UPROSE, which used to enjoy a closer relationship with Menchaca, has advanced a plan for Industry City embraced by neighborhood leftists: a return to full-scale manufacturing while building wind turbines and solar panels as part of a national Green New Deal. “We’re talking about an industrial waterfront that serves the region and this community, that builds for climate adaption, mitigation, and resilience,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE’s executive director.
At a meeting Tuesday in front of the City Planning Commission, developers behind Industry Cityin Sunset Park argued for a proposed rezoning that would bring high-end commercial development and a luxury hotel to the waterfront—expanding a so-called "innovation economy hub."
These efforts dovetail with the city's plans for the Sunset Park waterfront, but some locals see only a hipster behemoth threatening to permanently displace local residents, small businesses, and heavy manufacturing jobs.
Crowding around a harried Economic Development Corporation volunteer on Tuesday, Sunset Park residents accused the city of insulting them with a $2.5 billion streetcar proposal they fear will cut through their manufacturing-dependent waterfront, accelerating displacement in a historically blue-collar neighborhood.
"To come up with this offer that's going to solve all of our problems because it's pretty, that's an insult to our intelligence," said Maria Roca, founder of Friends of Sunset Park and a lifelong resident.
Gentrification is a vicious, if potentially economically beneficial cycle that spares no one, not even those who create Earth's most delicious substance. So was the lesson learned by one nearly-century old chocolate factory, which was pushed out of its home on Christopher Street about a decade ago and found new digs in Sunset Park. But the tables have turned, and apparently neighbors are worried the new factory is making their area more attractive to the Whole-Foods-and-Bugaboo set. Will it never end?