Gentrification Has Finally Reached ‘The Boogie’

The Bronx is changing. It’s only natural in the city with a population of 8.63 million. The once deserted borough is being rapidly replenished in a way that is very different from the rest, it’s more than just a handful of Starbucks appearing on our streets. With the rise of gentrifying neighborhoods, a common thought from long-time residents is, in addition to causing prices to rise newcomers have a different sensibility to the neighborhood and its history. But many new initiatives in the borough are from Bronx natives who are demonstrating a generational shift in mentality to the meaning of change. These new initiatives are targeted to help revitalize a borough that has been crying out for help for many decades.

Watch out Yankee Stadium, by the year 2023 these three projects below might steal some of your shine!

Universal Hip-Hop Museum:

This up-and-coming development is rising along the Harlem River, right in the birthplace of hip-hop. The museum will take up 50,000 square feet of mixed-use space enclosed in a public park, and multiple affordable housing units. Its mission is to use virtual and augmented reality to connect its visitors to the past, present, and future of hip-hop. But the site itself has an aim to become an educational hub to inspire not only the youth through music but to use the ecological surrounding of the site to educate about the city’s waterfront rehabilitation through programs like CityScience and Billion Oysters Project.

Bronx Music Hall:

The development, located in Melrose Commons, will house a 14,000 square foot music hall that will include a performance area, classroom and rehearsal space, gallery space for temporary or traveling exhibitions, and an outdoor plaza for performances. The music hall is meant to give residents and visitors a chance to experience and afford shows close to home and try to create a positive environment for the youth. This project will also include 305 units of affordable housing targeted to help families living in city shelters.

Kingsbridge Armory:

Built in 1910, this armory served as military training facility all throughout WWII, and as a temporary meeting place until the main United Nations building was finished. Designated as a city landmark in 1974, over the last 30 years this building has been condemned. It was not until 2013 when Deutsche Bank along with Citibank, proposed creating the world’s largest indoor ice skating rinks along with some commercial space. It’s been six years since this proposal came to light, but the lack of funds and government approval have kept the armory untouched and fenced in. A community that lacks schools, in my opinion, should think more carefully before placing 750,000 square feet of ice skating rinks into a community that is begging for more. 

As new building typologies continue to be introduced to the borough, residents of the Bronx no longer have to take the subway downtown to take advantage of certain programs, activities, events, or shopping experiences. In addition, it’s good to see how mixed-use spaces are helping to combat the high rate of homelessness, and are encouraging small business owners to remain open. But, overall, these new building typologies help to educate the youth who live in a thriving culture that needs a well-deserved face-lift.

Lisa Angulo, Designer