In the past few years, getrification has taken away the unique and special beauty of many of the neighborhoods that i belong to in New York City. 

I grew up in east harlem, right on 110th street and 5th avenue. It is my home, my barrio, my place of comfort. In recent walks around the neighborhood, i sadly mourned a many of the original shops and business that were local to our area. Beautiful graffiti, and entire murals, painted over for the comfort of our urban colonizers. The celia cruz throw up on lexington? Gone. 

So i thought it was especially important to start photographing the novelty and unique flavor that it so well known for. To capture what is still there, in the midst of unwanted change. To show the world, a wonderful landscape of old new york i will never forget. 

Various Photos All Taken in East Harlem, By Destiny Frasqueri 2015


East Harlem, NY

5 small business closed in just 30 days on 104th Street and Lexington avenue.

The building of “Glass Spire” (1635 Lexington ave) a luxury condo just across the street. Did not displace one tenant.

But the economic pressure caused by the luxury condo, where apartments are being sold from 500k to  1.1 million, has a ripple effect on the the tenants around it. That economic pressure entices landlords to raise rents to profit off new luxury clientele and leaves many long time small businesses out in the cold. 

Gentrification can take 30 or more years, but in just 30 days, a total of: 
2 Barbershops, 2 discount stores and a Botanica. 
Were forced to find new homes…. 

NYC Buildings Inspector Threatens East Harlem Residents for Reporting Unsafe Conditions at Luxury Development Site

Sometimes you gotta teach people a lesson”

NYC Department of Buildings Inspector (Dabusco) 

For months, residents like Eugene Rodriguez & Laurena Torres have been complaining about unsafe conditions at HAP Investments 329 Pleasant avenue luxury development site. On September 17th 2014, construction was halted, after they and others, reported unsafe conditions to the NYC Department of Buildings. 

That afternoon, the DOB inspector called to the scene, spoke with El Barrio Tours outside HAP’s 329 Pleasant avenue site… 

DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “The property owner is in complacence, 100% compliance. They’ve done everything we’ve asked but this woman keeps calling and complaining, I’m about to slap her with a 10 thousand dollar fine for harassment. She can’t keep abusing the property owner like that! You care that much? To spend your week out here looking out your window? Get a job!

EBT: “Aren’t you here to ensure the saftey of the site? Isn’t that your job?”

DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “Yeah, but this guy has his permits all in order, he’s done everything we’ve asked. These people keep complaining and I’m like, that’s not your business over there!”

EBT: “So your saying they’re complaining for no reason?”

DOB Inspector (Dabusco): “Look, I just kicked out 6 families from another site. This guy kept complaining and complaining the building was shaking and moving. I said it’s shaking? Good. Boom! Vacate! Now your all out. I came back and his wife was slapping him in the street. He never called back. What goes around comes around. But when it comes around, it comes back 10 times harder. Sometimes you gotta teach people a lesson.”

Work resumed the next day, and continued until the damage to Laurena Torres and Eugene Rodriguez property got so bad, it made it into DNA Info & the Daily News earlier this week. A partial stop work order has been issued as of October 29th, 2014. The DOB has has now ordered the developer to brace the walls of the properties they’ve damaged around 329 Pleasant Avenue. 

HAP Investments has spent $100 million on six East Harlem properties and is no stranger to dangerous work sites: (Here)