Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The Two Brooklyn Neighborhoods That Got White Almost Overnight

The Fordham Institute analyzed the fastest-whitening neighborhoods in America between 2000 and 2010, according to census data. Brooklyn had four of the most-whitened zip codes of the top 25 most-whitened zip codes in all of America. We win!

And when you map it out, those four zip codes actually make up just two areas that are contiguous. I've combined them here on Google Maps.

• First: 11238 and 11205. That's Prospect Heights, essentially, to the south, and then where Fort Greene and Clinton Hill meet. Lemme tell you, I was right living right there in the middle, on the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene border, last week, and glorious Clinton Avenue is basically a flood of white ladies reading their iPhones on their way home from the C train.

• The other connected duo are 11206 and 11237, which are, LOL, "East Williamsburg." Williamswick. Bushwickburg. Whatever. Straight up Bushwick. Montrose L stop, so much to answer for. (via.)


One person notes correctly that part of the top map includes a quadrant of Crown Heights in the bottom right. This is true! (Crown Heights goes to Washington and to Atlantic.) But Crown Heights proper is 11213—that's "south of Bed Stuy" Crown Heights—and we didn't see anything like the same amount of gentrifying in that zip code. So we should acknowledge that zip includes Crown Heights, which is seeing change for sure; but I'm blaming the top two-thirds of that zip.

I can't speak for everyone "snarking" (ugh) about this, but, uh, yes? That seems pretty obvious. (Sidebar: in fact we remember quite well when the first black man moved to Fort Greene. So you know, 120 years ago, Fort Greene was entirely white. And then became… enblackened. LOL.)

And this is very whatever:

These are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood.

29 Comments / Post A Comment

Max Clarke (#3,635)

Or "The 'Shwick", as I've heard the youngsters call it.

petey (#8,666)

I'm looking forward to the obligatory comments from self-hating middle class white people about they abhor gentrification while simultaneously enjoying new cafes and restaurants in these very neighborhoods. Go!

Lemonnier (#14,611)

@petey Yeah, it's weird. Every time a white person complains about white gentrification in Brooklyn, I suggest they move to Newark, Birmingham, or Jackson, MS. And they look at me like I'm crazy!

icecastle (#234,714)

@Lemonnier Newark gentrifier right here. Represent.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@petey Gentrification is fine. The thing that we are thinking of when we complain should be called corporatification. I don't know anyone who's complaining about a random coffee shop. Why would anyone not want a damn coffee shop? Starbucks on the other hand is a whole different game (which I don't need to explain, I hope).

superyamato (#235,999)

@petey Many of the big box stores and fast food chains opening in my section of Bushwick are overwhelmingly patronized and staffed by Latinos, not white folks. They don't seem to have the preoccupation with shopping local that many white Brooklynites do.

"we win!" , .. .what does that mean?

@William Ventura@twitter
If "which region got whitest fastest" were a contest, Brooklyn would win. I also detect a not so subtle hint of sarcasm.

@sorry your heinous
I haven't lived in New York for over 20 years now. When I did live there I was always looking for areas with the most diversity. The most mom and pop shops. So the comment "we win!" does not compute.
For me it should read "we lost!", however I guess that's just me.. . I guess I'm trying to understand if being the whitest is desirable and goal of other neighborhoods in New York at this junction?
Or this piece was written as satire and I missed it.. .

@William Ventura@twitter Yup, written as satire, and yup, you missed it.

sharilyn (#4,599)

I live in 11206 and we prefer "Billywick". It's actually pretty distinct from the rest of Bushwick by being largely residential – everything east of Bushwick Ave is noticeably more industrial. It's nice and quiet and still overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking.

davidwatts (#72)

I live two blocks outside of that first grid, and i have for a very long time, and it's been very nice to have new things in the area. It's also led to a lot of new tension, but not as many more cops as you might think. They were all here in like 2008/9 as a sort of advance army. Everyone who seemed marginal, who was always around, but you weren't sure if they actually lived in the hood (or anywhere at all?) disappeared in the course of a few months, never to return.

