The Latest Barometer of Gentrification: Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaners

"Green", "natural", or "organic" dry cleaning; if you live in TriBeCa or have visited an affluent neighborhood recently, you may have noticed this trend. Elizabeth A. Harris looks at the new sign that "your rent is about to rise."

"Dry cleaners in the United States first began to avoid traditional chemicals and embrace words like 'green,' 'natural' and 'organic' about 15 years ago, and they have since blanketed the affluent sections of Manhattan, from the Upper East Side down to TriBeCa," notes Harris. "In recent years, they have crept farther afield, up to Harlem and out to places like Greenpoint and Bushwick in Brooklyn, joining the head-to-tail butchers and the boutique bike shops as an unofficial marker of gentrification in New York."

“'We’ve gone way beyond organic food, and Starbucks is passé,' Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, said of two prototypical signposts that your rent is about to rise. 'Organic cleaners have become a barometer.'”

"And though a dry cleaner may be more environmentally friendly than his brethren, industry experts say that popular buzzwords like organic' and 'natural' do not tell you anything specific about what is going on your clothes."

“'It’s not coming from the ground,' Alan Spielvogel, the technical director of the National Cleaners Association, said of any alternative solvent that is described as natural. 'It’s a chemical.'”

Full Story: Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaners as a Barometer of Gentrification


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95