An opus on the state of Bushwick in 2016.
As much as Annabelle hated to admit it, the neighborhood really had changed. More progressive types had moved to Brooklyn in the past few years and their liberal antics sometimes made her seriously consider moving back to Montana. Annabelle wasn’t from Fort Greene originally, but she’d lived in the neighborhood a hell of a lot longer than these yo-yos. She was taller and longer than each of them, by at least a foot in both directions. Her tail and claws were much more serious too.
DEPTH OF FIELD—I read on the internet the other day that Europeans brought the rat to Hawaii, and it took over the island in a New York minute. But what exactly it took over isn’t clear to me. Alleyways? The space between walls? Everyone has space between walls. That’s where the outside meets the inside and they find their balance, like in a decompression chamber. You don’t want to let the outside in.
According to Laurie Cumbo, founder and director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporic Arts in Fort Greene, gentrification is our 800 pound gorilla in the room. In their new exhibit, “The Gentrification of Brooklyn: The Pink Elephant Speaks” it is her hope that the 22 participating artists will utilize the power of their voice to address it.
A week ago, I received an email about a vacant industrial warehouse on 46th Street in Sunset Park that recently sold for $1,100,000. Each of the 4,900 square feet came to $225. I wondered why a bare bones property like this would cost so much, but somewhere out there a landlord was probably excited that it cost so little.
This is the landlord-tenant language divide.
Playwright and native New Yorker Danny Hoch knows where the money is, and he’s showing everyone.
“Do you hear the crickets?,” asked Ali Jafri, a broker for Prudential Douglas Elliman. We were standing on the ninth-floor balcony of a brand-new three-bedroom condominium for sale at 20 Bayard Street in Williamsburg. “That’s something you won’t get in Manhattan.”
These days, Mr. Jafri might hear crickets more often than he’d like. It was the Sunday before the European markets began to tumble, during peak open house hours, and the buyer traffic through Brooklyn’s newer towers was slow. Just a few days earlier, The New York Times had declared that “the credit crisis and the turmoil on Wall Street are bringing New York’s real estate boom to an end.”
I love the Q train. O.K., I love the B, too, but it’s the Q that’s stolen my heart.
When I moved back to Brooklyn in January, the biggest factor in finding an apartment was its proximity to this train line, and especially to the 7th Avenue station (a nice change of pace after riding the G train for three years). It’s just far enough into Brooklyn that I am in a quiet, residential neighborhood, but also only the third stop into the borough, easily depositing me anywhere I need to go in Manhattan.
Last week, I was invited for beers in the comfy backyard of a gorgeous brownstone in the Slope and we got to talking about what life is like in Brooklyn’s utopian paradise.
“That’s Brooklyn Heights over there,” said the 47-year-old driver of a Brooklyn-bound double-decker Gray Line tour bus, pointing across the East River. “Wherever there’s water, there’s money, and I don’t mean a puddle on the street.”