Skip to content
CityLab
Housing

The Bronx: Don’t Call It a Comeback

These Bronx natives have been here for years. In the midst of rapid gentrification, they say they are taking control and offering the borough cultural experiences that as youngsters, they had to venture downtown to find.
Roselyn Grullon, Amaurys Grullon, and Josue Caceres in front of their shop, Bronx Native on Lincoln Avenue. It is one of the new businesses by Bronx locals hoping to take control of the changes in the borough.
Roselyn Grullon, Amaurys Grullon, and Josue Caceres in front of their shop, Bronx Native on Lincoln Avenue. It is one of the new businesses by Bronx locals hoping to take control of the changes in the borough.Rebecca Bellan

Natural beard oils, turmeric oat milk lattes, fashion pop-up shops, and an indie bookstore meets wine bar. This might sound like a game of hipster bingo, but it’s just the latest in a string of new offerings to greet the South Bronx. And while your first thought might be, wow, the Bronx is really gentrifying—and you wouldn’t be wrong—it’s not quite what it looks like. At least, not yet.

The Bronx is changing. No neighborhood is stagnant; it’s the nature and substance of the shifts that can cause friction. The South Bronx is seeing a boom of development and new enterprise and it is gentrifying in that it is a low-income neighborhood where rental and home sales prices have been rising rapidly. Median rent in the borough has increased by 45 percent since 2005, reaching $1,130 in 2016. In gentrifying neighborhoods a common grievance from long-time residents is that, in addition to causing prices to rise, newcomers have a different sensibility and don’t respect the neighborhood’s history and the locals’ longevity. But many new initiatives in the borough are from Bronx natives who are demonstrating a generational shift in mentality. They want the people who come after them to dream not of getting out of their hood, but enhancing it.