My New York Homecoming
Yesterday, October 3rd, marked a homecoming for me. As a native New Yorker and a native to 12th street in Greenwich Village, I consider downtown Manhattan my hub. I, like so many of us, am a creature of comfort and despite living in a “big” city, feel right at home in the Village. Not to mention my office is on 14th street and 5th avenue. So after around two and a half years in Brooklyn, my girlfriend and I moved back to Greenwich Village yesterday.
Having grown up in the 80s and 90s in the city, I’ve certainly seen some changes. Union Square Park, once completely inhabitable is now home to arguably the most popular green market in the country. University Place has shifted from corridors lined with antique and art shops to fast casual restaurants. Of course, as someone who has lived through the best and the worst times here, I have mixed feelings about the gentrification and shifts in the neighborhood.
Well, why am I a bringing this up now, you ask? I suppose as I return home I see some of my favorite stops closed or on the verge of closing, and a whole hell of a lot of vacant retail spots. What moves in? The short answer is – no one moves in. The rents are so high only a big box tenant can afford it. So after languishing for a while we see the Wells Fargo and CVS of the world move in. As a real estate broker, of course I am supposed to appreciate how this helps home prices increase overtime. And yes, I like helping owners realize a nice return on their homes and investments.
But on the flip side, I really hope Greenwich Village and to a greater degree all of the city, retains some semblance of its integrity and character. No, I don’t want anyone to feel worried about walking home at one in the morning. But it’s The News Bar Coffee Shops of the world, where I walk in and the manager asks me how my father is and tells me about his son, that remind me why Greenwich Village is my home. I guess this is a plea to the landlords of the city – perhaps keep the rents affordable for some – so the locals can still feel like they belong.
It feels good to be home, let’s keep it that way.