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Fun Conspiracy Theory: Forced Gentrification of Harlem Through Popular Media

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posted on Jul, 5 2008 @ 09:25 AM
I've been living in Harlem, New York City for two years now. I live there because it is the cheapest place to live in Manhattan...for good reason. Though it is a neighborhood rich in culture and history, it has not met up to my standards in the area of quality of life. There is still a lot of poverty and welfare project housing in Harlem, and the neighborhood is far from being glamourous or clean..I was actually thinking about moving back to the East Village, though it costs a fortune to live there now, it would be worth it because of the cultural diversity and plethora of entertainment spots and restaurants.

But lately I've been seeing a subtle shift of attention to upper Manhattan in movies and in the media, which makes me wonder if I should think about leaving Harlem at all. About a month ago, the US premiere of the summer blockbuster "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was held at the Harlem Magic Johnson AMC Movie Theater in Harlem. This was a real shocker to me, because I don't believe any major movie has had a premiere in that neighborhood. All of the stars, including Harrison Ford, came to Harlem for the premiere. Out of all of the places in New York City to have a movie premiere, I could not help but wonder "Why Harlem?"

Then, yesterday I went to see the movie "The Incredible Hulk". Turns out that the climatic battle scene between Hulk and his nemisis The Abomination takes place on 125th Street in Harlem! The character General Ross even comments on this, commanding Army forces to send helicopters to Harlem to take out the monster. Why Harlem?

Just a little background info: Over the last few years, there has been a struggle in this neighborhood. A lot of the people in Harlem do not have a lot of money, and many are living in Section 8 housing. There has been a lot of new development of buildings and condominiums in the area to attract people of a higher economic class. There is a war going on here to protect the current residents from being pushed out of their neighborhood. You can see it every day in flyers stapled to street poles. And you can see buildings being built, local stores going out of business.

The scenes in the movie "The Incredible Hulk" that show the Apollo Theater in the background only accurately portray the Apollo Theater...Everything else around the Apollo Theater in the scenes is fake, not accurate to how 125th Street actually looks. Most of the street is run down and about to be renovated.

I wonder if there is a concerted effort to attract attention to Harlem to make it the next Midtown Manhattan. This would actualy suit me well, because in my rent controlled apartment, I only pay $1000 a month for rent...If my neighborhood becomes better, and I stay in this apartment in Harlem, with Rent Stabilization, I will be soon living in a really hot neighborhood and paying very little in rent by Manhattan standards!!!

Don't get me wrong. It would be a shame if all of the people in Harlem, who have had family there for generations, had to up and move...But it looks like many people with power want them to go. I want to know if anyone else notices the subtle media influence regarding this. I think only New Yorkers would understand.

Any ATS members from New York City, please share your thoughts!


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