by Alexsis Nembhard
I grew up in East Harlem, which has the highest concentration of low income public housing in the country. As a child, I recall walking with my mother to the posh Upper East Side neighborhood adjacent to us just so we could buy quality produce and have access to a greater variety of healthy foods. There were no movie theaters, and there were few recreational facilities apart from street corners and local basketball courts. The lack of socio-economic diversity and community resources had always bothered me.
My experiences growing up have shaped my desire to become a real estate agent and real estate developer with a focus on environmentally and socially responsible urban revitalization. To me, real estate is more than just creating opportunities for beautiful communities; it is a chance to improve lives.
A disproportionate amount of low income residents suffer from chronic illnesses such as Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, which have all been linked to poor diet and sedentary lifestyles. The pervasiveness of these diseases taxes our health care system and diminishes our country's human capital.
The last couple of decades have resulted in tremendous improvements in community infrastructure in Upper Manhattan. We now have movie theaters, big ticket retailers and more businesses have made the move uptown. I feel proud to call Bohemia Realty Group my home, specifically because of its focus and commitment to Upper Manhattan. As a professional and a resident, I appreciate the infusion of market rate housing in these uptown neighborhoods, but I recognize the need for continued creation of affordable and middle income housing. Having grown up in affordable housing myself, I can appreciate both sides.
Harlem Restaurant and Retail Week is taking place February 15th – February 28th 2014. Let’s support the businesses that are actively improving the quality of life for all Harlem residents by buying local and dining local. See links below to get more information about the local restaurants and retailers that are participating.
I firmly believe that there is beauty in maintaining the culture of a neighborhood while also embracing diversity and progress. I am a proud Harlemite. I was born here. I work here. I dine here... I LIVE HERE.
That Green Chick