It was up for barely a month yet it made headlines around the world and now it’s gone—the Piano District billboard has been replaced with an innocuous ice cream ad.
The billboard display heralding the coming of luxury waterfront living and a rebranding of a neighborhood while promising to bring in “world class dining, fashion, and art” for many was a sign that gentrification was coming in and fast.
Shortly thereafter was the Macabre Suite gentrification Halloween party which opened up wounds with its tasteless theme. Although the artist and developers claim there was no intention of insulting the community, the damage was done.
For decades we’ve watched from afar (and nearby across the river in Harlem) as communities were whitewashed in waves of gentrification labeled by many as progress.
Longtime mom and pop shops and residents alike were pushed out of these vibrant neighborhoods snuffing out the essence of the working class neighborhoods.
Since the rise of the billboard and the passing of the party, the collective anger and resistance of the people of The Bronx, a resilient people, many groups have coalesced, many protests have been had, ideas have been organized and maybe, just maybe the end result was the taking down of an offensive ad.
An ad promoting luxury in the face of extreme poverty, environmental, health, and educational concerns.
The billboard is located on the development site and such ads generally stay up to promote the developments as long as they don’t impede with construction.
Maybe, just maybe, the anger heard and felt around the world brought down this sign.