Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Meanwhile, about 1300 miles up Route 1 from Key West, Manhattan’s Harlem is coming to grips with a variant of a change in “character.” The famous African American section, which has had its ups and downs over the years, is facing a huge new redevelopment. Last week the New York City Planning Commission approved a significant new zoning plan that will facilitate new businesses, apartments, and bigger buildings. Once shunned by the business community south of central park, Harlem is now a magnet for new commercial and residential development, especially on its 125th Street (where, among the Apollo Theater and other famous landmarks, Bill Clinton located his office a few years back). Some fear the loss of what has made Harlem a unique Manhattan neighborhood. Will it become an uptown version of Times Square, which now sometimes looks like an overgrown suburban mall? But according to this story, many stakeholders believe that the plan is good compromise of encouraging new business while preserving Harlem’s identity.