I took this photo of the skyline at Pier 84 in Hell's Kitchen in September 2018. I sat on it. Because I'm highly conflicted, even angry, about it. The image has earmarks of pics folk like to consume on social media: a golden hour shot of a glinty, pretty, and majestic New York City. A postcard city. But that is not the city I see, live in, or interact with.
What I see when I look at my image is disparity. I see displacement.
I see atrocious glass and steel buildings replacing affordable residential housing, small businesses, and warehouses that could be usefully re-purposed.
I see five cranes constructing those buildings not meant for me nor for the other long-term residents of Hell's Kitchen.
I see pieds-à-terre of foreign investors who purchase property but, by law, won't pay a dime of tax to the city. Even though they may also make a profit from renting said property through Airbnb.
I see the cost of rent and food escalating as a result.
I see homeless people sleeping in front of those empty storefronts that are "for rent."
You might see pretty in my intro pic. I see disparity. I see displacement.
I don't live in a postcard. I live in a world where choices affect actual human lives. And so I ask you to consider your choices. What will they be?