Whose Barrio? is an emotionally charged look at the changes in Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem as real estate speculation pushes rents and property values past the point of affordability for most area residents. Author and journalist Ed Morales tells the story of his personal relationship to El Barrio, as well as the neighborhood’s history and the real estate forces that threaten it. By digging deep into the flavor of a neighborhood long regarded as a cultural homeland for Latinos and other ethnic groups, the film reveals a complex web of individual and community interests.
The stories of individual choices and concerns for the future give way to a vocal debate between different constituencies of the community. While everyone seems to agree that change is inevitable, the struggle intensifies over who gets a say in what some call the neighborhood’s development, and others its gentrification.