Blogging the News

Briefing Of Harlem’s History

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Briefing Of Harlem’s History

While my goal is to showcase gentrification of Harlem’s food scene, all aspects of gentrification in Harlem are important. The transformation has been ongoing in recent years, and is visible through the increase of middle class residents, construction of elaborate apartment complexes, and the rise of small businesses that cater to a wealthier clientele. As the “new Harlem” continues to develop, the “old Harlem” is fading away. Preserving the history of this New York City neighborhood is important – which is further explained in the following podcast featuring Arthur Lewin, a professor who specializes in Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College.

Professor Arthur Lewin at Baruch College speaks on his opinions of gentrification in Harlem:


 

“Harlem is the capital of Black America,” professor Lewin said. In the early 1900s thousands of African Americans migrated to Harlem to flee from the highly racist south of the United States. The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic cultural movement that took place in the 1920s. This movement drew in African American artists from all over country to speak up for the rights of black people. Famous authors, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, unleashed works of art that showcased the struggles and inequalities African Americans faced during this period. Activists, including W.E.B du Bois and Marcus Garvey, protested to achieve civil rights during this period as well. Jazz music was also a crucial part of the Harlem Renaissance, and Harlem actually became home to this genre of music during this era. Jazz music was played by a number of famous musicians, including Duke Ellington. When the Great Depression came about in the 1930s, Harlem was tremendously affected, like many other cities in America. People were laid off from their jobs, crime increased and this affected the purpose of the Harlem Renaissance. However, when the Civil Rights Movement took place, Harlem played an important role to many activists who participated in the movement.

Although gentrification is in full effect, and is changing the neighborhood, I believe it is important to know the history of Harlem because it birthed the culture of the neighborhood.

 

Tags: Multimedia Feed · Qs & As

Harlem’s Farm-To-Table Gem

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Harlem’s Farm-To-Table Gem

IMG_1199

The Grange Bar & Eatery entrance.

Roy Henley, owner of The Grange Bar & Eatery, and I engaged in an enlightening conversation at his restaurant. He gave me a brief spiel on the history of Hamilton Heights and how interconnected the theme of the restaurant is with area. He filled me in on everything a customer would want to know about the development of the restaurant, but also everything a resident would want to know about the transforming neighborhood it resides in.

If Harlem residents are looking for organic, farm-to-table eats, look no further than this farmhouse bistro on 141st and Amsterdam. After living in Harlem for many years, Roy and his wife Rita Royer-Henley, believed Hamilton Heights was in need of a space where residents can eat, drink and socialize. On June 6, 2013, all guests were welcomed to celebrate the grand opening of the restaurant.

BeFunky_image1

Owners Roy Henley and Rita Royer-Henley – via Roy H

Our Conversation

Tell me about yourself. Your background, school, where you were raised?

“So I’m originally from Ireland. And I moved to New York in 2001. I was initially just passing through, traveling for a couple of years, and then I started working in the bar industry in New York downtown, Midtown.”

As a bartender?

“Yes, as a bartender. I just kind of fell in love with the city. I moved home again for six months in 2003, but came back in 2004. I continued working in the bar industry as a bartender, I moved up to a manager, and then I moved up to a general manager. Then I opened up a couple of restaurants and bars downtown with a couple of Irish owners, so mostly Irish bars in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.”

Were those pubs?

“Yes, more Irish pubs than anything. So I had a background in beer bars, and then I went into wine bars and cocktail bars. So I had a good background in all of that, and obviously the food came hand in hand with those places. I lived in Harlem in 2006….”

…Which part?

“In this neighborhood, Hamilton Heights. I lived on 150th for a while, I lived on Riverside for a while, now I live on 145th and Bradhurst with my wife. We had seen a void and a need for something in the neighborhood, from a need of our own. We were always going down to Frederick Douglas on 116th, to get something to eat or to socialize, or the Upper Westside, or even further afield. With my background, being in the business, and my wife’s – she worked in liquor and sales, she was a brand ambassador for a rum company – we both wanted to do something, and we kind of stumbled upon this place in March 2012.”

What was this, do you remember?

“The bar area you’re sitting in now was a florist, “Diva’s Flowers.” And the dining area space was a bank. It was vacant for about five or six years, so there was nothing in here. When we initially looked at this space you can see that there was an ATM lobby here, and tellers, cashiers, and stuff behind the bulletproof screening. Further back was pretty bent and in bad repair. There was a lot of water damage towards the back.”

