Gentrification and Controversy in the Bronx

Forty years ago, the Bronx was burning. But now gentrification is well underway, and one big developer is encountering pushback. Holding a "Bronx is burning" promo event probably didn't help.
August 19, 2017, 11am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Ajay Tallam

The Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven has become a focal point for the gentrification debate as developer Keith Rubenstein moves ahead with plans to build "seven new residential towers on the waterfront: about 1,400 luxury apartments with panoramic views of Manhattan, plus swimming pools, gyms, a dog spa, music studio, an art studio, and a new waterfront park open to the public."

Rubenstein has been under fire for holding an off-color event that referenced the area's troubled past. Jessica Gould writes, "as a promotion, he hosted a star-studded party, with a 'Bronx is burning theme,' with flaming trash cans and a car with bullet holes as decor." 

As small local landlords get inundated with million-plus offers, Rubenstein is offering concessions to those who are staying put. "Rubenstein said he's listened to residents, he's apologized to anyone offended by the Piano District branding and the party, and he's trying to do right by the community."

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Published on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 in NPR Cities Project
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