Photo: The Villager
No doubt about it, the City seems to be expanding and gentrifying with each blink of an eye. As the second phase of the Second Avenue subway line is in the works – and keep in mind that it’s not expected to be completed for another ten years – investors, developers and residents are making plans. The plan, which has been in the works for a long time, is an extension of the Q train from East 96th Street to East 125th Street.
Developers quickly bought parcels along the route, and the City is organizing larger-scale projects, from East 125th Street to East 127th Street (aka E125) where the subway will terminate at a new station between Park and Lexington Avenues.
What is being planned? Reports say that private developers and the City will create 1,000 mixed-income housing units and up to 700,000 square feet of commercial space. That’s according to the City Economic Development Corp.
There’s even plans for affordable housing. Part of E125 will be One East Harlem, a 404-unit apartment building that is expected to have 297 affordable units, plus retail and cultural space. The project recently broke ground at East 125th and Third Avenue in late April 2019.
It will also be a hub of interest with The New York Proton Center which opened in June 2019. In case you haven’t heard of it, it is the State's first proton-beam cancer therapy facility. The facility is large and will take up much of East 126th street between Second and Third avenues.
Meanwhile, private developers including Blumenfeld Development Corp., the Durst Organization and Extell Development Co. are making their marks. They either have the potential to build big around the future subway terminus or have started already. Landlords such as Lloyd Goldman and Thor Equities reportedly have bought in the area in recent years.
These changes and developments often have residents weary, and this case is no different. The group We Act for Environmental Justice worked with community organizations and representatives from the local community board and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's office on a report. The report focused on the impact of the subway and a late 2017 rezoning of several blocks of East Harlem to allow for denser development.
The April report said the "dramatic wave of new development" spurred by the subway and the rezoning "will likely result in inequitable growth, compound social and environmental challenges, and accelerate the decades-long trend toward gentrification and displacement in the neighborhood."
To most of us this is no great surprise. It is often the pattern that people get priced out, bought out, served with eminent domain notices, and/or just move out. Florida anyone?