Willoughby Avenue off of Nostrand: quaint tree lined block, newly paved, and somehow, an inordinate amount of sunshine. Now how did they manage that? Keep walking, keep following the money… Lush garden, nice feature, and what’s that? Hip cafes, cute girls, and charming buildings which were once dilapidated. Still not convinced, walk faster, see the bodega there at the corner? Would you believe not even a rash of robberies at the latter end of 2008 had a single effect on it from serving $2.25 cereal off-brands to now serving Kellogg’s and Post boxes at $5.50 a pop to students and young professionals in thick-rimmed glasses.
Unfortunately that is where is it stops. Or so you think. Let’s think monopoly, it’s every real estate agents favorite game…Around the corner from we are standing is Vernon, just pass the “go to jail” sign. Vernon for those who don’t know is the Witch Chapel of monopoly, it’s there on the board, but hell no one really wants to live there (yet).
The pavement is pockmarked and otherwise potholed; the buildings are still dilapidated. There are no trees and some of the sidewalk is missing. And if you’re looking for students or young professionals, think again, you know who lives there. Same forgotten residents that have lived there for years. As opposed to adjacent Willoughby, there are no Hasidics parked along the sidewalk assessing leads on new apartments or conferring with landlords. Likewise, there are no hipsters. Vernon simply hasn’t been touched. But it will…
So, let’s put it all together. Groups are grouped, and then ignored. The property and land value plummets. Local businessmen (in this case, Hasidics, concentrated about a mile up Nostrand once it turns into Lee) begin buying the newly affordable property in the area, and implement improvements, order the skies to always shine and hipsters to come.
Landlords who are interested in the relatively large sums offered by these businessmen begin to give their tenants incentives to leave—reduced rent, or even bribes and evictions. The city pays attention, and follows suit. The area is improved: street cleaners begin frequenting, trees are planted; construction work is done in order to improve the area’s general aesthetic. A new neighborhood is born. Fort Green. Park Slope. Ask someone who’s lived in New York all their lives—these were the jungles Mom forbids us to visit, but now, they’re the crème-de-la-crème of Brooklyn.
How do we know? Because that’s where you are moving to, and where you will hurry to move to once the recession is over, even before it’s over.
Just remember to follow the money…we always do.