Real Estate Interests. No community senseBy Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem - August 28, 2005. As I sit on my stoop and see more and more of the new comers walk about in front of me going from Third Avenue to Second Avenue and from Second Avenue to Third Avenue, I wonder what is to become of my family and me. Real Estate interests (insert greedy and heartless here) looking to make not a living but a killing are hoovering our community looking for “opportunites”. Unfortunately, these opportunities, come at a price. That being a total disregard for the current East Harlem community.
Real Estate interest who worship the “market rate” god and who’s need to make money is equal to or greater than their need to breath. Instead of offering housing to current residents by keeping rents to what the residents can pay, they price everything to four to five times what the average East Harlemite can afford.
Their favorite saying is “Well that’s what it costs, it’s market rate!”. Bullshit. Rents can actually be a fourth of what is being charged. It’s a shame that housing, a very basic human need, is a commodity and in the hands of fools and greedy individuals. I wonder how many of these same people go to church every Sunday and profess a Christian value system, only to diregard it when it comes to real estate?
Little do they care that they are destroying a community and replacing it with one where only the upper middle class can afford to live in it. Our community is being re-populated with people who having no history here and hence have no sense of community here.
Hey Mr/Mrs. Real Estate where are we suppose to live? How do you propose to keep or maintain a sense of community that has taken over 50 years to cultivate? I know that the answer to that question is that you do not care. Because it has nothing to do with money. But how would you like me to disrupt your suburb, golf course, favorite summer and winter home with my lack of concern for it? The possibility exists that this will happen as a way to protest your total lack of caring for our residents. We may see you soon in your home or in front of your restaurant.
This writer has never liked lawyers or real estate people. Lawyers because they tend to practice law and not justice and real estate people because all they practice is how to flex their monetary muscles. Real Estate interest have no sense of community, nor do they care about what they do to in-place communities. Since they have no roots, they don’t care about anyone’s roots. It’s time for action directed at them where they live. And it’s time to deflate the East Harlem real estate market boom.
And no, you are not “Improving” the community. That is totally very white of you to say. We don’t need your improvement. We can come up with our own improvement.
I see these new people, walk around without a care in the world. Hey, they just landed in paradise. Either they or their parents are saving a bundle over the over priced anywhere else rentals in New York City.
Some walk with a sense of confidence as if they have the world by the balls and can act on it at any time (how little they realy know). Others are quite calm as if they have been living here forever. Most will not look you in the eye as they pass by you on the street, in front of your home, in the store.
Now don’t get me wrong, they have every legal right to be here. After all didn’t we Puerto Ricans displace all those from Italian Harlem begining not less than 50 years ago? Yes we did. The difference is that this time those being displaced are not moving to the suburbs and don’t have the resouces to do so. In fact, I woudn’t know where to go if my rent got high enough to push me out.
So why mention these people? One to let them know to be a little more humble and a lot more friendly. East Harlemites can be very unforgiving and direct. Nice people are welcomed, nasty, stoic, greater than thou, and great white hopes are not welcomed.
Remember, it was only economics that has brought them here. They would not have been here otherwise. Also remember, that we were here for the past half century or more and they we have been through the bad times and the hellish times.
We have paid our dues. We deserve to stay too. So if most of you non-indiginous people don’t mind, move somewhere else, so that the beaten and forgotten can stay in their own community, our home.
Remember, you are displacing us. If you care at all about us, don’t come and together we can show the greedy landlord and real estate interest how not to destroy a community, a lesson they need to learn.
Great White Hopes
On the public service side of things I must say the following. For those of you coming to “help the poor” or “help the inner city”, remember that we are enough and don’t need anyone’s help teaching our children, shopping, consuming, praying, creating new charters schools (boy do you watch too many school type movies!), or anything else. Go find your purpose somewhere else, we are not here to be your mission in life.
My apologies to those coming to help with an atitude of learning as much as you teach and with giving as much as you take. Who will treat residents with dignity and love and not just with a “I have something to impart/teach you for your own good” type of atitude. Remember, humbleness on your part goes a long way.