion beyond their currently proposed construction. The project will cost up to $400 million and permits have yet to be filed. Kieth Rubenstein has been referring to this area as “The Next [Insert Brooklyn Neighborhood Here]” and “The Piano District”.


The developers have taken it upon themselves to rename this area of the South Bronx and transform it into a new and trendy “Brooklyn-type” area.  Renaming the area and adding “trendy” new features may help to overcome some of the stigma of the area and to attract more tourism and revenue. Adding to the list of new features in the area is a new “hotel hub”. Hotel chains are taking up property spaces in South Bronx offering people hotel rooms for a fraction of the cost compared to prices in the heart of NYC. Two of the hotels are already completed, while two more are still under construction. But, travelers are still skeptical about staying in the area due to its past reputation.

“One woman arrived at the front desk sobbing, he recalled, after her taxi driver told her she was crazy to stay in the Bronx, warning her she could get robbed or murdered. When Quiz saw she was distraught, he urged her to give the neighborhood a chance and stay for at least one night.”

“The Bronx has everything people could ever want in Manhattan, for half the price,” said Lenny Caro, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

Yet, to accomplish these goals, the developers will have to push the neighborhood’s original residents out of the area. As new-age apartments are built, the cost of living in the neighborhood will raise above the original cost in the neighborhood. Fortunately, Signature Urban Properties has also taken up a project  in the area to include affordable housing complexes, which could definitely help the original residents.

Personally, as a witness to the constant gentrification here in D.C., I worry about the lower-class residents being pushed out to accommodate the upper-class folk looking for another “trendy” borough to hang out in. As long as there is new, affordable housing projects being built to accommodate the original residents, I’m excited to see the area being developed for the sake of more revenue and tourism for the borough itself. Yet, I can’t help but to remain skeptical that the original residents are truly being kept in mind. After all, we all know how greedy the rich can get.