We win!

Welcome to Brooklyn?

namedropper (#8,938)

@Clarence Rosario "Taking back" America one borough at a time.

flossy (#1,402)

As a Montrosian, I admit I thought I'd found a little pocket of uncool between the Bedford/Morgan axis of intolerable. I though the unglamorous lack of loft space and proximity to the projects would be enough to keep people passing over it on their way East of Bushwick avenue. I thought wrong.

Sent from my Artisinal Vegan Donut Shoppe

sharilyn (#4,599)

@flossy : yeah but come on, those donuts are REALLY REALLY GOOD.

If you want to see some really granular data demonstrating Brooklyn's whitification, look at the census data map the NYT put together. Compares 2010 with 2000 on a tract-by-tract basis. http://projects.nytimes.com/census/2010/map
Comparing the rate of population shift by race shows some eye-popping stats in areas like the census tract between Classon and Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, where the white population has increased 1173%. Also worth noting that a huge factor in the increase around the Navy Yard/Flushing/Wallabout border of Williamsburg is the exponential growth of the orthodox Jewish community. With the Times reporting a poverty rate of 40% among the orthodox, that area is whitening, but it's not exactly gentrifying the way the raw numbers imply.

mishaps (#5,779)

@procrastination_state that's my census tract, and I am part of the problem! Worth noting that white people are still less than a third of the population in the census, and populations of color were undercounted on top of that. But yeah, even in the three years that I've lived in that area it's gotten much whiter and more middle/upper-class, with more upscale West Indian venues opening as well.

The tract actually goes from Grand to Franklin, right in the center of the area that various outlets have tried to rebrand as ProCro, to deal with precisely the tensions that Choire's Update kind of gets at, where it's Crown Heights but not "Crown Heights proper." I've started just calling it Prospect Heights, because it pisses off some people on the other side of Washington disproportionately.

skahammer (#587)

If you want to keep racial undesirables out, I guess you could always try displaying something they venerate and then burning it on their lawns. An iPhone? Kale? Werner Herzog?

trenches (#219,719)

According to this great site about New York housing and demographics in the 1940's, the area we now refer to as "East Williamsburg" or "West Maspeth upon Newtown" was then known as "English Kills." My question is, how many parts Chartreuse in an English Kills?


stuffisthings (#1,352)

SERIOUSLY!? Can't we have even one little teeny tiny trend of our own? Do you have to take this from us too?

stuffisthings (#1,352)

@stuffisthings At least you can't steal the black gentrifier. Right? RIGHT?

iriedesign (#234,705)

Technically the white ladies in 11205 are walking from the G train (not the C), reading books (not phones).

saythatscool (#101)

Panera Bread now, Panera Bread tomorrow, Panera Bread forever.

sharilyn (#4,599)

Worth noting that the newer housing stock around the Montrose stop is renting at $2000 per month for a one-bedroom – in an area where most young middle class whites wouldn't even go to buy weed as recently as 2006. As a Montrosian, I believe most of my newer white neighbors are rent refugees from the pricier sectors of 11211 and 11237 – some of my cohort are going even further afield to Ridgewood for cheaper digs. Also noted – 11206 also contains the Morgan stop, which is the Roberta's/Shinobi/Pine Box epicenter of overdone Bushwickitude and much pricier, hipper, and more industrial than Billywick.

BardCollege (#2,307)

I prefer Morgantown as a name for the area east of Bushwick Ave between Montrose and Flushing.

BardCollege (#2,307)

The list this guy made uses some pretty shitty methodology. Even ignoring that fact that he uses race as opposed to income, a lot of these zip codes like 11206 is Brooklyn and the zip codes in Portland and and Texas are the result of population increases due to new housing stock as opposed to displacement. He also uses subtraction get his percentage increases rather than division. As a result a place going from 5% to 35% looks as significant as a place going from 40% to 70% even though the first case is much more dramatic.

bialystalker (#235,983)

"million dollar blocks" focuses on the boondoggle aspect of this issue:

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