By Hadassa Kalatizadeh
Brooklyn’s Williamsburg once had hamlets that allowed a hip younger generation to enjoy their own lot of paradise. In 2019, Maria Rivera-Diaz, a 31-year old lawyer and student moved from Atlanta to NY, searching for someplace “cool and artsy” to call home, she told the NY Post. East Williamsburg, a neighborhood that was for decades known for its creative class culture, seemed to answer the calling for her and other millennials. “[I wanted] a less densely populated area with a younger crowd, a more hipster vibe and more divey bars,” Rivera-Diaz said. She found a new home on the western corner of Metropolitan Avenue near the Grand Avenue L train stop, in a neighborhood far from the East River.
Her side of Brooklyn was once larger with many edgy Bohemian perks, thrift shops and dive bars. Now, it seems to some, as though the Big Apple is spreading out and swallowing her neighborhood too. The affordable hip homes are being replaced by billion-dollar developments and luxury apartment towers with posh amenities. To accommodate the new upscale residents, the waterfront streets and being filled by banks and big-name franchises.
With the onset of the pandemic, many have been leaving Manhattan in search for a less crowded place to live with more outdoor space. This has led to more Williamsburg developments, and milennials now feel like they are being crowded out. “The mall-ification of Williamsburg with massive towers and huge buildings, a lot of people didn’t come to Brooklyn for that,” said Molly Franklin, a Corcoran realtor with experience in the neighborhood. “The creative class started moving south and east.”
As reported by the NY Post, new and pre-development boutique condo buildings are popping up left and right — including at 175 Jackson, 52 Maspeth and 83 Humboldt. The asking prices range from $650,000 to $1.9 million, no longer budget-friendly for hip youngsters. The median ask in East Williamsburg is now $1.12 million, getting close to the $1.3 ask in Williamsburg. New rental buildings have recently risen up in the area too, including the 116-unit building at 222 Johnson by Bushwick Avenue, and the 35-unit Milo at 885 Grand in East Williamsburg. The median asking rent in East Williamsburg is now about $2,800, edging closer to the $3,000 ask in traditional Williamsburg, as per StreetEasy.