Harlem residents, entertainment venues and small business owners are in trouble. They are being priced out of homes and businesses because of area redevelopment.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. I figured that would be in the works when the Clintons moved into the city. People thought it was great that the Clintons were so ‘down’ and weren’t worried about moving into Harlem.

I thought, “Uh-oh… there goes the neighborhood.”

Gentrification of major cities is nothing new. It’s happened and has been happing in major cities all over the country – in Boston, Atlanta and Houston to name a few. Home sales are down as the housing market takes a nosedive, but upscale, inner-city neighborhoods are bustling right now.

Have you noticed any of the signs in your area? Tons of townhouses are being built in place of apartment communities or single homes. Lots of open fields and rows of trees are being uprooted as signs go up that read: “$500,000 condos coming soon!”

125th Street in Harlem is now feeling the crunch. Big business developers and city planners want the area redeveloped. But Harlem locals know what that means – some won’t be able to pay the skyrocketing prices and will be forced out of their homes and businesses as they watch the city lose its history.

Harlem, and 125th street in particular, is the connector for uptown Manhattan to the East River. 125th street cuts right across that area. For those who are not familiar with Harlem or 125th street, it’s a Mecca of sorts for Black American culture.

125th street has hosted legends and legendary events. Malcolm X used to roam the streets of Harlem, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes and countless other entertainers have performed at the famous Apollo Theatre.

To date, there are plans to rezone the area allowing the construction of new for shops and living spaces. The plans include 2,500 condominium-style apartments, hotels, a 21-storey office building and possibly a facility for a baseball team.

With all that said, Harlem natives have a right to be worried about the place they call home.

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