Imagining a South Bronx Version of MTV’s Cribs

One of the very few things that could motivate me to clean my room as a teenager was the dream that someday, somehow I could be on MTV Cribs. I had all kinds of scenarios in which I would lead the camera crew through my house and to my bedroom, “where the magic happens.” (Though, tbh, the only magical thing happening there was the 14-hour slumbers I was able to pull off. Ah, to be 16.)

So, I’ll never get to be on MTV Cribs, since it’s no longer on (yes, that’s the reason) but a really cool project from ID Studio Theater here in the Bronx is giving some South Bronx residents a chance to show off their homes as part of the “Mott Haven Home Movies: South Bronx Cribs” project.

The idea behind the project is to teach residents to shoot and edit their own episode of “Cribs” to show what living in the South Bronx means to them. This is so so so important in the face of the battle we must fight against gentrification and the displacement of Bronx residents.

Currently, funds are being raised to supplement the grant the project received from the Bronx Council on the Arts. To read more about the project and/or donate, click here. 

***Please note that the project is not affiliated with MTV Cribs.***

 

3rd Annual Gentrification Conference – Now What?

On a stormy Sunday, Bronxites from across the borough gathered at gathered at the New Settlement Community Center to discuss one of the biggest issues facing the Bronx today – gentrification *cue dramatic music.*  The conference kicked off with a preview of Vivian Vazquez’s documentary Decade of Fire, which takes a look at how the Bronx was abandoned during it greatest time of need, the string of arsons that engulfed the borough in the 70s.

The audience also got a chance to view the Bronx Photo League’s Jerome Avenue Worker’s Project, which profiled workers along the area of Jerome Avenue that would be impacted by the Jerome- Cromwell rezoning proposal. Many are immigrants scraping by as is and with the city’s plan to work with developers to introduce “affordable housing,” their future in the neighborhood is all but done for.

The last and certainly most lively part of the conference was the panel featuring Vivian Vasquez, photographer Rhynna Santos, HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, and CASA Tenant Leader Fitzroy Christian. Attendees called out Been on the city’s faulty affordable housing plans and offering up low income neighborhoods up to developers on a platter.

What most moved me was seeing how many people came out, even on such a crappy day, to show their concern for the Bronx and try to protect it from gentrification. It’s rare to see such solidarity here in NYC and it was really motivating. The real test now, is to see what actions we all take to really show that we’re serious.

Let’s not be armchair generals when it comes to potential (and in a sadly increasing rate for small businesses) displacement in the Bronx – we need to get our hands dirty and put in the work to back up our voices.

The Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision has monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month from 6-8 pm at New Settlement Community Center. Childcare and Spanish interpretation is available as is dinner, so spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors.