Amidst Pandemic, Westville Sees An Unexpected Renaissance

October 16, 2020, By Lucy Gellman- "A group of six dancers practiced their best bachata sidestep in Edgewood Park. Just up the street, diners sat down with matching mojitos, scanning a menu that included tacos, fragrant ceviche, and butter-smooth guacamole studded with red onion. Half a block away, Mohamanad Hafez poured his dozenth cup of coffee for the day and set a vegan baklava gingerly beside it. That’s the scene in Westville, which has become an unexpected story of economic resiliency in the midst of COVID-19. As the number of empty storefronts seem to multiply downtown, they are shrinking in the neighborhood, where the heart of Westville Village seems more vibrant than it has been for some time. While the neighborhood has seen one COVID-19-related casualty and one move—a beauty bar and Neville Wisdom's design studio respectively—three new eating establishments have moved in with Pistachio Cafe, Delaney’s and Camacho Garage. There are rumblings of a new space in Manjares. Foot traffic, by all accounts, is up.   “I think now, even with everything you see around the country, this little village is doing okay,” said Gabriel DaSilva, board president of the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (WVRA) and the owner of an eponymously named frame shop and gallery on Whalley Avenue, at WVRA's annual meeting last month. “This little group of stakeholders that really believe in us...” Click HERE to comment and read full article.

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