Brooklyn Resident Channels Her Feelings About Gentrification Into One-Woman Show

Tonight at The Tank, Michele Carlo presents There Goes the Neighborhood.

Once upon a time, Michele Carlo could be seen around town as performance artist and burlesque MC Carmen Mofongo, a persona with the tagline ‘New York City’s One and Only Latin Lady With Stuff on Her Head.’ Tonight, at The Tank on West 46th Street, it will be just Carlo, performing her one-woman show There Goes the Neighborhood.


The performance is part of Solo Week: REDUX, a Feb. 12-14 encore series that brings together “some of the best faces in the NYC storytelling scene.” Carlo was inspired to flesh out her nascent show about Brooklyn gentrification by a May 31, 2015 op-ed in the New York Daily News. Written by architectural historian Francis Morronne, the piece was headlined “No, New York City Is Not Losing Its Soul: What the Anti-Gentrification Handwringers Fail to Understand About the City’s Past, Present and Future.

Carlo wrote a letter to the paper at the time about the article and today revisits that spark, again in the Daily News:

While writing that [2015 letter], my thoughts flashed back to a frantic apartment search a couple of years before, when I overheard a conversation in which one newcomer referred to the native New Yorkers remaining on her street as “the leftovers.” I filed those words away when I heard them under “what can you do,” but as I kept coming back to them after my letter ran I realized there was something I could do: I wrote There Goes the Neighborhood, a show about the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood from the point of view of four different inhabitants of it.

It’s a show for all of us – leftovers and transplants – who’ve given their love, sweat and guts to make this city unique. For everyone who has worried about where they would “get” to live next. And for all the mom-and-pop small businesses that are our neighborhood’s anchors. For those of us here now who know that a future NYC filled with branded luxury towers and big-box chain stores will no longer be our NYC. For the future inhabitants, and anyone curious about our city, so they will know those of us who lived in these neighborhoods and why we mattered.

Well said. Carlo will perform her show again March 23 at the City Lore Gallery in the East Village. And there couldn’t really be a better place than The Tank for a show like this. The non-profit’s mission is to support worthy local artists by providing the free performance space of a 62-seat black box theater.
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