When gentrifiers are pushed out of Brooklyn to places like New Jersey

Gentrifying doesn’t last forever: when the big money arrives, gentrifiers in places like Brooklyn have to move on.

By many measures, Jeff Huston and his wife, Lisa Medvedik-Huston, arrived late to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They weren’t among the first waves of artists and hipsters in the early-to-mid ’90s to cross the East River in search of cheaper, grittier confines. When they rented a spacious, duplex loft two blocks from the Bedford Avenue subway stop in 2007, they found a safe neighborhood already dotted with clothing boutiques and wine shops. The height of the real estate boom was approaching, and condos were rising along both the waterfront and McCarren Park…

And last year, when they were ready to buy, the couple quickly realized they had been priced out. “I can’t tell you how many listings said, ‘cash only,’ ” said Mr. Huston, whose real estate search included everything from $500,000 apartments to $900,000 fixer-upper rowhouses and took him from Williamsburg to Bedford-Stuyvesant. “That was a wake-up call.”…

And so the Hustons bid farewell to Brooklyn. In October, they spent $550,000 on a 2,000-square-foot loft in a converted suitcase factory in Jersey City Heights, a section of Jersey City that overlooks Hoboken. “We weren’t sure there was anyone like us in the neighborhood,” he said. Then a Brooklyn-style coffee shop arrived. “The line down the street was all people like us. We could have been in Williamsburg. It was all, like, expats.”…

Many have tried in earnest to stay in Brooklyn, squeezing into smaller spaces or heading deeper into the borough in search of affordability. But there comes a point when that hourlong commute becomes difficult to justify, and the realization strikes that a house with a yard in Maplewood, N.J., can be had for about the same price as a condo in Midwood.

Gentrification tends to draw attention – whether from existing residents who see problems in new residents moving in or from people celebrating the revival of a neighborhood – but this is a reminder that neighborhoods can go through numerous cycles. In this case, Brooklyn’s real estate is on a continued upward swing due to a lack of inventory and high prices in nearby Manhattan. But, even that upward swing is not guaranteed and is contingent on future social and economic changes.

It would also be interesting to track what happens to these ex-pats from Brooklyn. These changes to Brooklyn have the potential to transform numerous other communities, like the “hipsturbia” north of New York City. Opinions and studies about gentrification tend to focus on a defined geographic location but this limits seeing the true big impact gentrification can have across a metropolitan region.

0 thoughts on “When gentrifiers are pushed out of Brooklyn to places like New Jersey

  1. Pingback: As a suburb, Ferguson is not that unusual | Legally Sociable

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