Yet another glitzy piece about the East Village appeared in the New York Times Real Estate section last week. (I guess if I don’t like it I should stop reading it but sometimes it’s hard to stop.)
In the center of a block by block puff piece abut East 7th Street from Cooper Square to Avenue D stands a quote from “gastro-star” Sara Jenkins, who operates a 60 seat restaurant nearby (“It was a nice little space with a nice little rent…”). Summing up the street Jenkins says, ““I’m comfortable in the East Village. It’s a delicate balance between gentrification and losing it all — Seventh Street has managed the line.”
This is classic head in the sand rhetoric that typifies gentrifier rationalization. What does she mean by “losing it all”? I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know either. If it is meant to signify the opposite of the gentrification process, then the statement is at minimum offensive – are non-gentrified seventh street residents lost or close to lost? And in what sense? The entitlement in the phrase is shocking – but again that is the whole insidious tone of the NYT Real Estate Section.
At least Yonatan Israel, a filmmaker from Paris who bought a 3,864-square-foot red brick town house on Seventh Street for $2.5 million in 2005 brings a more nuanced quote to the table when describing the neighborhood: “We’re definitely gentrifiers, but there’s still diversity.”