Re: keeping the character Good point. Still, as the young upwardly mobile leave, others will take their place. That should help improve the quality of services in the area. Residents can't argue against that entirely.
Re: keeping the character I provided a good example of something that's happening in Harlem that will help it keep its character. However, to Susan's point and concern, it's worth noting that I see many of my friends in their 20s -- young, white people, just starting to earn an income -- moving to Harlem because it's much cheaper to live there for more space than you'd get elsewhere in the city. So does that influx of young, white professionals threaten the culture? As real estate goes up everywhere else in the city, and Harlem becomes more appealing to people in the demographic I describe because they know others like them are living in the area... is there cause for concern? The other issue is that it's not as if these people will stay in Harlem, for the most part. They will move there for as long as it takes them to be able to afford to live elsewhere, and then they will leave. I doubt that's something that's well received by true Harlem residents.
Re: keeping the character It's definitely a great place. I so enjoyed it. They often have performances on evenings and weekends, so hopefully one of your next trips to NYC will allow you to attend and check out the school and musical culture there.
Re: keeping the character What a terrific place! I've already chosen my adult classes for Sunday. I wish I lived closer so I could actually attend them! This school is an excellent example of how location and inspiration can help boost specific community needs.
Re: keeping the character Harlem suffers from unemployment rates higher than the New York average and high mortality rates as well. In both cases, the numbers for men have been consistently worse than the numbers for women. Unemployment and poverty in the neighborhood resisted private and governmental initiatives to ameliorate them.
Re: keeping the character I do think there's a fine line between saving the neighborhood and erasing the character.
One way to avoid it is by enhancing the neighborhood with programs and services that have the culture at its core. For example, I was taking piano lessons for a couple of years in Spanish Harlem at the Boys & Girls Harbor. Read their mission statement and you'll see why it's a positive example here. Walking through the school, you see evidence of, and educational materials about, African American and Hispanic musical culture. This beautiful school for musicians stayed very true to the culture of the neighborhood in which it sits.
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