Because every neighborhood has to be the “next” something, and, more to the point, because no Brooklyn neighborhood can go undeveloped, it would seem East New York is on deck to get some new residents, and some higher housing prices. The Daily News recently dubbed the area a “home buying frontier,” (a theory that would seem to be bearing out) and now Untapped Cities has a thoughtful look at what’s going on in a neighborhood that, while it’s improved, can still rightly be deemed the “murder capital” of the city.
From the sound of it, the area hasn’t exactly taken on much of Bushwick’s “playground for 20-somethings-with-disposable income” hallmarks:
A walking tour reveals few of stores that the young and well-to-do have come to know and love. There are plenty of hair salons and 99-cent stores, as well as a bizarre preponderance of tax prep places, but prepared food in the vicinity is strictly limited: there’s a chicken and biscuits place, a Golden Krust, and a Chinese take-away kitchen, where a fried chicken liver and a fried half-chicken cost $3.50 and $4.50, respectively (cheaper than Bushwick!). The local grocery offers more Spam and liter-bottles of soda than a gentrifier might like, though tofu, hummus, and soy milk have made inroads. As for night life, the gentrifier is advised to look elsewhere: as Barney, a longtime resident, explained to Untapped Cities, there’s not enough disposable income in the area to justify investment in a bar or nightclub (yet!).
A lack of bars and restaurants does not a “next Bushwick” make! But then, when I first lived off the JMZ in Bushwick there weren’t really any bars that weren’t Lone Wolf, and inside of two years, the area around Myrtle-Broadway exploded (and became too expensive for me to live in anymore). When these things happen, they tend to happen fast. For now, East New York just seems to be getting safer (other than iPhone snatchings, which are up), and a little more expensive. It’s also something of a haven for low-income residents who’ve already been priced out of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy and moved in as a “last resort,” as Untapped Cities points out. In that regard, it’s been “the next Bushwick” for a while now, which raises another, more important question: if the current residents do find themselves getting squeezed out by new residents, what’ll be the next East New York?
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.