Fancy Coffee Has the South Bronx Talking

Formerly a deteriorating, poverty-stricken area, the South Bronx is now known for its hip-hop culture and its graffiti.  Last week, Birch Coffee opened shop on Hunts Point Avenue, a street characterized by auto shops, bodegas and cheap, variety stores.  It’s hard for Majora Carter to remember the last time Hunts Point had a spot that could serve both the community and its need for creativity.  She is a force of change in this part of New York City.

Ms. Carter collaborated on the café with entrepreneurs Jeremy Lyman and Paul Schlader, who have opened seven Birch shops in New York City.  And they are not the only ones.  Another coffee shop named Filtered Coffee opened a few months ago in Mott Haven, a neighborhood a few stops away on the No. 6 subway.  One of the business partners in Filtered is quoted as saying “Certain businesses come to fill a void in the community”.

Young people priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn are now moving to the Bronx, regarded by some as an up-and-coming neighborhood.  Developer Keith Rubenstein is quoted as saying of Filtered partners Karen Paul and Aaron Baird, “They brought life to a place that was probably a little bit lifeless.”  New York restaurateurs may want to keep the South Bronx on their radars.

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