Jessica Martinez

Thank you to my friends and family who are always down to be a part of the cause. I appreciate y'all so much for bringing things to life with me. I couldn't do this without you guys, which is why it just makes sense to work with you all. This movement is more intimate than meets the eye. I wanted to portray what uptown has brought into my life; family, love, culture. Home is where the heart is and my heart lies Uptown. It has definitely always been a safe haven. It's where we grew up. And I am not referring to our childhood days. I really mean where we GREW up, where we found out who we wanted to be, and became who we are today. Those summer nights on roofs, our days in Fort Tryon, those moments we realized how small we were but how big we can be; that's what comes to mind when I think of being 19 years old, running around like kids all over this little piece of New York that's ours. We made it what it is today, but it definitely made us who we will be forever.

Thank you beloved, never change<3 



gen·tri·fi·ca·tion (ˌjentrəfəˈkāSH(ə)n/)
  • requires the displacement of lower income residents from their homes/neighborhoods.
    • involuntary displacement is the displacement of the "original" residents who would prefer to stay but cannot due to evictions, rising rent or increases in property tax bills,  or simply cannot afford to.
    • exclusionary displacement - changes in the neighborhood prevent future lower income households from moving in.
  • physical and socioeconomic component that results in the upgrading of housing stock in the neighborhood
  • results in the changed character of the neighborhood; subjective but CRITICAL


Born and raised in Washington Heights, I always look back at my childhood with severe nostalgia and great appreciation. It's a place like no other, and at the time it was all I knew. My days consisted of my mother and her girl friends chilling up the block on their beach chairs, drinking rum, stealing limonsillos from the fruit man on the corner (Luis fruta), asking mami for a dollar to go ball out at the store (which is the store we got to shoot these pics in; Rey Grocery btw 179 and 180 on Audubon), playing in the streets all day, sitting on car hoods all night, dirty feet, bike races around the block. I attribute all those good memories to my neighborhood, Washington Heights. It was always a place I gravitated towards, even when my mother moved us to The Bronx in high school. My friends lived in the heights then, and my friends live in the heights now. It's where my roots are. 

Unfortunately, the character of the neighborhood is changing. People are being driven out, losing their homes and businesses. The same people that made this special place what it is now will no longer be here in a few years. This project was started to bring awareness to the situation and to give even a small voice to those people who are not being taken into account during this process. Money talks here, and if you don't have enough of it you will not be taken into account. Unfortunately, the people who are feeling the effects of gentrification the most are those with the least say. Our goal is to continue getting educated on this matter and be able to share this knowledge through conversation and future workshops. We are growing everyday and invite you to do so with us. Everyday is literally an opportunity to learn something new and with all this knowledge comes passion. Things began as my friends and I started feeling the difference at our local bar, or walking down the street getting looked at, being made feel like an uninvited guest in our own neighborhood. But we have learned it is so much bigger than that. Those instances have brought us here and as we continue to experience them more often, they will keep us motivated in trying to preserve the culture our neighborhood has to offer. It is unfortunate that people have the ability to destroy neighborhoods this way, but this will not be a silent fight. Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, The Bronx; Uptown is not the new Williamsburg. Nuestro barrio no se vende.