Wednesday, January 8, 2014

☞ DWELL: Is FDB in South Harlem Gentrified?

Back in 2010 all of the papers were predicting a crash in the market and that Frederick Douglass Boulevard/8th Avenue might be one of the fringe areas that would lose out for developers.  In the past couple of weeks, the local media has been touting the revival of the Harlem's most commercial corridor between 110th and 125th Street so does that mean FDB has been gentrified?

Our third ranked neighborhood in Harlem for 2013 has the highest restaurant density that caters to the new middle class and all of the condos have sold out over the years but the revival of 8th Avenue looks a lot different from other parts of New York City.  Gentrification downtown or Brooklyn pretty much means a demographic that is mostly white but this section of South Harlem is still probably just under 20 percent of that said group.  There is a middle class African American population that is returning to Harlem and a large West African community in the area so the diversity of FDB still has been retained.  Europeans also call the area home and walking down the strip has become more of a global experience in the past years versus a singular definition of what gentrification is supposed to be.

Read more about the FDB corridor in our past post: LINK


  1. Gentrification in its broadest sense just means wealthier people moving into an urban neighborhood, and the term was first used to apply to working class inner neighborhoods in London in the 1960s, where wealthier white people moved and displaced poorer white people.

    So yes, of course the lower FDB corridor is gentrified. In the 80s and 90s it was full of vacant lots and burned-out shells, which provided the opportunity to build new construction aimed at a diverse group of newcomers-- white, black, and international people either attracted to the culture of Harlem and/or looking for "more space" or affordable amenities above the UWS-- while the demographics of that part of Harlem had been almost exclusively African-American for the prior 50-some years due to redlining, white flight, and racism in the real estate market.

    It doesn't really make sense to think of gentrification as having any uniform racial component. The poorer people who lived in the West Village before it was gentrified were mostly white, including a large Italian community, and the wealthy people living there now are mostly white.

  2. In the case of FDB, displacement is not why the area grew. Empty lots had new construction built on them and many of the abandoned old buildings became affordable housing. A population arrived back to a neighborhood that was formerly desolate.

  3. Out of all the neighborhoods of Harlem, lower FDB has undergone the most dramatic changes and is virtually unrecognizable. With it’s many new restaurants, diversity and canyon of condos, FDB now seems for better or worse, more Upper West Side and less Harlem.

  4. I would say if any part of Harlem qualifies as now gentrified, then it must be lower FDB.

  5. This neighborhood is a gem. Surrounded by parks on two sides, broad sidewalks, easy transportation, less traffic, friendly neighbors, low rise buildings, restored housing stock and excellent retail/restaurants there are few areas that can compete. I am just sorry the word is getting out!