There was a time, historians say, when Manhattan's Lower East Side was home to a thriving community of wretched poor people. Now, their former tenements host only idle young yuppie layabouts such as yourself. Where shall the L.E.S.'s poor-helpers go?

The Jesuits, who have a thing for educating the poor, are preparing to leave the Lower East Side for good after four decades. Their target demographic, the poor, can't afford to live there any more, and the Jesuits need to go where their base is. So the pastor takes a trip out to the South Bronx to scout for new locations for a school:

"This is fantastic!" Father Podsiadlo said. "There's public housing, and look at those bodegas. It's alive. There're two subway stations on the street, and that's important, too...

"These parks are more beautiful than the ones in Manhattan," he said, passing by St. Mary's Park. "Look at all I've missed being in Manhattan for so long."

Jeez, he sounds just like a realtor. And next thing you know in 40 years, the yuppies come in. Jesuits: gentrification's earliest explorers!

[NYT. Pic via]