Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The Coming Real Estate Disaster for White-People Brooklyn

So the Brooklyn baby boom for the white hipster crowd is in full amazing swing. Saturday in Carroll Gardens is Dadurday! So many bearded tattooed dads in cool kicks. And this crowd (ages 26 to 35, essentially) is relentlessly nuclear. These couples live alone with their one-and-a-half kids. So many scooters with matching helmets. And they are split between renters and owners.

Now, what I can tell you about this amazingly traditional set is that, as they approach 40, about half of them will be getting divorced. I'm sorry! But yes.

The stages of urban young adult life are: marriage boom, baby boom, divorce boom, believe it. It happens really fast, and it happens in waves in your cohort, and it's intense.

And their divorce boom is when the demand for Brooklyn real estate is going to double.

All these mega-involved dads, with their hyper-nostalgic 1950s parenting play-acting, are going to need their own apartments when they have to move out. And so while the family units are consolidated now, soon they're all going to need two nearby Brooklyn apartments—both with enough room for the kids.

Because hipster adult visitation is going to be frequent. And these are not people who like to commute. There'll be none of this "you can have the kids in summer" stuff that the previous generation did. It's going to be like three days on, three days off—or-three day alternating weekends, or alternating weeks. And given the pressure for establishing residence for the "good" schools, it's going to have a devastating impact on real estate and on vacancy rate.

(Sidebar: as usual, who's going to suffer most for the people with children? The childless. But let's not get started on that. Though the good news is that the divorced people with kids will also absorb some childless people into their households, in the form of new boyfriends and girlfriends and future spouses. The bad news is that none of these young radicals will embrace anything resembling communal living, unless the real estate situation gets so bad that it forces them into it. Which could happen!)

Fortunately, Prudential Douglas Elliman is just now opening an office on Court, just a couple blocks down from Carroll Gardens Park, so the straight people can have solid representation when they double down on their real estate holdings. It's gonna be a hot mess.

70 Comments / Post A Comment

flossy (#1,402)

Well, there's always Que–sorry, I can't even.

Queso fresco, mmmm yes.

Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent?

SuperWittySmitty (#6,160)

@flossy I don't know. I've lived in Sunnyside (Queens) for around 20 years now and I love it. (I was born in Queens but we moved to LI when I was a child.)

The few times I've visited Brooklyn were disappointments- grim, old, and foreboding. The "nicer" neighborhoods were pretentious and the other neighborhoods were scary. Here in Sunnyside, we have a quality that is welcoming – many of my neighbors have been here for a long time, while the recent arrivals seem to assimilate without any difficulty. We have good restaurants and good markets- even a 24-hour bagel store run by an Israeli. Good luck in Brooklyn, but I think most of your glory is long gone.

Colby (#233,533)

What you're suggesting is a more of a looming housing crisis for the hipster parents you hold in such contempt, not a real estate disaster, right?

barnhouse (#1,326)

I reckon less of them get divorced. I mean, I hope so, because getting divorced is truly horrific. They got married later, had kids later, and especially they weren't as forced by their unendingly irritating parents to get married (because shacking up forbidden.) Fingers x'ed for more general happiness, anyways.

NeonTrotsky (#2,249)

@barnhouse Also, I imagine Millennials might have a certain aversion to divorce given the number of them who were raised by divorced parents. So, maybe there's that too?

barnhouse (#1,326)

@NeonTrotsky Here's hopin'.

Joey Camire (#6,325)

@barnhouse There are a bunch of studies floating around confirming this. Educated people (which are the ones that can afford to live in the Brooklyn Choire is speaking of) are getting divorced at a much reduced clip.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Look out Cold Spring!

TableNine (#1,104)

@dntsqzthchrmn shhh

camelface (#4,600)

Have you met any Brooklyn parents? Everyone knows the kids will stay put in the primary residence and the parents will pack out for alternating trips to the one-bedroom down the street. Could you imagine having to pack up Mara and Maxximillion's ENTIRE SAT prep library every other Friday just so they can unpack it again when they get to their Mother's house?

