Manifest Bushwick: Colony 1209 Seeks Colonists, Settlers, Natives

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Bushwick’s hottest rentals are making gentrification vintage—so vintage it’s actually just colonialism. The name alone is pretty up-front about its intentions and its self-conception, so much so that the rhetoric of Colony 1209’s entire site makes it sound like a “Go West, Young Man” brochure, or a leaflet about life on the Moon.

To be fair, to Colony 1209’s target audience, Bushwick might as well be the Moon. (One of the website’s pages is titled, a bit too aptly, “Where is this place?”) “Here, in bohemian Bushwick, Brooklyn,” the developer entices, “you’ll find a group of like-minded settlers, mixing the customs of their original homeland with those of one of NYC’s most historic neighborhoods to create art. community, and a new lifestyle.” So don’t be alarmed if you see a group of men in khakis making white wine sangria with seasonal fruits from their CSA, they’re just celebrating their original homeland—Katonah.

Colony 1209 has amenities like art gallery space, ping pong tables, lucite chairs, “graffiti,” and wheat paper posters (which all feature white people on beaches?), all of which contribute to the incredibly confused and confusing aesthetic of the building’s spaces. The exterior is Kent Avenue Modern, the interior communal spaces a bit more Overwrought Downtown Co–Working Space, while the example apartments display a striking marriage of CB2 and West Elm.

“We’ve already surveyed the territory for you,” the website assures, as though “colonists” will need a local fixer to navigate around all the Poor. “You’ll feel like a Bushwick native in no time.” Will you though? Because I think a lot of them have had to leave. Where to? Who knows! Maybe Ridgew—oh, wait. Nevermind. “Need to venture into the city?” No, you won’t because you’re still in The City. Bushwick is in Brooklyn, is in New York City. Couldn’t you tell from the “bourgeoning art scene, cutting-edge eateries, historic mansions, yoga studios, and parks”? Or did you think you were in Hudson?

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The narrative of Brooklyn-as-pre-Columbian-wilderness has ascended to a new height in Colony 1209, one that is as upsetting as it was predictable. With every trendpiece reaching deeper into the outer boroughs as Manhattan rents skyrocket emptily, this was bound to happen. And what’s worse, without the confines of a coastline or developer-proof zoning laws, neighborhoods like Bushwick and Crown Heights and even “Quooklyn” (gag) are open season for high-rise luxury predation, gentrifying at a faster pace than their predecessors. What’s worse is that this new rapid-fire development aims to “fit in” with the “bohemians” and the “art scene”—and expects its tenants will want or be able to, for more than $3,000 a month. For any remaining local bohemians, and the actual Bushwick natives colonists of Colony 1209 may hope to emulate, Colony 1209 is tantamount to an eviction notice.

Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I recently moved into this building after dealing with greedy Brooklyn landlords who were unresponsive until you withheld rent. My experience at 1209 Dekalb, The Colony, has been quite the opposite, thanks to a Super and team that actually care.

    I’m a sound engineer and have bumped into several residents who are also working on movies and projects. Haven’t seen those Katonah khakis yet – feels a bit more Park Slope dad – but you never know.

    Listen, I get the colonist’s comedic fodder – I’m guessing the site was produced by some agency in the Midwest – but, why pit neighbor against neighbor? What good comes from suggesting that residents will need to “navigate around the poor,” as if we are all a bunch of douches?

    As the son of a man who grew up in working class neighborhood like this, I kind of take offense. Nuf said.

    Fortunately, the surrounding neighbors have been welcoming and the actual experience doesn’t match up to the picture you paint. I do see that businesses like Champs and Merv’s deli/grocery on the corner of Dekalb and Bushwick continue to upgrade and expand their offerings which is a great benefit for all.

  2. I recently moved into this building after dealing with greedy Brooklyn landlords who never responded unless you withheld rent. My experience at 1209 Dekalb, The Colony, has been stellar thanks to a great Super and staff who actually care about their tenants.

    Haven’t seen the Katonah khakis – feels very Park Slope dad – but I do meet a fair amount of people like myself, who are working on movies, videos or nonprofits.

    Listen, I get the colonist’s comedic fodder — I’m guessing the site was produced by some agency in the Midwest who thought it was “cute.” But, why do you and several other writers continue to pit neighbor against neighbor? What good comes from suggesting that residents will have to “navigate around the poor,” as if we’re a bunch of DBs? I take offense to that on behalf of the hard-working families across this side of Bushwick.

    Fortunately, the actual experience doesn’t resemble the picture you paint. And I see that businesses like Champs and Merv’s deli on the corner of Bushwick/Dekalb continue to upgrade and expand their offerings which is a great benefit to all.

    Other than that, I”m a big fan of BKMag+

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