IMG_1195

The columns were once part of the bank that used to reside in this space.

And that’s where the kitchen is?

“Yes, and the private dining room.”

What is the name of the private dining room?

“’The Study.’” We were negotiating for a couple of months. We did heavy negotiations in August 2012, but we signed the lease in September 2012. So once we took over the lease, we completely demoed the whole space because there was nothing in here we could possibly use for a restaurant.”

How long did it take you to build everything?

“It took us eight months. The only thing existing before us are the structural columns. We built the bar area around the columns, which really works, and looks great.”

So what inspired you to do a farm theme?

“Well I’m originally from a farm. I grew up on a farm, so I have a farming background.”

So would you say you were a farmer?

“I would say my family were farmers, I wasn’t much of a farmer. I worked in banking when I grew up.”

Where in Ireland are you from?

“County Waterford. And my wife is actually Dominican.”

Is she from New York?

“She was born in New York, but grew up in DR. Her father was a doctor here in New York… So once we started developing the space, the whole idea revolved around The Grange. When we linked the Grange as an Irish farmhouse with Hamilton Grange down the hill, it tied in perfectly. And with the farm-to-table idea, it went hand in hand with everything.”

Would you say this restaurant preserves the culture of Harlem, or do you think it’s changing the culture?

“I think it preserves the culture. With Hamilton Grange down the hill, it definitely preserves the culture of Hamilton Grange. This area of Hamilton Heights was a farmland. It was where Hamilton Alexander had his farm, so it ties in perfectly with that. And the food we serve also goes perfectly with the theme. A lot of our produce is organic, so is our chicken and beef. When we do private room dining, it’s one hundred percent organic. Our chef goes to the farmer’s market that morning and buys everything for the party that night, then preps and plates the whole menu.”

What kind of crowd would you say the restaurant draws in?

“Anywhere from young professionals, to middle aged older Harlem residents. We have everything here. We have a very mixed crowd, which is great. We wanted to create an atmosphere for everybody. We set the music up in three different zones, so when you walk into the bar area, it’s more of a younger louder area. As you go back into the dining area, you can have a louder conversation because the music is lower.”

IMG_1209

The bar area is located closer to the entrance.

As for my final question; what are your future plans for the restaurant? Do you want it to expand? Where do you see it going?

“I don’t think we’re going it expand per se, but my goal is to have it here for a long time and for it to become a staple part of the neighborhood- and hopefully the neighborhood will build and grow around it. That’s my ultimate goal. We also want more places to open around us, because in my book a healthy neighborhood is a place where bars and restaurants open all over the place and not just one place. We were one of the first in this immediate area, but we want more places to open because that means more people are moving in. I don’t know if I like the word gentrification, but sometimes it happens in a way that it’s achievable, and it’s growing and it’s healthy.”

Tags: Farms · Qs & As · Restaurant

Harlem’s Farm-To-Table Gem

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Harlem’s Farm-To-Table Gem

IMG_1199

The Grange Bar & Eatery entrance.

Roy Henley, owner of The Grange Bar & Eatery, and I engaged in an enlightening conversation at his restaurant. He gave me a brief spiel on the history of Hamilton Heights and how interconnected the theme of the restaurant is with area. He filled me in on everything a customer would want to know about the development of the restaurant, but also everything a resident would want to know about the transforming neighborhood it resides in.

If Harlem residents are looking for organic, farm-to-table eats, look no further than this farmhouse bistro on 141st and Amsterdam. After living in Harlem for many years, Roy and his wife Rita Royer-Henley, believed Hamilton Heights was in need of a space where residents can eat, drink and socialize. On June 6, 2013, all guests were welcomed to celebrate the grand opening of the restaurant.

BeFunky_image1

Owners Roy Henley and Rita Royer-Henley – via Roy H

Our Conversation

Tell me about yourself. Your background, school, where you were raised?

“So I’m originally from Ireland. And I moved to New York in 2001. I was initially just passing through, traveling for a couple of years, and then I started working in the bar industry in New York downtown, Midtown.”

As a bartender?

“Yes, as a bartender. I just kind of fell in love with the city. I moved home again for six months in 2003, but came back in 2004. I continued working in the bar industry as a bartender, I moved up to a manager, and then I moved up to a general manager. Then I opened up a couple of restaurants and bars downtown with a couple of Irish owners, so mostly Irish bars in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.”

Were those pubs?

