Every Brooklyn neighborhood gets its turn as fodder for a trend piece, and for a while now, the southern part of Williamsburg has been the subject of a whole lot of speculation. There was that inane Times article drumming up a rivalry between the North Side and the South Side (the supposed “Mason-Dixon line” is Grand St.), and more generally, news has been snowballing about things like enormous luxury hotels, and pricey condos at The Oosten being developed by Chinese investors. A lot of stuff’s going on down in JMZ territory. Now the Post has added to the pile, with a story about the neighborhood “growing up” via a head-spinning boom of new development. So, time to flee before it’s too late?
Well, soundbites like “The wind is at the back of developers” aren’t especially promising, and the sheer volume of developments going in is hard to even fathom—there’s a large, pricey new building at 456 Grand, another at 146 South 4th, a building on Wythe called “The Williamsburg,” The Oosten (which the Post notes will “up the neighborhood’s game, luxury-wise”) and of course, the Domino Sugar Factory.
But in the same breath, the article gets into a different type of development on the south side, the arrival of amenities like a large new grocery store (the neighborhood was previously devoid), a new nursery and pre-school, and places like OTB and Baby’s All Right. In other words, the arrival of things that can be (and already are being) put to good use by residents, not just gleaming, isolated towers geared toward people who can pay $3,000/month for a 1-bedroom.
Anyway, it’d be a little dramatic to declare anything dead just yet (or ever, if we’re really being sensible), but it’ll be interesting to see how this new influx of wealthy residents will play out over the next couple of years. For now, we’ll always have East River Bar.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.