On Those Who Live in a Gentrified Neighborhood and Like To Hold Forth on the Perils of Gentrification

04Oct07

Thank you so very much for your keen insight and generosity, your willingness to come all the way up here to protect us! Your words have been so reassuring; we feel so much better knowing that you will do everything in your power — including next week’s important meeting with the mayor — to prevent any form of gentrification from taking hold: we shudder to think of the loss of neighborhood “character” you have described, the horrible influx of obsessive-compulsive gardeners and opera queens who can be expected to descend upon the streets of Washington Heights like a plague of locusts. (And you’re right: we’ve already seen a few parading up and down Broadway; as if they have any right to be here.) On a more personal note, how you must suffer, living on the Upper West Side in your rent-stabilized classic six amid such a nauseating array of restored townhouses and apartment palaces situated on curving and quiet tree-lined streets, just steps away from Riverside Park to the west and Pan Asian restaurants and gourmet delis to the east. But rest assured that your years of sacrifice will not be in vain; you have done so much to bring the local community together! We don’t know a single person in Washington Heights whose skin doesn’t crawl at the thought of sterile (we like your term for it: Teutonic) sidewalks — no dealers, no rats, not even a chicken bone in sight — and a dead night bereft of stereos and fire crackers, filled with nothing but the occasional rustle of leaves and the lonely click of heels passing under an open window.

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