Controversial liquor store illuminates gentrification in Harlem

New York /
Dec.December 02, 2011 12:56 PM

alternate
text
The new liquor store at 183 Lenox Avenue (credit: Harlem + Bespoke)
Rarely do liquor stores exemplify the tensions of a gentrifying neighborhood, where once-abandoned brownstones now garner $3 million-plus purchase prices, like the one coming to Lenox Avenue near West 119th Street in Harlem.

The New York Times reported that the liquor store owner, Behiru Mesfin, has drawn the ire of Harlem residents for a cheap-looking, bright yellow and red sign, a roll-down steel gate and low-quality liquor that recall the grittier days of the neighborhood when poor residents would sit on stoops drinking. The wealthier populace doesn’t mind a liquor store, per se, the Times pointed out, they just want one that fits in with their visions of a Park Slope-like neighborhood.

Meanwhile, longtime residents complain that the bodegas that accept food stamps, welfare check-cashing businesses and the like are disappearing from the neighborhood and driving them out. The campaign against the liquor store is taking on an “elitest tone,” according to one resident.

For now community advocates have gotten a stop-work order at the liquor store, at 183 Lenox Avenue, from the Department of Buildings, as the owner is altering a building in the protected Mount Morris Park Historic District. [NYT]


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Webb & Brooker co-founder Eugene H. Webb (Getty)
Webb & Brooker co-founder Eugene H. Webb dies
Webb & Brooker co-founder Eugene H. Webb dies
317 Lenox Avenue (Google Maps)
David Werner acquiring Harlem office leasehold for $60M
David Werner acquiring Harlem office leasehold for $60M
Don Lemon and Tim Malone with their apartment at 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
Making Lemonade: Don Lemon breaks even on Harlem condo sale
Making Lemonade: Don Lemon breaks even on Harlem condo sale
Ray McGuire photographed by Axel Dupeux.
The Closing: Ray McGuire
The Closing: Ray McGuire
Savanna's Christopher Schlank and Nicholas Bienstock with 1825 Park Avenue (Savanna; Google Maps)
Savanna looks to sell Harlem office building for $75M
Savanna looks to sell Harlem office building for $75M
A rendering of 121 West 125th Street in Harlem (Photo via BRP Companies; Trader Joe's)
Trader Joe’s is coming to Harlem
Trader Joe’s is coming to Harlem
From left: 21 Montrose Avenue in Williamsburg, 1480 Amsterdam Avenue and 520 West 136 Street in West Harlem and 208-212 West 141st Street in North Harlem (Google Maps)
Week’s mid-market sales run gamut from $80 to $500 psf
Week’s mid-market sales run gamut from $80 to $500 psf
Manhattan Institute’s Kay Hymowitz and Bronx Community Board 6 district manager John Sanchez
Is gentrification a blessing or a curse? New Yorkers discuss
Is gentrification a blessing or a curse? New Yorkers discuss
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...