Vanishing New York

| December 5, 2008 | 0 Comments

Plans for skyscrapers in Manhattan.
Each marker represents a planned building.

Vanishing New York — The Documentary

Like many cities across America, New York has been changing rapidly. But, as recently as 1990, it still had many old-fashioned aspects. Bakeries, butcher shops, family-owned grocery stores, bars and coffee shops were places where neighbors gathered and gave each other a sense of community.

Then, in the mid-nineties, with the influx of cash and low-interest loans, developers seized on the opportunity to invest in the city. Dangerous neighborhoods that had been made “hip” by artists living there now attracted the working wealthy and big investors. High-rise luxury buildings and chain stores started replacing the smaller residences and neighborhood shops that were the “glue” of the community.

Through a mix of archival footage, current photographs and film, interviews with long-time residents and merchants, footage of community board hearings, and discussions with investors, politicians and real estate developers, we explore the effects of development on various neighborhoods of New York City.

Current Issues

  • 600 new building projects are now under construction or in planning in the city.
  • 89 luxury skyscrapers are scheduled or are in the process of being built in downtown Manhattan.
  • NYU projects a need for an additional 6 million square feet of space. That would be the equivalent of 34 of their new 26 story “megadorm” constructed on 12th street.
  • 3 billion in tax breaks doled out to corporations and upscale housing, while working class New Yorkers pay more than half their income in rent.
  • Small businesses and middle income New Yorkers are being priced out of the city at an unprecedented rate.
  • “Literally, New York is losing African Americans. In the last five years there has been an exodus of 40,000 African Americans.” — Darren Walker, Vice President, The Rockefeller Foundation at the recent Municipal Art Society event “Is New York Losing its Soul?”
  • Columbia University plans to seek eminent domain in order to expand their campus, which would displace 5,000 people and would include bulldozing the historic Cotton Club.
  • Luxury developers benefit from 421-a tax abatements – which cost the city $320 million in 2006   (Downtown express, volume 18 * Issue 49 April 2006)


Help Save Our City — Message From the

We are in the editing phase and we need your support to finish this documentary and get the word out before it’s too late. You can help with a tax-deductible donation of $10, $25, $50 or more. (For a donation of $100 or more you will get a credit in the movie!)

To donate online just go to our fiscal sponsor’s site:, or send a check made out to Fractured Atlas (with “Vanishing New York” written in the memo line) to JSenko Productions, 2 King St., #2B, New York, NY 10012. Our immediate goal is to raise $8,000 by January.

With your donation, you are helping all of us who love this wonderful city so much to save the rich diversity of our local neighborhoods and shops by bringing to light what is happening and how.

Thank you so much, Fiore DeRosa and Jen Senko

To visit the Vanishing New York website, click here.

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Category: Film, Harlem News, NYC News, TAKE ACTION

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