"I am the face of gentrification," writes blogger Zachary Wilson, who lives in East Harlem and interns at a magazine (thanks Google!). And the Mississippi transplant is very willing to talk about life as a gentrifier, from overheard conversations in which natives reminisce about the taxi-free neighborhood of old, to the reassuring late-night waves from passing NYPD officers. He's come to grips with the impact of his presence on the neighborhood ("Whether gentrification is a good thing or a bad thing, I think it's inevitable"), but he's still unsure as to why he got such a better deal on a place than his friends on the Upper East Side:
I have two friends who share a studio apartment on East 94th Street and Madison Avenue for $1800 a month. Meanwhile, a mere ten blocks up but seven blocks into Harlem, I pay $1740 for a full two bedroom with a living room and kitchen. We ride the same subway, I just get off one stop after them. How is it possible that the two different areas might as well be two different worlds?