New York City neighborhoods attracting affluent new residents are also home to a more troubling trend - increasing child poverty.
East Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant scored high on the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York’s new ranking of the Big Apple’s poorest communities.
“Pockets of extreme poverty persist in the city, even in neighborhoods that are often thought to be improving economically,” said CCC executive director Jennifer March-Joly.
Along strips like Bedford Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Lexington Ave. in East Harlem, wine bars, restaurants and chic boutiques have sprung up in recent years.
But the neighborhoods also have pockets of growing poverty, CCC found.
Since the recession began in 2008, the numbers of children living in poverty in East Harlem jumped from 31.6 percent to 44.2 percent in 2010.
In Bedford Stuyvestant, where the white population jumped 600% since 2000, the number of kids living in poverty increased from 39.6 percent in 2008 to 47 percent.
Median income for both neighborhoods was also surpringly low : Families with children under 18 in both East Harlem and Bedford Stuyvesant earned about $28,000 in 2010 - compared to the citywide average of about $61,000.
“You have young whites moving in,and minorities moving out. What is left behind are people who can’t afford to move out,” said CUNY graduate center sociologist Richard Alba.
Single parent Eliana Luciano, 29, is about to lose her $1,070 one-bedroom apartment she shares with her daughter Katherine, 6 and elderly mom.
“I can’t afford my rent,” said Luciano who makes $7.60 an hour working at CVS. “It’s hard. You can’t find a decent job.”
Richard Toxe, a father of four who works as a nursing assistant, lives in Metro Plaza Houses on First Avenue in East Harlem, sandwiched between two new pricy luxury buildings with amenities like a shuttle bus and a white-gloved doorman.
“These buildings affected everything,” said Toxe complaining he has to travel uptown to buy milk and meat because his local Associated supermarket raised its prices.
It’s like Father Connoly’s attempts to keep kids on the straight and narrow, but with fake Facebook accounts of hot teen chicks. The New York Timesreports on an innovative(and highly invasive) program to keep kids who’ve been arrested from committing robbery.
The involuntary NYPD program called Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program (JRIP) targets youth (almost exclusively minorities living in housing) and subjects them to continual harassment at their school, home and in the streets and monitors their every move online with fake profiles:
Officers not only make repeated drop-ins at homes and schools, but they also drive up to the teenagers in the streets, shouting out hellos, in front of their friends. The force’s Intelligence Division also deciphers each teenager’s street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of the teenager’s associates, not unlike the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime.
Detectives spend hours, day and night, monitoring the Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of teenagers in the program, known as the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program, or J-RIP, and of their criminal associates. To do so, detectives create a dummy Facebook page — perhaps employing a fake profile of an attractive teenage girl — and send out “friend requests” as bait to get beyond the social network’s privacy settings.
Joanne Jaffe, the department’s Housing Bureau chief, commented on the program saying, “We are coming to find you and monitor every step you take”. “And we are going to learn about every bad friend you have. And you’re going to get alienated from those friends because we are going to be all over you.” Talk about creepy…
The program was started in 2007 in Brownsville, known as the highest concentration of low income public housing development in the North America and the worst neighborhood in New York City. In 2009, the program was expanded to East Harlem, the second highest concentration of public housing in the nation, closely following Brownsville. Both Brownsville and East Harlem are largely black and Latino, making over 85% of the population in each neighborhood, meaning JRIP disproportionately targets minorities who live in public housing and subjects them to continual harassment by the NYPD who claim to be practicing tough love.