Saturday, November 28, 2009

Here We Are

The purpose of this blog is to perform a study of wealth, poverty, race, and urban living, specifically in New York City.New York has so many neighborhoods that are incredibly racially exclusive. I believe that everyone in New York knows the neighborhoods where they are welcomed, based solely on their race or racial performance. The neighborhoods that are considered upscale and “safe” are primarily white, and the rundown, “unsafe” neighborhoods consist primarily of ethnic minorities. People in some neighborhoods are able to do, buy, be involved in whatever they want, while people in other neighborhoods are very much stuck in the condition they are presently in.

As a person who has called both the Mid-West and Manhattan home, I've witnessed a lot of discrepancies in living conditions, education systems, resource allocation, and overall quality of life consigned to different groups of people. Over the next few weeks, I plan on visiting some of New York's famous neighborhoods, searching for signs of these things. I want to see what type of things are offered in different neighborhoods? Are there libraries? Museums? Other cultural opportunities? Are there parks for children to go to after school or better yet community centers or other places where children can go? Is the neighborhood "family oriented" or are there liquor shops on every corner? Even simple things like the cleanliness of a street can say numerous things about the conditions in which the residents live in. Most importantly- What does the inclusion or exclusion of all these different items and more mean for the residents of these neighborhoods?

It will never cease to amaze me how so much difference is alive and kicking in such a small space like New York City. You can go through years of living in the City and never see anything you don't want to. I know many people who have not set foot in any Borough besides Manhattan because they have no need to. But it's all the intricacies of the City that attracted me. Within a small island, boarded by two rivers, you can find some of the nations wealthiest living a mere mile from extreme poverty. Sometimes in the least likely place, you'll find the most amazing park, shop, museum, or restaurant. The City is amazing, its people resilient, and its lessons forever with us. I hope that over the next few weeks as I travel between Spanish Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Bed-Stuy, investigating the physical impact of money and government attention versus poverty and state neglect, I can find both the answers I'm looking for along with some that I'm not, which will all (hopefully) help me further my understand of the City I reside in and its place as a case-study of what is going on all over America.

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