Disclaimer: This image is sourced from CityLab.com, and was not created or provided for by the author of this blog. The title of the article that provided this image is “Mapping the Modern Transformation of New York City”, written by Andrew Small. Follow this link to read the original article: https://bit.ly/2urXMC8
The above image is a map depicting a birds-eye-view of the changing landscape in New York City sub boroughs based on race. The different colors on the map represent areas where different race groups were the fastest growing residents. Purple represents the Asian resident population, Yellow represents Hispanics, Green represents Blacks, and Blue represents Whites. On the link I provided above the maps are interactive and it’s really interesting to see the changing landscape over several years.
It’s important to say that this map means nothing to the naked eye, and that even when it’s explained and analyzed it doesn’t really mean much to someone looking in from the outside. However, to someone looking in who understands the history of this rapidly changing landscape, this map is more than a few colors on a blank board. I made a post earlier about an organization I’ve recently started to volunteer with called the “Harlem One Stop” group, which focuses on the preservation of culture and history house in Harlem-Washington Heights-Inwood. The purpose of the organization is to generate income for these low-income neighborhoods by generating traffic and tourism in the community. They seek to preserve the little pieces of history that are erased by gentrification. Harlem and Washington Heights have historically been predominantly Jewish, White, Black and Hispanic neighborhoods throughout the decades. Each of these communities has left a piece of history behind them, and it’s important to recognize what a displacement of current residents and a shift in demographics can do to such a wealth of history and culture.
Harlem isn’t just another trendy neighborhood, and New York City isn’t cool because it’s shiny and tall. New York City was made what it is today by the very people who can’t afford to live here anymore. This map is a perfect depiction of that.
Here’s to Harlem One Stop to keep killing the game, and bringing the history that’s written in the walls, to the people who ordinarily wouldn’t bother to see it.