I visited my hometown New York City. While I was raised in the Bronx, I hung out this time in Manhattan.
I walked a lot and the highlight of the trip was beautiful Central Park. One can walk through the labyrinth of walking paths and soon find yourself in the woods, the mammoth city reduced to a muted background noise.
Walking along the city blocks, I noticed boarded up properties where businesses once thrived and yet, at the same time, construction was quite evident.
At each neighborhood store I visited I heard the same chilling story. It seems that many organizations outside the country are buying up property at exorbitant prices. As soon as legally possible, the absentee landlords raise the rent dramatically, often ten times the amount of the original lease and forcing local businesses out. I was told that these investors had been buying up property for years and that finding a business willing to pay elevated prices usually meant a chain.
This is gradually eroding the neighborhood quality of the city, which is the part that made New York so great.