Greenpoint’s Manhattan Ave Ain’t What It Used To Be

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It’s no secret that Greenpoint’s been developing at a rapid clip over the past few years, with an influx of new residents, rising housing prices, and a rush of new businesses (not to mention the contested Greenpoint Landing development, which’ll speed all these things along considerably, a la Williamsburg post-re-zoning). Yesterday, Bedford + Bowery ran a thoughtful look at one of the neighborhood’s main drags (and one of my favorite streets in all of Brooklyn), Manhattan Ave. As you’d probably guess, it chronicles a lot of longtime Polish businesses going under, though an employee of the struggling, family-owned Polski Meat Market noted, “I don’t care. The neighborhood needs some changes. There used to be a lot more Polish people living here. Now there’s a lot more different people.” As with all stories of gentrification and development, it’s… a bit complicated.

Some of the mom-and-pop stores the area was known for were driven out of business, but others—like Peter Pan, Polonia, and (I’d hope) the hole-in-the-wall, byob miracle that is Lomzynianka—are doing better than ever. And even a few of the longtime Polish residents who lost their businesses are also now able to turn a profit renting out their old businesses as expensive apartments. And the apartments are expensive: “They weren’t getting $60, $70, $80 a square foot before, and they are now,” a Douglas Elliman agent said of the neighborhood’s commercial spaces. “Some of that has to do with Greenpoint Landing.” Still a relative bargain compared to Williamsburg and Bedford Ave’s going rate of $200 to $250, but likely not the last we’ll hear of the area’s prices going up, either.

With that, the best quote of the piece comes from local real estate agent Jarek Czajkowski, who told the site,  “The prices are crazy, the valuations are just — I don’t know, I don’t know who is buying this. It’s like it’s all on steroids. People are paying a couple million dollars for the shed.” You said it, Jarek. I don’t know who is buying this either! Or where they’re getting all that money, and how I can lay claim to some of it myself. Regardless, let’s be sure to really savor those jello shots at the place off the Nassau stop while we still can, alright?

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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