In the 1980s, Manayunk was infested with blue collar white trash who suffered from the decline of manufacturing jobs. It also had many empty storefronts along Main Street, its primary commercial street.
In the 1990s, Manayunk's rebirth and gentrification could be attributed to the opening of several upscale restaurants on Main Street. These restaurants were backed by developers who promoted Manayunk as a place to visit. Manayunk retained its small-town charm with its small 2 and 3-story rowhomes, cobblestone paving, and hilly streets. Many people who visited decided to stay and renovate the small rowhomes characteristic of the area. They also chased the remnants of the old mill worker whitetrash up the hill into Roxborough thus completeing the yuppie conquest of the yunk! Demand for housing in the area has lead to the converting of the former mills into loft apartments, and upscale shops started replacing the empty storefronts and trashy mom-and-pop stores. In 2004, a new condominium tower was built on part of Venice Island, and in 2005 there are plans to build more condominium towers to replace the closed soap and paper factories.