Outside Interests Spell Change for Harlem

An influx of chain stores and new development in Harlem has many residents worried about retaining the historical character of the nation's so-called "African American 'Main-Street.'" Not everybody minds the changes though.

According to a recent article in The Columbia Daily Spectator, concern from residents of Harlem is growing as tourism in the area grows and changes continue to be made through new development. Citywide interest in Harlem, one of the most storied cultural areas in America, has increased since a rezoning plan for the popular main thoroughfare, 125th Street, passed in 2008. The plan aims to promote mixed-use development and strengthen economic development in retail zones along the heavily-traveled corridor.

Katie Bentivoglio of The Spectator writes:

"125th Street has become an international symbol as the sort of African-American 'Main Street,'" Barnard urban studies professor David Smiley said, adding that Harlem could be a victim of its own success."

"Smiley said that, ultimately, Harlem has faced similar challenges and has been able to weather them in the past.

"'Harlem's identity has grown out of its resolution to carry on,' he said. 'It's always found strength given the odds.'"

Full Story: 125th in flux as citywide interest in Harlem grows


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