The Two Brooklyns: Poverty Still Plagues Artisanal Paradise

brooklyn neighborhoods The Two Brooklyns: Poverty Still Plagues Artisanal Paradise

Brooklyn is a lot more than a popular aesthetic. (www.baruch.cuny.edu)

When it comes to Brooklyn, the rising tide of wealth that has flooded into the borough over the last two decades seems, more than anything, to have lifted housing prices. The well-being of the borough’s longtime residents has not, as the New York Daily News points out, been similarly buoyed.

Brooklyn the media darling, the real star of Lena Dunham’s Girls, the place of endless New York Times trend stories about farm-to-table restaurants and taxidermy hobbyists and Etsy enthusiasts, is not the only Brooklyn. While this may seem obvious, it is frequently obscured by the massive amount of attention that is lavished on neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint and Park Slope. Brooklyn, has, after all, become a synecdoche for a privileged, eminently marketable lifestyle that has nothing to do with the lives led by the vast majority of Brooklynites, residing in unfashionable neighborhoods such as Canarsie and Flatbush and Brownsville.

Perhaps in a gesture to its readers (who tend to be from the other Brooklyn), but also a much-needed gesture in general, the Daily News printed today a number of interesting statistics that highlight the chasm between the two Brooklyns.

Among the most jarring: while handcrafted ISH horseradish sells for $74 a six-pack at Williasmburg Smorgasburg market, 25 percent of Brooklyn residents use food stamps. And they get an average of $277.70 worth of those stamps to buy food for a month.

Also, while borough president Marty Markowitz likes to claim that Brooklyn “has more writers per square inch than almost anywhere in the country,” 30 percent of its third-graders cannot read at grade level.

The rest of the list can be read here.

kvelsey@observer.com