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-   -   Tourism in East Harlem (http://www.east-harlem.com/forum/showthread.php?t=183)

Jose 10-30-2003 08:36 PM

Tourism in East Harlem
The following article appeared in October 30, 2003 edition of Siempre, East Harlem's community newspaper and written by Mr. Hector M. Santana, Jr.

East Harlem has much to offer in the areas of culture history, and the arts. However, only a small number of people, aside from residents, know about El Barrio's treasures and rich history.

As the community, strives to be competitive in the larger economic picture, more options are being explored for their potential to create jobs and spur economic growth. One of the options with the greatest potential is tourism.

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in New York City, with a substantial proportion of those tourism dollars being spent less than three miles away from East Harlem. However, even with the presence of two major institutions and a myriad of cultural and arts organizations, we have been unable to tap into this thriving industry.

Harlem has increased its tourism efforts and contributed substantially to its local economy with tourism dollars. Washington Heights is rallying around several destinations to attract a growing number of visitors and improve its local economy.

A recent study by NYC & Company and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone determined that tourism dollars spent annually by visitors was $54 million, creating and maintaining nearly 800 jobs for the local community and strengthening local community-based cultural and arts organizations. Moreover, organizations catering to tourists spent $32 million on industry related expenditures, including $9 million on capital improvements.

This activity generated $4.36 million per year in tax revenues and contributed toward a total of $167 million in Upper Manhattan operational and capital spending by Upper Manhattan institutions in the tourism area.

With two major museums, a cultural center, a thriving art scene, significant historical and architectural sites, and a host of shops and restaurants, East Harlem is poised to increase its share of revenue from the tourism industry. A new effort led by the State of New York is underway to implement the East Harlem Tourism Initiative, a project designed to market El Barrio's cultural, historical, and artistic significance to the local, national, and international tourist markets.

The newly created East Harlem Board of Tourism will focus on the business of tourism development, while channeling the efforts of cultural, historical, and business organizations into a marketing campaign utilizing advertising, literature distribution, and special events to drum up tourism dollars that will create more jobs and a stronger local economy.

Members of the group include El Museo del Barrio, the Museum of the City of New York, El Taller Boricua, Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, East Harlem Chamber of Commerce, Community Board #11 and Banco Popular, among other notable community leaders and arts organizations.

Together these organizations have forged a three-year plan that will develop a series of tourism corridors.

In tandem with the development of three tourist corridors on 106th, 116th and 125th streets, the State of New York, through Empire State Development, will also implement a variety of initiatives aimed at business development and infrastructure improvement.

Discussions are underway between Empire State Development and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone to secure funding to upgrade the aesthetic value of 106th Street through a series of improvements that include street lighting, banners, store front improvements and side walk/street resurfacing.

The success of the East Harlem Board of Tourism initiative will require more than hard work and good ideas. The key is collaboration. The residents and businesses in East Harlem must rally around the initiative. Only that way will everyone in the community benefit.

About the writer: Hector M. Santana, Jr. is the Director of the East Harlem Community Network Office of the Empire State Development located at 2249 Second Avenue - Suite G, NY, NY 10029 and can be reached at 212-987-9202.

Jibaro 11-14-2003 05:17 PM

East Harlem On The Rise?

By Ron Howell
Staff Writer

November 8, 2003, 9:43 PM EST

Across the street from an East Harlem drug treatment program, developers are planning to build a $190-million Courtyard by Marriott hotel they hope will draw Fortune 500 businesses and tourists.

It's a sure sign, some say, that East Harlem is on the rise.

"In my opinion, this is an entry point into Manhattan," said one of the developers, Michael Caridi, speaking of the 29-story hotel he said would be completed within two years.

Across the street from the site, he noted, is the recently renovated 125th Street Metro-North rail station.

Caridi likes to say the new Marriott would be the first hotel in Harlem since the Theresa closed in 1966.

But a little peripatetic research shows that claim should be modified. Just to the east of the vacant lot where Marriott plans to build on the other side of Park Avenue is the Park Avenue Hotel, where guests, often in pairs, rent rooms at $40 for six hours.

Just to the north of the planned hotel, across East 125th Street, is the Covenant House drug treatment program.

Some neighborhood residents fear the new Marriott will drive up rents and force many to find cheaper housing elsewhere. But many hail the announcement, hoping it will signal a continuing revival for the area.

"The entire area is changing drastically, and I think for the better," said Jose Carrero, who manages La Marqueta shopping center 10 blocks to the south for the city's Economic Development Corporation.

Statistics from the local community board show that more whites have been moving into East Harlem along with Mexicans and other immigrants.

What's more, a significant number of Puerto Rican professionals, like Carrero who grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn have been flocking there in a kind of cultural return to their roots.

Christopher Bell, who wrote a book titled "East Harlem" (published this year by Arcadia press), said the area is often overshadowed by the largely black community of West Harlem.

"East Harlem has its own separate identity," he said. "Every nationality and race has lived there. In the future I see an emerging East Harlem that is more upper-middle class, where people are working and owning their properties and taking pride in their community and everything that it has represented."

Newsday, Inc.

Jose 11-18-2003 11:11 AM

Thanks for the info Jibaro.

LSRA 11-24-2003 09:11 PM

It should be stated that although all the cultures have lived in East Harlem at one time or another there was always space and place for those less fortunate and on fixed incomes. The Italians, Jews and Irish who apparently had an easier assimilation process accomodated their own less fortunate.

We have also worked hard and tried not to forget those who were just starting out and could not make ends meet. I am sure the Mexicans and Africans immigrants have a soft spot in their hearts for the less fortunate amongst them.

In the last couple of years their has been a coldness of attitude among many Puerto Ricans and African American in our community; favoring any type of development and gentrification without any concern for those that want to remain and cannot afford to live in East Harlem.

Maybe it just me. Hell why should we look out for our less fortunate. They had the same opportunities we had. Why should we be concerned with entitlements and benefits for those individuals?

Jibaro 12-02-2003 06:27 PM

Originally posted by LSRA

Maybe it just me. Hell why should we look out for our less fortunate. They had the same opportunities we had. Why should we be concerned with entitlements and benefits for those individuals?

Why should we NOT look out for our less fortunate?
Why should we NOT be concerned with the entitlements and benefits of those individuals?

LSRA 12-02-2003 09:24 PM

Ok Jibaro

I am pleased that you are concerned about the less fortunate. I thought maybe I was the only one considering the plight of the poor. You know what is even more incredible Harlem Hospital has fired or cut down the hours of 16 MDs most of them have work in Harlem Hospital over 10years. The reason for the firing is that Columbia University an affiliate of Harlem Hospital and HCC needs a couple of extra 100 thousand dollars to continue to buy up land in Harlem and East Harlem. Jibaro we get in both ends. Thanks for biting....East Harlem On Line needs to wake up...


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