New York Communities for Change and the Banana Kelly Resident Council held a protest on Thursday, August 25 aimed at New York Knick forward Carmelo Anthony’s involvement with Mott Haven developer Keith Rubenstein.
The attendees felt Anthony’s involvement with Rubenstein would greatly benefit the developer who has been criicized by local stakeholders opposing gentrification.
In addition to the protest, which took place at 2401 Third Avenue, NYCC compiled a report and statement on Anthony and Rubenstein to go along with the protest.
Anthony has been in the news recently as a prominent athlete who is standing up for injustices, particularly against the African American community.
NYCC asked how Anthony would be fighting for justice and at the same time be alligned with Rubenstein?
Rubenstein and his development company Somerset Partners are currently working on two projects in the south Bronx.
One project is at 9 Bruckner Boulevard and the other is on the corner of 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue. The properties were purchased for over $65 million.
The property at 101 Lincoln Avenue/2401 Third Avenue is expected to consist of six 25-story luxury apartment towers.
According to the Somerset website, it will contain 1,600 residential units in addition to “a retail component and a waterfront promenade.”
The rents are starting at $2,900 a month, according to the website.
NYCC said this is three times the median rent in the neighborhood which is $782 a month.
“By snapping up property in a distressed neighborhood and attempting to create a luxury market at more than triple the rent, Keith Rubenstein is the very definition of a NYC gentrifier,” said NYCC.
“The south Bronx always been a very humble, family-oriented community, a working class community,” said Nathalie Hernandez, Bronx organizer for NYCC.
The organization is also calling out Anthony and Rubenstein for a Halloween party Anthony hosted for Rubenstien last fall entitled ‘Macabre Suite.’
At the party were props such as burned out cars and burning trash cans representing the area’s recent past.
At the time, residents felt this was disrespectful, viewing the party as a mockery of the widespread arson attacks in the Bronx during the 1970s.
The party was meant to introduce Somerset’s new property at Lincoln Avenue.
Initially, the property was going to be named The Piano District.
The name was in reference to the Bronx’s history in the early 1900s as a prominent place for piano manufacturing.
According to NYCC, the name Piano District is no longer a part of the project.
NYCC is hoping that if Anthony removes his name and speaks out against the developer, it would help hinder the project’s success.
Rubenstein and Somerset did not respond directly to questions about gentrification.
However, a representative for the company said, “It is very important to retain the character of the community, to embrace the heritage of the residents, while creating more opportunities for more and more people and families to flourish.”
He also said, “All plans are being finalized. So we are not prepared to discuss any further specifics at this time.”
Carmelo Anthony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.