BadUncle (#153)

It's not just single people that lose, here. When Prudential Realty moved in, they got rid of the previous tennants' roll-up gate. And that means there's no place to hitch your dog when you go to the bakery, next door. So who also loses, hipster divorcees? Dogs, that's who. Why do you have to be mean to dogs??

Just accept the inevitable and move to Forest Hills or West Orange.

skahammer (#587)

@BadUncle I have zero sympathy for hipster dogs.

And here I thought that the real estate situation in Brooklyn couldn't get any more depressing.

dado (#102)

Here's the thing about divorce. A marriage can only end one of two ways. One is divorce, the other is death. Which side of the trade do you want to be on?

Matt Gross (#6,983)

Nice premise. Too bad it's founded on a lousy assumption. Reports in the last few years show that New York City—and Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island—have particularly low rates of divorce compared with the national average. Somewhere south of 8.4 percent, if we can believe this story < http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NYers-Have-One-of-Lowest-Divorce-Rates-in-Nation-61442622.html>.

That "half of all marriages end in divorce" stat that we all heard growing up in the 80s and 90s? Not true anymore, particularly for young people today who lived through their parents' horrible split-ups and, it seems, have made wiser choices.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Matt Gross: they might not actually legally divorce in a lot of cases, but still live/date separately. Legally divorcing is an onerous and expensive process in New York!

Matt (#26)

You have a lot of opinions on his opinions on other people's personal business that he knows nothing about and never will for someone who knows nothing about them and never will. He likes you, too!

heb (#23,764)

@sharilyn We're practically giving them away here in the Midwest! And they all come with a den. A den! Can you even believe it?!

@Matt Gross And the divorce rate is lower for couples who marry later in life which is typical of that group of adults in Brooklyn.

Madame Psychosis (#81,523)

@sharilyn No-fault divorce is legal in New York now, has been for about a year, so it's not nearly as expensive or onerous as it once was. Glad I stayed in my failing marriage long enough for that to happen!

You beautiful genius! Somewhere an embryonic Times trend piece just shot itself. [And every time a trend piece dies an angel gets rent control]

@My Number Is My Address There are not enough thumbs in the world to express my admiration for this comment.

City_Dater (#2,500)

This looming real estate crisis is also what I think of whenever I see one of these couples on the train, having the sad tense nonfight that has clearly become their standard mode of discourse.

That, and if I think the dad is cute enough to put up with the children on alternate weekends.

Colby (#233,533)

@City_Dater I think you are confusing the cumulative effect of sleep deprivation with a "sad tense nonfight"

Mr. B (#10,093)

White-people Brooklyn? But what about the Kurds?

mishaps (#5,779)

@Mr. B the Kurdish Library in Brooklyn closed when the lady who ran it died. Those people can't catch a break.

C_Webb (#855)

I'm divorced, and now live in sin with my boyfriend and my two kids. Am I part of the problem, or the solution?

So… everyone will be Louis C.K.

lol @ "hyper-nostalgic 1950s parenting play-acting".

skahammer (#587)

@Reginal T. Squirge All these mega-involved dads, with their hyper-nostalgic 1950s parenting play-acting

Yes, that caught me too. I'm not in NY, so sometimes I need guidance: Is this a joke, or an actual thing?

Again, it's both.

areaderwrites (#592)

@Reginal T. Squirge a thousand times, this

UrsNY@twitter (#233,534)

I wait on tenterhooks to see what kind of twee, pretentious branding they give divorce, while their rent inflation spreads. Yet another reason I'm satisfied about moving from Brooklyn to Queens.

riotnrrd (#840)

Let's brainstorm some insufferable vocabulary for the inevitable Times' trend-piece. I'll start:

"prevorce" – New, cutesy term for "trial separation"

skahammer (#587)

@riotnrrd: Oooh, that's good.

freetzy (#7,018)

The gay divorce boom will be interesting too.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@freetzy Not without the extra space necessary for the kids, and not when you don't have to stick around in the same hood for the no-commute visitations. The whole point of this article is for the gays to have a go at the breeders who are apparently ruining "Brooklyn" for "everyone".