“Yes, more Irish pubs than anything. So I had a background in beer bars, and then I went into wine bars and cocktail bars. So I had a good background in all of that, and obviously the food came hand in hand with those places. I lived in Harlem in 2006….”

…Which part?

“In this neighborhood, Hamilton Heights. I lived on 150th for a while, I lived on Riverside for a while, now I live on 145th and Bradhurst with my wife. We had seen a void and a need for something in the neighborhood, from a need of our own. We were always going down to Frederick Douglas on 116th, to get something to eat or to socialize, or the Upper Westside, or even further afield. With my background, being in the business, and my wife’s – she worked in liquor and sales, she was a brand ambassador for a rum company – we both wanted to do something, and we kind of stumbled upon this place in March 2012.”

What was this, do you remember?

“The bar area you’re sitting in now was a florist, “Diva’s Flowers.” And the dining area space was a bank. It was vacant for about five or six years, so there was nothing in here. When we initially looked at this space you can see that there was an ATM lobby here, and tellers, cashiers, and stuff behind the bulletproof screening. Further back was pretty bent and in bad repair. There was a lot of water damage towards the back.”

IMG_1195

The columns were once part of the bank that used to reside in this space.

And that’s where the kitchen is?

“Yes, and the private dining room.”

What is the name of the private dining room?

“’The Study.’” We were negotiating for a couple of months. We did heavy negotiations in August 2012, but we signed the lease in September 2012. So once we took over the lease, we completely demoed the whole space because there was nothing in here we could possibly use for a restaurant.”

How long did it take you to build everything?

“It took us eight months. The only thing existing before us are the structural columns. We built the bar area around the columns, which really works, and looks great.”

So what inspired you to do a farm theme?

“Well I’m originally from a farm. I grew up on a farm, so I have a farming background.”

So would you say you were a farmer?

“I would say my family were farmers, I wasn’t much of a farmer. I worked in banking when I grew up.”

Where in Ireland are you from?

“County Waterford. And my wife is actually Dominican.”

Is she from New York?

“She was born in New York, but grew up in DR. Her father was a doctor here in New York… So once we started developing the space, the whole idea revolved around The Grange. When we linked the Grange as an Irish farmhouse with Hamilton Grange down the hill, it tied in perfectly. And with the farm-to-table idea, it went hand in hand with everything.”

Would you say this restaurant preserves the culture of Harlem, or do you think it’s changing the culture?

“I think it preserves the culture. With Hamilton Grange down the hill, it definitely preserves the culture of Hamilton Grange. This area of Hamilton Heights was a farmland. It was where Hamilton Alexander had his farm, so it ties in perfectly with that. And the food we serve also goes perfectly with the theme. A lot of our produce is organic, so is our chicken and beef. When we do private room dining, it’s one hundred percent organic. Our chef goes to the farmer’s market that morning and buys everything for the party that night, then preps and plates the whole menu.”

What kind of crowd would you say the restaurant draws in?

“Anywhere from young professionals, to middle aged older Harlem residents. We have everything here. We have a very mixed crowd, which is great. We wanted to create an atmosphere for everybody. We set the music up in three different zones, so when you walk into the bar area, it’s more of a younger louder area. As you go back into the dining area, you can have a louder conversation because the music is lower.”

IMG_1209

The bar area is located closer to the entrance.

As for my final question; what are your future plans for the restaurant? Do you want it to expand? Where do you see it going?

“I don’t think we’re going it expand per se, but my goal is to have it here for a long time and for it to become a staple part of the neighborhood- and hopefully the neighborhood will build and grow around it. That’s my ultimate goal. We also want more places to open around us, because in my book a healthy neighborhood is a place where bars and restaurants open all over the place and not just one place. We were one of the first in this immediate area, but we want more places to open because that means more people are moving in. I don’t know if I like the word gentrification, but sometimes it happens in a way that it’s achievable, and it’s growing and it’s healthy.”

Tags: Farms · Qs & As · Restaurant

Renaissance On A Plate

October 20th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Renaissance On A Plate

https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/renaissanceonaplate/

 

 

 

Tags: Food · Journalism · Neighborhoods

Blissful Brunch In Harlem

October 7th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Blissful Brunch In Harlem

Trufa store front

Trufa Restaurant’s store front.

