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Despite Gloss of Gentrification, Much of Brooklyn Still Poor

Brooklyn boasts some of the highest rents in the country, but many parts of the borough remain under the poverty line.

It’s news to no one that decades of gentrification have changed much of Brooklyn’s landscape, but according to Forbes, once the sheen of hip restaurants and glossy condos is peeled back, a darker story is revealed about how the rest of the borough lives.

A Fordham study found that Brooklyn is home to four of the nation’s 25 most rapidly gentrifying ZIP codes, and writer Kay Hymowitz recently said that Brooklyn has gotten “its groove back” as a “post-industrial hotspot."

Still, over one in five Brooklyn residents live under the official poverty line, and roughly 50 percent above the state average. The borough’s unemployment rate recently stood at 11 percent, and of the 50,000-some jobs that have been created since the recession, about 30,000 have been in the low-wage health care and social assistance sector, with another 9,000 in the hospitality industry.

Forbes also notes that Brooklyn’s median per capita income in 2009 was just under $23,000, almost $10,000 below the national average.

According to Fred Siegel, an Urban Historian and longtime Brooklyn resident, it’s a tale of two cities – “Brownstone and Victorian Brooklyn is booming,” as are the parts of Brooklyn closest to Manhattan. Siegel says that lower-class Brooklyn “is pockmarked with empty stores,” with an industrial- and port-based economy almost entirely gone.

Brooklyn alone has lost 23,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, says Forbes.

“So while artisanal cheese shops serve the hipsters and high-end shops thrive, one in four Brooklynites receives food stamps,” says the article.

Similar patterns have emerged across the country, as in the divide between San Francisco – where technology companies have bloomed, and where rents are sky-high – and Oakland, just across the bay, which suffers from severe employment and rising crime.

Demographer Wendell Cox says that in the nation’s largest cities, roughly 80 percent of the population growth over the past decade consisted of people living below the poverty line.

Last week, it was reported that the income gap in New York City is at its highest in more than a decade.

Dios Thunders September 26, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Gentrifacation destroys neighborhoods long time dwellers,resident are being forced out by greedy landlords Stores renovate and stock organic and other items attractive to Hipsters & Yuppies food prices go up Rent prices soar Ive seen so many people evicted and then some out of towner moves in to the finally repaired new appliances renovated apartments except remember pre war means OLD and OLD can mean the plumbing and electric wiring is OLD so is the elevator A lot of landlords like to gloss over this and just throw some new cabinets and not the nicest or best and cheap paint they fix the wooden floors and then charge often over fair market price which is REALLY crazy high now I dont like gentrafacation it also makes crime go up If your going to mug people or rob apts and houses you go where the money is and thats whats happening now in DITMAS invest in an alarm system that notifies police and a good lock smith and window locks! People walk around or sit around with apple laptops smart phones Ipods in there house is MORE stuff to steal and sell fast Dont advertise what you own unless you can replace it with out a shrug you are being watched And as food prices soar families find it very hard to shop properly Produce has become expensive around here and forget the health food stores they want an arm and a leg for every thing buy on sale use coupons & find a big fruit stand like CIRCUS fruits or 3 Guys or go to Brighton Beach GREAT SHOPPING CHEAP B train right to Brighton
Louise September 27, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I'm thinking this is only going on in Red Hook? Hmmm Ditmas? What a shame. Old floors get done to look new but the pipes and the wiring is still old. They think they won lotto when they get to live in apartments that were home to us for over 23 years. It happened to us. The landlord got greedy and God knows what and who we were paying gas and electric for. Our bills were were thru the roof. Our windows sucked, we couldn't see thru the panes. Horrible. We had termites and mold was growing under in the bathroom. God works in mysterious ways. Him raising the rent and us filling out an application to where we are now. God bless all the greedy landlords because these yuppies will move out just as fast as they moved in!!!!
Zarda September 27, 2012 at 04:10 PM
The South Slope is being decimated by gentrification complete with high crime and drugs. Real estate reps sell this area to 20somethings as hip yet seem to forget the seniors and children also living in the apartments and homes. And yes - landlords are sugar-coating renovations. My city, my city is forcing me away.
Hugh Jassols October 15, 2012 at 07:10 PM
The gentrification stops at the 20 minute line in Brooklyn and Queens and the next zone is the 30 minute zone where they are exploring but not gentrifying however BUY NOW SELL HIGH LATER! Anyone in the 30 minute zone you have about three to four years BEFORE YOU HAVE TO MOVE TO THE 40-50 MINUTE ZONE! But don't haste in 20 years that nice Sunset Park ghetto will be prime waterfront property when the polar ice caps finish melting and the sea levels rise!

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