Best Thing to Come Out of Harlem?s Gentrification (2008)
The little corner of South Harlem between 110th and 125th streets has been in the eye of the luxury-condo storm, with million-dollar one-bedrooms going up practically next-door to the projects. The subsequent disparities in income and skin color make for brittle relationships between new and old residents, and the political storm brought on by the citys rezoning of 125th Street hasnt helped, either, with its promise to displace long-time local businesses. Already, an onslaught of new storefronts targeted at the changing demographic has sprouted up. The new kids on the block include a Starbucks, a few tiny boutiques with gigantic prices, and, of course, a million branches of WaMuCitiChaseBankofAmerica. The one new addition that stands out in a pleasant way is a little wine bar called Nectar. It cant boast any deep Harlem rootsthe owners are outsiders who traded in their high-paying finance jobs to start hocking winebut it has managed to get popular quickly among both long-time residents and new Harlemites. A changing menu of wines, minimal and carefully chosen, makes it easy for the novice wine drinker to pick somethingand usually has a few surprises for the expert. And the place is blissfully free from the distraction of flat-screen televisions on every wall. Best of all, it has that vintage Village of Harlem vibe: Its just plain friendly.
New York NY 10027