Typically when once industrialized neighborhoods in New York City begin to convert their real estate to residential spaces—and industrial tenants who have fled the city are replaced by people living in apartments—somebody starts to grumble about the dangers of “gentrification.” Will the neighborhood lose it’s character once it become flooded with people who live there? What happens when the young pioneers are replaced by yuppies, strollers and exotic living arrangements known elsewhere as “families?” Does anybody remember when Tribeca was “edgy?”
Well, we’re not hearing those kind of complaints this time around. And that’s probably because the industry that is de-industrializing the ‘hood in question is finance and the ‘hood is Wall Street. A couple of weeks back—we’re not exactly sure when, but it was during our morphine-and-pain phase–Time Out ran a cover feature on the financial district. Or FiDi (pronounced “Figh Digh” by the kind of people who insist on Soho-izing everything). And more recently, the newest business magazine for Americans—called, uhm, “The American”—is running a piece by Adam Wolfe on the area.
Wolfe is totally an old school FiDi-ster. He’s lived here for almost two years! As recent arrivals to the neighborhood—we’re writing this from the old Brown Brother’s building—we’re grateful for this old timers guide to the area. And also his reassurance that there still will be at least a little bit of finance going down down here in the financial district for a little longer.
To be sure, the Wall Street Journal won’t need to change its name anytime soon. The NYSE is not decamping from its headquarters at Number 11 Wall Street in the foreseeable future, and Deutsche Bank is an example of a financial firm that has stayed in the neighborhood, moving into 60 Wall Street after its office near the World Trade Center was made uninhabitable. Still, as the Financial District becomes more of a mixed-use neighborhood, The Street’s legendary status will almost certainly fade, just as Soho has been redefined as warehouses have been replaced by art galleries and more recently by luxury shops. In a way, Wall Street is returning to its roots as not only a financial but also a residential hub: after all, J.P. Morgan and Alexander Hamilton are among those who once called Wall Street home.
A Non-Random Walk down Wall Street [The American]