The real estate community has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the High Line park since it was first conceived for West Chelsea seven years ago. At that time, the city rezoned the neighborhood to allow for luxury residential development. Aided by the new developments and the foot traffic the park drew — both from tourists and locals — the neighborhood’s property values skyrocketed 103 percent between 2003 and 2011, after spending years below the Manhattan median.
But in an opinion piece published in the New York Times, Jeremiah Moss, the pen name of the writer behind the Vanishing New York blog, blamed the park for building another neighborhood, that, like Times Square, is almost purely for tourists.
“It’s easy to forget that until very recently, even with the proliferation of art galleries near the West Side Highway, West Chelsea was a mix of working-class residents and light-industrial businesses,” Moss wrote.
Now the area is for “the city’s glamorous people,” said Alan Brownfield, whose third-generation auto shop on West 29th Street and 10th Avenue was one of many forced out of West Chelsea by rising rents.
But as more tourists flock to the neighborhood, it’s only a matter of time before the boutiques and fancy restaurants give way to something even the wealthiest New Yorkers want no part of: national chains and big box retailers. [NYT]