Trufa, located on 140th Street and Broadway, is the smallest restaurant I have ever dined at. Despite its size, this Italian/New American eatery plays a huge role in the neighborhood’s budding gentrified restaurant scene. Trufa has taken the place of a restaurant that once offered Mexican eats, and currently serves Italian/New American comfort food; including pressed sandwiches, pasta dishes and burgers. On a Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I entered this “hole in the wall,” and were greeted with a warm welcome from Corey Havens, manager at Trufa. He directed us to our seats, only one foot away from the entrance, and handed us brunch menus.

Trufa has re-introduced itself to residents four years ago, and is one of many new restaurants that have made its way to Harlem. The owners of the old Mexican restaurant are the same owners of the current revamped space. While plates range anywhere from $7 to $21, the refined appearance and tranquil ambience of Trufa says otherwise. “Harlem needs more upscale restaurants like Trufa,” manager Corey stated. In fact, the majority of the people who visit have seemingly left the restaurant satisfied, as reported in most of Trufa’s customer reviews on Yelp.

photo 1 (6)

Soup and desert specials of the day.

Harlem has a rich history, but many of the incoming restaurants are eliminating, rather than preserving, the neighborhood’s historical culture. Many of the new restaurants in Harlem are built to appeal to an upper class demographic, which is why several of the old businesses are undergoing drastic, physical transformations. “The earth tones and cozy look of Trufa attracts ‘other’ types of crowds,” Corey said, “The older restaurants (in the neighborhood) appeal to less socially high class people.”

As a born and raised Harlem native, I can attest the major differences in the neighborhood compared to five years ago. Being able to enjoy a hearty brunch at a restaurant five minutes away from home still shocks me. Prior to visiting Trufa, I searched for a restaurant that would satisfy my huge pumpkin sweet tooth. My boyfriend suggested Trufa, and while I did not look at their menu, I crossed my fingers hoping they would have pumpkin French toast. Unfortunately, the only seasonal pumpkin dish was the “pumpkin gnocchi” – a dish I never came across at any restaurants I have visited in Harlem. Corey, who was also our waiter for the afternoon, sincerely apologized. I opted for the caramelized banana French toast, added a mimosa to my order and left Trufa completely forgetting my pumpkin cravings.

photo 5 (1)

My Sunday brunch meal.

Ten years ago it would have been difficult to find a restaurant in Harlem that offers a standard brunch. Today, there are a number of restaurants in the neighborhood that have brunch menus. Gentrification has made a strong presence in Harlem, and this is visible through the transformation of Mexican fast food restaurants to fancy Italian/New American eateries. Watch out West Village, Harlem is making its way into New York City’s bustling brunch scene.

Tags: Brunch · Dine Time · Food · Restaurant

Blissful Brunch In Harlem

October 7th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Blissful Brunch In Harlem

Trufa store front

Trufa Restaurant’s store front.

Trufa, located on 140th Street and Broadway, is the smallest restaurant I have ever dined at. Despite its size, this Italian/New American eatery plays a huge role in the neighborhood’s budding gentrified restaurant scene. Trufa has taken the place of a restaurant that once offered Mexican eats, and currently serves Italian/New American comfort food; including pressed sandwiches, pasta dishes and burgers. On a Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I entered this “hole in the wall,” and were greeted with a warm welcome from Corey Havens, manager at Trufa. He directed us to our seats, only one foot away from the entrance, and handed us brunch menus.

Trufa has re-introduced itself to residents four years ago, and is one of many new restaurants that have made its way to Harlem. The owners of the old Mexican restaurant are the same owners of the current revamped space. While plates range anywhere from $7 to $21, the refined appearance and tranquil ambience of Trufa says otherwise. “Harlem needs more upscale restaurants like Trufa,” manager Corey stated. In fact, the majority of the people who visit have seemingly left the restaurant satisfied, as reported in most of Trufa’s customer reviews on Yelp.

photo 1 (6)

Soup and desert specials of the day.

Harlem has a rich history, but many of the incoming restaurants are eliminating, rather than preserving, the neighborhood’s historical culture. Many of the new restaurants in Harlem are built to appeal to an upper class demographic, which is why several of the old businesses are undergoing drastic, physical transformations. “The earth tones and cozy look of Trufa attracts ‘other’ types of crowds,” Corey said, “The older restaurants (in the neighborhood) appeal to less socially high class people.”

