Beautification projects aim to brighten New York City

Parts of the Big Apple have gone through their own “spring cleaning” over the years, turning vacant lots or dull corridors into lively attractions.

From mini retail shopping centers, to community gardens, the projects breathe new life into their neighborhoods, according to experts.

“When they are done well they can unlock a lot of potential,” said Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future. “They can open up blocks or areas that haven’t had as much foot traffic or spending as possible.”

Rosemary Wakeman, the director of the Urban Studies at Fordham University, said the city and private companies have completed an increasing amount of smaller-scale improvement projects over the years, as they recognize the value in removing eyesores.

Unlike larger developments and rezonings in underserved neighborhoods, the smaller beautifications don’t carry the stigma of gentrification while bringing communities new amenities at a clip of a few blocks at a time.

“It allows the older, working class residents a chance to stay in their homes and enjoy the neighborhood,” she said.

These are some recently completed projects and others that are in the works.

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