#WhatPianoDistrict, Say South Bronx Residents

A new billboard in Port Morris dubs the neighborhood the Piano District. (Photo by Muri Assunção via Mott Haven Herald)

A new billboard in Port Morris dubs the neighborhood the Piano District. (Photo by Muri Assunção via Mott Haven Herald)

The Piano District? SoBro?

Developers appear to be busy trying on new names for the South Bronx, where two luxury high-rises are planned, writes Kate Pastor in the Mott Haven Herald. First, a billboard with the “piano district” moniker went up.

The appearance of the billboard was followed by a pre-Halloween gala party thrown by developer Keith Rubenstein, celebrity artist Lucien Smith and art dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn in an old piano factory, with bullet riddled cars and trashcan fires serving as the backdrop. The Macabre Suite, as the one-night exhibit was called, attracted A-list guests like Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, supermodel Naomi Campbell and Kendall Jenner. It received notice in Vogue, and drew backlash from residents.

Rosaly Ruiz and Sasha Smith, co-founders of the arts organization, Bronx Blaqlist, organized an anti-development party in response, and social media objections to the gentrifying glamorization of the events have multiplied. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito weighed in as well.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. attended the developer’s party. Mott Haven Herald notes:

Diaz has championed the waterfront development but has said that Port Morris is not the Piano District. Diaz, who frequently speaks out about outsiders unfairly using the Bronx’s checkered history to denigrate the borough, declined to comment on the Halloween party.

Go to Mott Haven Herald to read what numerous people had to say on social media about #WhatPianoDistrict and the developer’s party.

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