NYC: A City for Everyone

Who does New York City belong to?

New York City has always been viewed as a place of opportunity. It was this belief that attracted people from all around the world to pick up everything they had for a chance to have a better life. In current times, however, this belief has been exploited by the wealthy elites. They see New York City as an opportunity to display and grow their wealth, but don’t see, or at least don’t care, about the effects this has on everyone else. They want to the city to be a place for them, stripping New York City of the one belief that has made it the powerful melting pot it is. They care about the growth of economic value, but what about the growth of human value? Once an area of mostly undeveloped land and farms, the belief that New York City would provide opportunity allowed it to grow, so how can we believe we can continue to grow once that belief is gone?

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ITF Post: The Rise and Fall of New York City?

Here’s a collection of links organized around the history of New York examined as a way to understand its present and future status. The links include essays, multimedia, book reviews, and maps for you to consider in relation to the material covered this semester. Seminar texts, discussions, and projects have led you to the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid. This course has focused on accruing new information, assimilating and applying that information through class requirements (participating in class discussion, researching a topic about New York City, writing eportfolio posts, creating and presenting work to a group), and through these processes, the information has turned to knowledge. How might you analyze or evaluate the sources linked below? What did info or skills did you develop that helps you understand these sources and link to the broader themes of our seminar?


Joan Didion, “Goodbye To All That” (1967)

Zadie Smith, “Find Your Beach,” New York Review of Books (October 23, 2014)

E.B. White, “This Is New York,” (1949)

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ITF Post: Links for Week of March 26

Need inspiration for your posts? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back!

First: Why not argue for the superiority of Liza Minnelli’s “New York, New York” compared to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”? (ITF Note: I am dead serious about this! Liza 4Ever!) 

WNYC, “History of Zoning” with Brian Lehrer: “The first zoning laws were created in New York City 101 years ago. Mike Wallace, distinguished professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History and author of Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919 (The History of NYC Series), and Jenny Schuetz, Brookings Institution fellow, talk about how zoning changed the shape and power structure of the city.”

Click for more links including a movie about why LA wants to be NYC (duh) and info about the documentary “If These Knishes Could Talk”!

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Gentrification: Do The Poor Really Get Poorer?

As all the authors’ works have presented this week, gentrification is a robust term used to define many phenomena presented together when a neighborhood is undergoing change due to influx of value. This value, whether attached to property or economics, significantly changes the current residents’ state of lives and how they face those challenges affects their future as well in the neighborhood, and their chance of living elsewhere. As discussed in Filip Stabrowski’s work New-Build Gentrification and the Everyday Displacement of Polish Immigrant Tenants in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the topic of gentrification is nothing new to residents of big cities like New York City. As paralleled throughout the city’s history, local residents protested and local organizations were given funds to protect those residents’ rights, but nothing could contain the rapid change the neighborhood undergone and the residents that were displaced because of it (794).

Despite these strong evidences, such as Polish immigrants even having to leave the country, Jacob Vigdor in Does Gentrification Harm The Poor? mentions that the analysis provided for gentrification proves that residential displacement “is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for declines in the living standards of poor households.” This may be true if the Polish immigrants who have returned to their homeland are financially more stable than they were in the United States, and it may be false for the other Polish immigrants who look for housing elsewhere with cheaper rent, but more spending for the cost of living. In other words, this analysis may be inclusive, it is dependent on each displaced individual and the surrounding factors of their households. Kathy Newman and Elvin K. Wily analyzes the extent of gentrification for the past two decades in New York City and found that about 11,651 people were displaced per year between 1999 and 2002, and surely the numbers have gone higher since then. As provided by “Governing”, only 9% of the New York City was gentrified overall between 1990 and 2000 but since then 29.8% of the city has been gentrified.

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Rezoning Leads to Displacement

New York City was a place that allowed for immigrants to have opportunities to live and work in freedom, but now, because of gentrification, these freedoms are being taken away.  Having a place to love provides a feeling of “agency, freedom, and security” (Stabrowski 814). The freedom to live where you want also allows for a sense of belonging. Polish people who lived in Greenpoint lived there because it was somewhere they could afford but also because it was a place where they would be surrounded with people like them and people they know. As the area got rezones, “American” people wanted to move in. This made the Polish people of Greenpoint uncomfortable. Before, they rented apartments to people they knew and trusted, but then they were forced to rent to and live with people whose culture they didn’t understand and who they were not able to communicate well with.

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Fight Gentrification With Local Mobilization

Gentrification has become a force to be reckoned with, as it spreads unhindered across not only New York, but also many other cities, nationally and globally. The process causes the displacement of low income residents in favor of higher income residents who can afford large increases in rent pricing. This residential displacement, along with “increasing demolition, affordable housing problems, and market failure,” all work as strategies to further “renewal” and gentrification, especially the residential displacement, which has become one of the “primary dangers” for those concerned by how the market has become structured to exclude lower income residents (Newman and Wily 27). The increasing prices of living in gentrified neighborhoods exposes the population benefitting most from the process at the expense of those who cannot afford them, creating a very efficient mask that looks like progress and improvement on the outside, but hides, underneath, the utilization of income inequality to choose who has access to these improvements.

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Williamsburg: The Cooler Manhattan

Brooklyn used to be a place for immigrants and factories. Rent was cheap and people lived in neighborhoods with other people like them. At the same time, Manhattan was rapidly changing and becoming more expensive. People from the “creative class” like writers and and artists wanted to find a cheaper place to live, so they moved to Williamsburg. This neighborhood quickly changed to become a place where white, “cultural” people wanted to move to. The industries changed from factories and local shops that were once there to vintage clothing stores, restaurants, bars, and clubs. As the creative class started noticing how “cool” Williamsburg was becoming, they started moving in and rents increased. Private developers and public officials didn’t intervene, allowing for rents to soar, and the people originally living there were forced to leave.

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ITF Post: How to add footnotes to your posts

After reading everyone’s latest posts, it occurred to me that there’s a simple way to add citations to your posts: the plugin FD Footnotes. I’ve activated FD Footnotes and now you can easily add footnotes to your posts.

Why is this important? 1. Published posts instantly appear more streamlined; 2. As a result, the reader focuses on your ideas and you’re still properly citing your sources. 3. Learning how to adapt academic writing conventions to digital formats develops your ability to write for different platforms and audiences.1

Read on for very easy instructions + screen recording that I made to show you how to do it!

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  1. Alexis Carrozza, ITF for your seminar.

Understanding Cities: New York

The relationship between public-private partnerships are most certainly not as equal as the title implies, but they are certainly useful. In The Naked City by Sharon Zurkin, Zurkin analyzes this relationship relation to Union Square Park in New York City and various other projects done by these organizations in the history of the public. These ‘public’ spaces which she mentions are not very public at all, are owned by Business Improvement Districts (BID) and Local Development Corporations (LDC). These organizations take care of the public’s safety by putting watchful officers on watch, staff to clean up the park and keep the homeless away, mostly provided by the city government (127). As mentioned by Zukin, the image of all different kinds of people meeting in a public place such as Union Square appeals to the city, and not to the picturesque sidewalk as envisioned by Jane Jacobs, whose work was previously analyzed. The idea that public spaces are owned by private trusts indeed do betray the public’s trust (128). Being privately owned implies that the public truly do not have a say about what occurs on the space as they believe they do and isn’t a safe haven.

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