Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gentrification in New York's Spanish Harlem 'El Barrio'....Whose Barrio?

Gentrification as defined is the process of renewing and rebuilding an area resulting in higher prices which are unaffordable to those living within that community..mostly poorer residents.

During the 1950's, in what is know as "The Great Migration", many Puerto Ricans made their way from La Isla de Puerto Rico to La Isla de Manhattan. Over 58,000 Puerto Ricans made their way to New York and settled in various neighborhoods from Brooklyn to The Bronx to Manhattan. Some will argue that it was gentrification, in the case of East Harlem during those same years, but looking back there was no renewing nor rebuilding then. Fast forward to today and yes...we have gentrification.

In the documentary, "Whose Barrio?" filmmakers Ed Morales and Laura Rivera bring you to today's' Spanish Harlem and introduce you to several neighborhood residents. Jose Rivera, has lived a lifetime in 'El Barrio' and shares the plight of many others who feel that they are ultimately being priced out of the neighborhood. James Garcia, has just bought a condo across from the projects and finds the neighborhood to be dirty and crime ridden. James Barrow, has no problem with the change but fears the dangers associated with a construction project next door. From the often ignored tenement buildings overseen by multinational real estate developers to the New York City Housing projects to all the newly constructed buildings which include luxury condos and co-ops you can feel the tensions of many within the community. Change is inevitable, but at what cost?

'A must see documentary on the change that is occurring and the different reactions and feelings of those within the community.'


  1. Great post and video, thanks Efrain!

  2. Thank you for the comment and for all your support, Nilki.