Tracking the Hyper-Gentrification of the West Side

(CNUNYC) John Massengale, August 28, 2022

Neither the book nor Gina Bellifante’s review are new, but both bear rereading.

QUOTE: In the comparatively quaint days of the 1980s and ’90s, gentrification referred to the ways in which neighborhoods changed at the hands of largely well-meaning renovators who slowly remade their brownstones. Today we have “hyper-gentrification,” something far more insidious, and this is what concerns Moss most — the complicity between municipal government and big private money to reconfigure whole sections of a city, with dubious consequences, chief among them the ceding of space, goods and social currency from the ordinary classes to the ruling order.

The phenomenon is best exemplified in the upending of the far West Side of Manhattan from Midtown on down, which Moss chronicles in rich, methodical detail. Twelve years ago, with the support of those who backed the High Line, the elevated rail track turned into a glistening public park (and a model for abandoned industrial land around the country), the city allowed property owners along the route to sell air rights. Those developers who paid for certain amenities to the park could build their towers even higher. Small businesses disappeared; ultraluxury condominiums followed, in some cases directly adjacent to public housing complexes whose residents lost many of the stores that serviced them. But the city’s mission was accomplished: a corridor to Hudson Yards, an entirely manufactured, high-end science-fiction neighborhood just north and under construction — “the cold artificial heart of new New York,” as he calls it — was established.

Source: Gina Bellifante’s review of Tracking the Hyper-Gentrification of the West Side