As a born and raised Harlem native, I can attest the major differences in the neighborhood compared to five years ago. Being able to enjoy a hearty brunch at a restaurant five minutes away from home still shocks me. Prior to visiting Trufa, I searched for a restaurant that would satisfy my huge pumpkin sweet tooth. My boyfriend suggested Trufa, and while I did not look at their menu, I crossed my fingers hoping they would have pumpkin French toast. Unfortunately, the only seasonal pumpkin dish was the “pumpkin gnocchi” – a dish I never came across at any restaurants I have visited in Harlem. Corey, who was also our waiter for the afternoon, sincerely apologized. I opted for the caramelized banana French toast, added a mimosa to my order and left Trufa completely forgetting my pumpkin cravings.

photo 5 (1)

My Sunday brunch meal.

Ten years ago it would have been difficult to find a restaurant in Harlem that offers a standard brunch. Today, there are a number of restaurants in the neighborhood that have brunch menus. Gentrification has made a strong presence in Harlem, and this is visible through the transformation of Mexican fast food restaurants to fancy Italian/New American eateries. Watch out West Village, Harlem is making its way into New York City’s bustling brunch scene.

Tags: Brunch · Dine Time · Food · Restaurant

Renaissance on a Plate- Mission Statement and Editorial Plan

September 25th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Renaissance on a Plate- Mission Statement and Editorial Plan

Mission Statement

Gentrification is a loaded issue because it highlights two matters neighborhoods arguably face; loss of culture and preservation of culture. “Renaissance on a Plate” will address gentrification through the lens of the hospitality industry; restaurants, bars, cafes, and any space where one can grab a bite to eat or a drink to sip.

The village of Harlem, New York City’s historically rich neighborhood, has transformed because gentrification is in full effect. Harlem is home to well-known spaces, including the famous Apollo Theatre and southern soul food kitchen Sylvia’s Restaurant. Cultural movements, such as “The Harlem Renaissance” and “Civil Rights Movement,” shaped Harlem into the neighborhood we all know. But, the residents of this area need to be aware of the rapid changes occurring before their very eyes.

We will examine what happens when corner bodegas transform into trendy bars, and local fried chicken joints are replaced with elaborate Italian bistros. Confronting the residents of Harlem to get their opinions on these changes, interviewing the owners and employees of various businesses, profiling well-known vintage eateries to contrast its newest neighbors- these are a few critical aspects of the blog. Capturing photos and videos of the businesses in the neighborhood will provide readers with visual content to showcase the live occurrences of gentrification. Our posts will be insightful, but will also take on a curious approach when we uncover fresh information. “Renaissance on a Plate” is on a mission to discover whether this transformation caused by gentrification is diminishing or preserving the culture of Harlem.

There are tons of neighborhoods in New York City in the midst of gentrification. News organizations in the city point out blatant political issues that gentrification brings to the surface, but the city lacks the live coverage we feel is necessary when reporting news surrounding this topic. A simple Google search using the keywords “Gentrification News New York City” shows that this topic is not as profoundly exposed as it should be. The articles listed on the first search page are dated, stretching back as far as nine months ago. In addition to the lack of consistent coverage, most of the articles heavily focus on gentrification through the real estate perspective. Real estate is the initial thought that comes to mind when gentrification is the topic of choice, but gentrification is not limited to this one area of focus. . “Renaissance on a Plate” differs in that we want to report the happenings of gentrification as it occurs, specifically through the urban renewal of eateries. We will lightly touch on other layers of gentrification- real estate, demographics, art culture, etc- but our main objective is to maintain our distinctiveness by honing in on the effects of gentrification within the food service industry.

Harlem is our targeted community, so we are initially aiming to connect to local residents while we set out to uncover the primary subject matter. We want to attract Harlem natives- both the young and old generations, people who are new to the area and people who are interested in moving in. It is important to reach people who are familiar with Harlem’s historical background and how the neighborhood has transformed to its present state. We are also aiming to attract experts within the food industry. Those who are familiar with general operational strategies of restaurants and bars will be able to understand why owners make certain decisions for their businesses. We will make use of the most beneficial online platforms that will help us gain a following of readers, and to then connect to those readers. We want our stories and multimedia to be easily accessible to everybody, so we will stream our content through our Twitter and Instagram profiles.

“Renaissance on a Plate” aims to curate content concentrating on our local findings of gentrification in the food and beverage industry. While Harlem is our main area of focus, we are aware of the vast number of neighborhoods in New York City also experiencing gentrification; Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Astoria in Queens are two examples. We believe “Renaissance on a Plate” has the potential to grow and we want to foster an environment that will help it do so, so we will not hesitate to include neighborhoods facing similar issues whenever necessary.

