Immigrants and Early Gentrifiers Bring a New Voice to, of all things, Gentrification

Senior perspectives on gentrification will be on display at the Disappearing City this Thursday, June 11 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Greenwich House’s Center on the Square, 20 Washington Square North. Disappearing City is the culmination of a six week project  between Greenwich House and MoreArt to document the social, cultural and physical changes that have affected the Lower West Side over the past 80 years.

Led by artist Amy Wilson, Disappearing City uses quilt-making to engage ten long-time elderly residents of Chelsea and Greenwich Village in the ongoing discourse on gentrification. The seniors bring a unique perspective to the topic: some came in the final waves of European immigration to find ethnic enclaves already in decline; others came to the area as part of the first waves of gentrification themselves.

Both groups now find unity as the area moves increasingly upscale, threatening what many have considered a comfortable existence on the West Side. The financial and physical struggle seniors face as they age in this community  is a common theme seen throughout the quilts.

Another recurring motif in the quilts is the sense of invisibility that many of the artists feel.

“It’s a struggle,” said Greenwich House Center on the Square Director Laura Marceca. “Many of them lament the loss of their favorite deli, their local hardware store and the bookstore down the street. But many are equally excited for the new restaurants popping up. However, they feel excluded from these new places: loud music, dark lighting, small print.”

But despite these struggles and the often painful impact of gentrification, the quilts also capture a positive and more hopeful glimpse of this change. 

“They’ve been around, they know things change,” Marceca continued.

Disappearing City was partially funded by the Office of Councilmember Corey Johnson. 

About Greenwich House

Greenwich House is a registered 501 c(3) organization and a member of the United Neighborhood Houses of New York. If you are interested in learning more about the network of settlement houses and the work they do, click here

Greenwich House is proud to be a Better Business Bureau accredited charity.

Greenwich House is proud to be a Gold-level GuideStar Exchange participant, demonstrating our commitment to transparency.

Greenwich House is a proud member of FPWA. 

Greenwich House is a proud member of Behavioral Health Agencies.  

Support Greenwich House


Receive updates on goings on "Around the House"

Contact Greenwich House

Greenwich House
27 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014