If there's one thing a gentrifier loves, it's expensive coffee made by a guy with a beard. If there's another thing, it's a cocktail made by a guy dressed like he's in the 1920s. A third thing? That's easy: Ignoring the Good Book, and therein lies the problem up in Harlem. The neighborhood may still be the land of a thousand churches, but the Times reports that the changes to Harlem in recent years are putting a hurt on the houses of worship. The big, historic churches are hanging in, the paper writes, and have even "fueled the demographic and economic transformation and resurgence of the neighborhood" thanks to their development arms. It's the little guys that are struggling to stay afloat as the condos and boutique hotels arrive:
The gentrification of Harlem has helped deplete their ranks, as younger residents, black and white, have arrived but not taken up places in their pews. Longtime Harlem families, either cashing in on the real estate boom over the past decade or simply opting to head south for their retirement, have left the neighborhood and its churches. Then there are the deaths, as year by year, whole age bands are chipped away.OK, so the Grim Reaper is also partly to blame. Hey, that's a good Halloween costume idea for Harlem luxury condo buyers looking to be extra insensitive about the neighborhood's rapid changes.
· Some Harlem Churches in Fight for Survival [NYT]