Is Rezoning In East Harlem A Trojan Horse For Gentrification?
A fence in East Harlem gets a facelift every few months — a new mural painted by the Harlem Art Collective, which formed in 2015. They have painted Aztec symbols, for example, and a piece devoted to women’s rights on the barrier that hides a vacant lot. But this summer, artists painted “the most political” one yet, says a founder of the collective, O’Sheena Smith, 38. It’s a warning about gentrification, which the artists worry is coming to their neighborhood.
The mural begins near Second Avenue with a sulphuric Wall Street bull ripping through a subway map. In a middle panel, a giant Trojan horse rolls down a wide avenue, suited money-man and -woman types coming out of it, posting for-sale signs on vacant blocks. At the end, the giant word, “Gentrification,” and its dictionary definition. Below, there’s a bucket of chalk and a prompt encouraging passersby to write what gentrification means to them. . .