Editor’s note: Your Open House will every Monday report back from the open houses in news-making neighborhoods.
The sun was shining, Bedford Avenue was bustling, and the grownups had come out to play—a few grownups, at least. An open house this Sunday at 134 North 10th Street provided a glimpse of the buyers who might be looking to reclaim hipster territory in Williamsburg.
The approximately 624-square-foot prewar condo’s three rooms (bedroom, home office and living room, plus bath) were replete with appealingly quirky touches—bricked-up fireplaces, original moldings, a window set into the wall between office and bedroom. Despite a narrow structure, the garden view and entrances on either end kept it from feeling cramped. It was asking $435,000.
But who, exactly, is looking to buy condos in Williamsburg right now? And, more urgently, are they tossing around Mom and Pop’s money, a la last week’s Times story on parents pulling the financial plug on their North Brooklyn seed?
I’ve lived in Park Slope too long.
The prospective buyers at the condo on North 10th were youngish—“You could put a bar in here,” one remarked, examining an alcove in the front room—but hardly greasy 23-year-olds coasting on parental dollars.
One couple—he was shopping; she was along for moral support—said they had been looking in Williamsburg and Green Point. “I’ve lived in Park Slope too long,” he said. Since he works in management near Union Square (no hipster occupations here!), he wants to be off the L train. But even for a gainfully employed late-twenty-something, Williamsburg real estate can be a stretch—he thought he’d convert the front room to a bedroom and rent it out to make the taxes (almost $500 a month) more feasible.
Sunday’s crowd was steady but slow; no more than a handful of visitors lingered in the condo at once. Few stayed long.
Another pair of Park Slope refugees had been in Brooklyn three years and had been looking to buy for much of that time. Recently married, he was a freelance photographer, and she was unemployed but had worked in fashion sales. They realized they didn’t fit the stereotypical Williamsburg profile. “We don’t have tattoos,” she said. But they liked the neighborhood, which had managed to retain a rustic charm that was being gutted elsewhere in bobo Brooklyn.
In fact, for them, it was hardly a leap from Williamsburg to the suburbs: “We’re constantly thinking about the amazing Victorian in Dutchess County we could buy,” she said—if only they could bear to leave New York.