diamonds in the rubble.

Moving to the Bronx - again - would be the 3rd time my family relocated across New York City in less than five years, we arrived the summer just before 9/11 and Truth Hurts’ “Addictive” was the only song playing in the neighborhood, and like life in Brooklyn; we were one of the few spanish speaking families in the neighborhood. I hated it here for the first half - the Bronx always carried that reputation of having been a dangerous place to live; people would describe the northernmost section of New York City as a crime ridden cesspool where no further than five subways stops into the Bronx you would be robbed blind, and three ways from Sunday. That nothing successful or fruitful could come from such a wretched place. So then why the fuck did we move here? Again? On the contrary, the Bronx serves as the perfect vessel where we can share story and can see how gentrification is racially motivated, inherently violent, not only to humanity but to nature herself in most cases, and behaves in a similar manner to colonialist ventures from the 17th and 18th centuries; 

Gentrification then and gentrification now. 

President Eisenhower in the 1950s created the Highway Interstate System, supposedly, with the publicized intention of increasing the flow vehicular traffic since the industrial era had propelled the united states into a world where we all travel bu motorized automobile, and local traffic roadways weren’t conducive to the idea of economic and industrial efficiency - but considering Dwights history as a military general - the truth is that the highways just help the Unites states military move their weapons from point a to point b with ease; another “American Innovation” inspired immediately by German Nazi engineering. 

One of the most expensive stretches of highway real estate rests in the West Bronx, between the Harlem River and Sheridan Avenue; the idea of a Cross-Bronx highway was on the design schemes before Jacob Riis and Robert Moses for sometime as the barely legal George Washington Bridge completed less than two decades earlier was waiting to be incorporated into the rest of the highway system that was being built in the Bronx at the time. BY this time in the late 1940s, New York was on the receiving end of a massive exodus from the Caribbean; Puerto Ricans especially began to fill in and create enclaves on the Upper West Side, East Harlem, and in the South Bronx, creating very close relationships with their African American neighbors that would prove to be beneficial in the decades to follow.


This, we could imagine, was happening to the displeasure to white american “locals”, in tandem with the burgeoning cross-bronx ripping through the hills of the Bronx, drawing chasms and creating declines in property values, the banks follow suit with furthering the inability of the lower class - black people, and the new arrivals of color - to pull themselves from the impending squalor created by the highway. The plan reached a standstill when Moses was faced with having to reroute the expressway around an established residential area and, against the concerns of the advisory, bludgeoned the expressway through those and several other neighborhoods, destroying hundreds of homes and buildings, and displacing thousands. Beginning in 1948 on the Harlem River, and ending in 1964, with the completion of the Highbridge interchange, the Bronx slowly began its descent into socio-economic collapse.