Maintaining an unambiguous objective is important to us, which is why we want to build a solid community of readers to help us communicate our message.

 

Editorial Content Overview

Types of content:

I want to write a mix of posts, some posts will be shorter in length and some will be longer. Some will include multimedia, some will not. I want my posts to be somewhat consistent in content, so I may have reoccurring/themed posts. In some of the longer posts I would focus on interviews or Q&As with restaurant owners, employees, residents of Harlem, experts in sociology, etc. However, if I decide to upload a video of an interview, my posts will be shorter in length.

Reoccurring/Themed Posts Ideas:

-“Qs & As”: Have detailed Q&A interviews with restaurant owners, experts in gentrification, council people, etc. Ask them about their backgrounds, why they chose to have their business in the neighborhood, opinions about gentrification, etc.

-“Meet the Streets”: Interviews with the people of Harlem (new residents, old residents, college students, etc). Ask them for a short background story; how long have they lived in Harlem, where, etc. Then ask them for their opinions on the changes in the neighborhood. Do they think it is good or bad?

-“Old Timers”: Profiling the older businesses in the neighborhood. How/ why are these businesses still around? I will add in additional information from restaurant owners, employees, costumers, etc.

-“Dine Time”: My personal dining experiences at the restaurants in Harlem. Inside access to their menus, venue, employees, etc. I will basically write a review of my experience, and tie it to my thoughts as to whether this fits into the culture of Harlem or if it is completely different.

 

Break down the numbers:                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

-Longer Posts: 500+ words                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

 -Shorter Posts with multimedia: 300- words

 

How frequently would post:                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 -Once a week minimum, twice a week maximum. I will make Thursday or Friday my designated days to post.

 

How much time do you envision it will take to create posts:                                                                                                                                                  

-1-3 hours

 

List of people to interview:                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

-Chef Maruc Samuleson: Owner of Red Rooster

– Melissa Mark-Viverito: NYC Council Speaker and represents District 8 (East Harlem)

-Baruch Black and Latino studies or sociology professors

-Geoffrey Canada: President of Harlem’s Children Zone

-Business Owners in Harlem

 

Description of multimedia good for blog:                                                                                                   

-Photos of businesses in the neighborhood (before and after pictures of the spaces, Photos of decorative business in bad areas, etc)

-Photos of business owners or anybody I interview

-Videos of interviews, live events, etc.

 

Additional ideas:

-Coverage of events: This wouldn’t count as a reoccurring post because events are not ongoing. But if there is some type of restaurant event or festival in Harem, I will be there to cover what is happening. I will capture photos, video, interview people, etc.

-Before and After: Short posts of the businesses that were in a space before and the businesses that are currently there. Include photos in this post as well.

-Post about the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Explain my findings of the Harlem in past, and of anything dealing with gentrification in Harlem.

Tags: Food · Journalism · Neighborhoods · Politics

Crystal Civil’s Blog Ideas

September 15th, 2014 Written by | 5 Comments

I chose topics related to my personal interests. I love restaurant life in NYC. I have a yelp account where I write reviews on my experiences, and most of my experiences are at restaurants. My minor is sociology, and I am also very interested in black and Latino communities in America. Here is what I came up with:

My ideas:

1. Gentrification of restaurants in Harlem: Instead of speaking about gentrification, I want branch off this issue and focus how Harlem’s restaurant scene has been affected by gentrification. I think gentrification in itself does not get a lot of coverage. Maybe because it’s an issue forces want to keep hidden, or maybe it’s because people in the gentrified communities don’t realize the importance of gentrification, but I want to bring this to light in a fun way. I don’t know the type of voice I’d use on my blog because I love the new restaurants and chic businesses in my neighborhood, but I hate that gentrification is taking away from the culture in Harlem. This is something I’d have to brainstorm.

2. “Kids”of Harlem: I’ve noticed a lot of Harlem natives around my age “hustling” to make better lives for themselves. A good portion of the people I grew up with are graduates or enrolled in college, make their own music or clothes, have their own businesses, etc. But some of the people I grew up with are not walking down the same path. Many of these people’s parents and grandparents did not have the same opportunities we have today, and I wanted to address this issue on my blog. Why is this the case for some of us and not all of us? What opportunities do we have in Harlem that affect our future,  both now and then?

Tags: Food · Journalism · Neighborhoods · Politics

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