Who’s still hanging in Williamsburg?

Lizz Kannenberg by Lizz Kannenberg

In mid-July I traveled to Brooklyn to take a look at how gentrification has affected some of the New York neighborhoods with close proximity to Manhattan. When I asked the residents of Williamsburg, an area that has recently garnered attention as an example of the perils of overanxious urban development, for their thoughts on the change from ethnic enclave to hipster haven, most told me I was about 10 years too late to get the real story.

I have to disagree, because what prompted my trip was a recent New York Times piece about the recession’s effect on these gentrified areas on New York City where many young, urbane and cool young folks have paid rent with their parents’ dollars. When the recession caused Mom and Dad to pull in the financial reins, many of these “trustafarians” were forced to leave the gentrified areas. I wanted to figure out what was next for Williamsburg.

It will be a while before any of us know for sure, but the dropping rents mean that a neighborhood once closed to all but the wealthiest of New Yorkers may once again be open to a more economically and culturally diverse population.

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