Babies and Cat Ladies: Is Williamsburg the New Park Slope?

baby hipster Babies and Cat Ladies: Is Williamsburg the New Park Slope?For a while, it seemed like Williamsburg was becoming the next Meatpacking District, a formerly industrial neighborhood transformed into a playground for spoiled New York post-grads. But The Times, ever hip to the ways of Brooklyn, declares the area has actually become something worse: the new Park Slope, replete with baby yoga and funky-looking strollers.

“If you look at child-friendly parts of Brooklyn — Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope — those neighborhoods are beautiful and safe and the schools are great and that is good for our kids,” (Michael) Moshan (a resident) said. “But is that good for us? We thought, if Williamsburg could mature into a neighborhood where kids can grow, then you’ve won.”

Families are discovering that Williamsburg is much more than a playground for the postcollege, skinny-jeans set. The neighborhood has a few private preschools; several indoor play spaces; art, movement and music classes; and a number of children’s stores, some of which were started by neighborhood parents. Many of the condo buildings rising all over the neighborhood feature playrooms, pools and other family-friendly amenities.

Even the Slope’s babies-in-bars craze has come to the Burg.

The popularity shows in the numbers, too. A wide-eyed Journal article about the neighborhood’s ascent points out that housing prices have risen 2.4 percent over the past three years–and a striking 30 percent in neighboring Greenpoint–while they have dropped 14 percent citywide over the same period. Even with the ugly, un-brownstone buildings, Williamsburg is hot, hot, hot.

Need more proof?

Artists continue to be harrassed out of the neighborhood by greedy landlords, and those who remain have gone crazy.

Consider the case of Michael and Hazel Fiore, a couple in their 50s who lived in a third-floor loft on Metropolitan Avenue, one of Williamsburg’s main throroughfares. The Post reports that they are the first people to be indicted under a 2006 state law forbidding animal “hoarding.” More than 100 cats were found in their apartment, a discovery that came after five of them fell through the rotting floorboards.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo