Searching for Soul: New York City in the Age of Hyper-Gentrification

When: Thursday, June 28, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Price: $15 & up | $10 for Museum Members
Courtesy of Julia Wertz

In an era of skyrocketing rents, super-tall buildings, closing independent shops, and chain stores, writers Jeremiah Moss and Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and cartoonist Julia Wertz talk with New Yorker staff writer Vinson Cunningham about what it means to capture the “soul” of the city, even as many longtime New Yorkers question its survival. Before the discussion, we will screen a documentary short by Christopher Ming RyanJoon Fish Market, part of a series of films, Disappearing NYC, about neighborhood shops that are about to close.

This event is part of Core Conversations, a series of lectures, talks, and tours in which New York City's leading thinkers examine the four key themes of our New York at Its Core exhibition -- diversity, density, money, and creativity -- each through their own unique lens. To view all of the programs in the series, click here.

About the Speakers:
Jeremiah Moss
is the author of Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul (2017), and creator of the award-winning blog Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. His writing on the city has appeared in The New York Times, New York Daily News, and online for The New Yorker and The Paris Review. He works as a social worker and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City.

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts is the author of Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America (2011) which was a New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and a National Book Critics Circle Finalist. She is currently working on a trilogy on African-Americans and utopia: Harlem, Haiti, and the Black Belt of the American South. 

Julia Wertz is a professional cartoonist, amateur historian, and part-time urban explorer. Her latest book is Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City (2017). Her previous autobiographical graphic novels include Drinking at the Movies (2015) and The Infinite Wait & Other Stories (2012). She's a frequent contributor to The New Yorker.

Vinson Cunningham (moderator) joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2016. His writing on books, art, and culture has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Vulture, and McSweeney’s, where he wrote a column called “Field Notes from Gentrified Places.” He previously served as a staff assistant at the Obama Administration.

About the Filmmaker:
Christopher Ming Ryan is the co-founder and principal of Wheelhouse Communications, a video marketing agency. His documentary shorts have been primarily focused on New York City characters and neighborhood joints on the verge of disappearing. His work has been featured in, LaughingSquid, Newcorp's The Daily,, and local NYC blogs including, and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York to name a few. 

$20 for adults | $15 for seniors, students & educators (with ID) | $10 for Museum members
Includes Museum admission.

Members: To receive your discount, click on the "Buy Tickets" button above, then sign in to your account on the ticketing page.

Groups of 10 or more get discounts; contact us at or 917.492.3395.

Accessibility: Assistive listening devices are available and our auditorium wheelchair lift can accommodate manual and motorized wheelchairs (max. capacity 500 lbs). Please contact the Museum at 917.492.3333 or with any questions.

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