There Goes the Neighborhood (Again): Williamsburg Trades Cool for Faux Cool

A few recent Brooklyn Paper stories caught The Observer‘s pink eye this week; they concern the continuing decline of Williamsburg As We Know It.

For starters, Havermeyer Street’s CINDERS Gallery — one of the first establishments to encroach on the street’s Puerto Rican bodegas and barbershops — is being priced out. The landlord has just raised the rent $1000 to keep up with the likes of Lodge, Fette Sau and the Commodore, among the parade of new and not-so-new restaurants in the area.

“Ahhh, so this is gentrification come full-circle, eh?” CINDERS co-owner Kellie Bowman wrote in an email to The Paper. “We never thought we were immune but after so many years we had gotten really comfortable here so it was a bit of a shock when our landlord delivered us this ultimatum.” The weekly also reported that “a similarly sized space down the street was renting for $2,500 a month. A larger space across the street from CINDERS, nearly three times its size, is on the market for $5,300 a month.”

Just around the corner, dozens of artists were evicted from their huge loft building on Metropolitan Avenue and Lorimer Street by the city. It turns out the building had been illegally converted and there were more than a hundred building code violations, some of them potentially life-threatening. Maybe the artists can find something in Bushwick, though that place is filling up fast, too.

Meanwhile, Freeman’s, the haute hip hidden joint on the Lower East Side, is planning on opening an outpost across the river, on South Second Street. This is not exactly news, as the brand certainly fits the Burg’s urban bourgeois demo. And this kind of cross-bridge pollination has been going on for years with other shops and restaurants.

Still, there is something so well-groomed-rugged, so putting-on-airs, so SCENE about Freeman’s that it can’t help but be seen as the third horseman of the apocalypse — first being the 2005 rezoning, the second the actual construction of all those awful condos. What will be the final rider to finish off the neighborhood?

mchaban [at] / @mc_nyo There Goes the Neighborhood (Again): Williamsburg Trades Cool for Faux Cool