Maybe you weren’t convinced by personal experience, the stories about rent hikes that come out basically every week, these ridiculous, terrible ad guys and their ridiculous, terrible poker game, or even the actual map of Brooklyn’s gentrification, indicating a 174% spike in Williamsburg rents. No, there’s still no way to really be sure that Williamsburg has been utterly, maybe irreparably ravaged by rampant real estate speculation.
But maybe 1) a trend piece about wealthy retirees moving to the neighborhood that was 2) published in the New York Post will do it?
“You had this perception [of Williamsburg],” a broker told the paper, “but the hipsters got older, had babies, and now the 50s and 60s are coming here. I had clients who sold their house in Westchester, and wanted to be close to their 20-something kids.”
And that in and of itself is not particularly preposterous or condemnable. Family time is nice. What is sort of condemnable is the broker who explains that most young people have no chance of moving into the neighborhood because “Prices are actually escalating by the day [and] people bid over asking price,” or the Post‘s note of one new 61-year-old resident, “[he] has a mustache, but it’s connected to a well-groomed, conservative goatee.”
Huh. But someone has to be a voice of reason in this thoroughly-reported piece, right? Someone in this new demographic that experts say only represents 5 to 7 percent of the neighborhood? Maybe it’s restaurateur and Edge condos resident Albert Baudo.
“After 15 years of living in lower Manhattan, I needed to see the sky, the sun rise, something other than other buildings around me,” Baudo said. Reasonable enough. “Plus, Williamsburg is the most interesting, most vital, most energetic neighborhood. It gives me the energy of SoHo 20 years ago — now SoHo is more like a mall. There are no more independent stores.” Which, good point. There’s no way anything like that will ever happen in Williamsburg. Not a chance.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.