See, there is an inherent problem with being a parent that people who are into other lifestyles don't have: you have to move within a huge cumbersome pack and hijack an entire hood, if you want your child to go to a school (which most people do). Therefore, you have to start going on everyone's nerves due the amount of resources you and your whole tribe of fellow parents are hogging.

So, the argument is: if you want a child, you should give up on being cool, cut the hipster shtick and move to Jersey (or Queens).

brad (#1,678)

this may be the biggest load of horseshit i've read all day. and i've read a lot of horseshit.

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Niko Bellic : in all seriousness, one of the main reasons a lot of us non-parenting singletons moved to Brooklyn in the first place was to get away from all the twee childrearing in the suburbs. So as whiny as it is, I feel my neighbors when they cringe over the strollers in the local bar. NIMBY! But yes, a bit whiny too.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@sharilyn Yeah, sorry. Turns out Brooklyn is not an alternative lifestyle commune you were hoping for, but a real city. People do all kinds of shit here, including raising children. Sort of like they do in London, Paris, Madrid, etc. Bummer, right?

Strollers in bars?

sharilyn (#4,599)

@Niko Bellic : Eh, I'm kind of over it now, as I live in a relatively ungentrified corner of BK and have developed a passion for gardening. We all get older eventually.

Anarcissie (#3,748)

UrsNY — Don't tell them about Queens or they'll come over here.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Anarcissie At this point, you should conclude that people are not coming to Queens for reasons other than not having heard about it.

Hey, what about if white people Brooklyn expands a little and takes over a couple parts of black people Brooklyn? Then all the white people will be OK! It's so crazy that it just might work.

davidwatts (#72)

Or, "Writer Justifies His Decision to Move Out of State."

joeks (#5,805)

Remember what happened after your parents got divorced?

That's right! They got remarried.

Bittersweet (#765)

@joeks Well, the dads did, anyway.

HiredGoons (#603)

short-selling on the unhappiness of others is one way to pass the time I guess.

skahammer (#587)

@HiredGoons: Teach me your ways, Goons.

Jasons_Johnson (#3,341)

In Chicken Little's World™, the sky is *always* falling. I love you Awl, this article missed the mark. Loaded with too much prejudice against parents to begin with to even take the divorce commentary seriously.

What ever shall the childless in Brooklyn do with all these slutty breeders taking up twice as much space as the rest of us? WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN???

MichelleDean (#7,041)

I think they're actually invading upstate, these hipsters. I hear tales from Hudson that would chill your soul.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

I just did a quick search of the demographics and real estate economics literatures, and I'm going to have to go with [citation needed] here.

johnhbo (#233,556)

i like your side……////////

Anarcissie (#3,748)

Niko — I doubt that. Queens is paradise.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Anarcissie I will agree with you on the first rule of Queens: don't talk about Queens.

Matt McCabe@twitter (#226,611)

Did dads in the 50's really do anything but drink and avoid their families? Not just talking about TV shows. Not too sure they were running the kids ragged on the weekends back then.

@Matt McCabe@twitter
From your post, it appears that you narcissism is blocking your view of history.

SidAndFinancy (#4,328)

@Dave Jenkins@facebook: Facebook bringing it to Twitter!

As someone who got his first tattoo in the 80s, moved to Brooklyn in the Aughts, and became a father in this decade…

…this post confuses me. Am I supposed to feel smug or guilty?

hambone (#233,596)

@flossy So it takes 20 years to get desensitized to Queens living?

largemarge (#233,602)

wow-there's so much barely contained anger out there in the BK, huh? also, I smell just a bit of homophobia. just enough to grossed out.

Cliff Spab (#84)

It's going to happen just like Choire says it is. Because never doubt a gay about divorces, is what I'm saying.

Oh and don't forget this: http://bit.ly/Mm3h7B

MYMag surveyed currently/recently departed finance workers who want to "do something different"–in other words, Live The Dream. And what is The Dream? For 74%, "a loft apartment, sustainable living, and a fixie."

Breeders v. Bankers 2013

Really hope your wrong, kids need a good solid family, not a broken one.

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