America’s Middle-Class Squeeze-Out

New York City - Apple MapsThe Chinese restaurant across the street from me – one of the last, reasonably priced joints in the neighborhood – closed last weekend. Their lease was up for renewal and the rent increased from $5,000 a month to $25,000.

Such an enormous jump isn’t unusual here in the West Village, part of Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan, which has become such an expensive and trendy part of the city that I may soon be kicked out both for violating the fashion code and skewing the curve on median income. The restaurant owner, who had run his place for three decades, was remarkably calm about it. “I understand,” he told the dining blog, Eater. “The property values are really high in this area.”

That’s an understatement. Much of Bleecker Street, for example, once a Village thoroughfare of bohemia immortalized in songs by Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop, is now a mini-Fifth Avenue of upscale boutiques and chain stores from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers and Coach. Gone are most of the delis and funky, mom-and-pop shops that gave the area its distinctive style.

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Authored By Michael Winship
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