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The Insider's Connection


Yorkville: Behind the Mural on 83rd Street

Is large-scale art expected to speak for a neighborhood or community? York Avenue–named after US Army Sergeant Alvin York for honorable actions in World War II and grounding the neighborhood in its German roots–has rapidly gentrified in the recent decades. Yorkville, or the Upper East Side, continues to shift and evolve; it’s structures, residents, and community look different today than it has in the past. When a neighborhood changes, is its history threatened? How much should developers consider a neighborhood’s past when contributing to its future? In the early 2000’s, a 28-story condo building was being developed on 83rd and York. The new building’s lobby faces a 6-story tenement on the opposite corner and at the time, that building was covered in graffiti. Fielding complaints from soon-to-be residents, the developer made a deal with the tenement building’s owner to hire artist…

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June 3, 2019

The New York City German Migration from Kleindeutschland

What aspects of a neighborhood expose its roots and history? Where do you get information about the communities that shaped your neighborhood? How did New York’s “Germantown” completely relocate in a matter of a few years, and why don’t we hear about it more often? At the turn of the 20th century, New York City had the largest German population in the world outside of Germany. German immigrants settling in New York City found their way to Kleindeutschland–“Little Germany” or, the Lower East Side–in the decades leading up to 1900. Kleindeutschland bustled with highly-educated German immigrants, new businesses (picture Germany beer saloons on every corner!), art, traditions, and a gradually increasing population. A few years into the 20th century, however, Germans started moving uptown in huge numbers for a fresh start. The story often told: uptown, they’d have access to…

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May 28, 2019