And New York Eats Itself, or the Black Hole of Gentrification

Bridging the gap.

While The Observer believes Portland has taken over Brooklyn, inveterate blogger Jeremiah Moss sees a creeping Brooklynization going on in Manhattan that is ruining both boroughs.

There are lots of examples over the past year–like the Brooklyneer restaurant on West Houston and how the Guggenheim Lab, when they set up shop in the East Village, opted to have the food served by Roberta’s of Bushwick. And this year’s Lower East Side Ideas Fest showcased a plethora of Brooklyn-based vendors–as Bowery Boogie commented here, it looked like “a Brooklyn takeover.”

It’s a kind of reverse gentrification, but more twisted, a sort of Mobius Strip of gentrification in which the New Brooklyn, which exists because it was priced out of Manhattan 10 years ago, and which sort of (but not really) resembles the old Manhattan, is coming back to Manhattan, extruded through the New Brooklyn ringer, like artisanal sausage, a kind of monster-mash of flavors, so that it feels nothing quite like Manhattan ever did and only like parts of Brooklyn have come to be in recent years. Which is to say–it feels like somewhere not New York at all.


The Observer recently got to the dark heart of it, writing: “It’s as if the tumor of hipster culture that formed when the cool kids moved to Williamsburg had metastasized into a cluster of cysts pressing down on parts of the borough’s brain… Brooklyn is producing and consuming more of its own culture than ever before.”

There’s something powerful going on here. This is Greek-sized stuff, the mythic story of maternal cannibalism, only in reverse. Manhattan’s cast-off children are getting big enough to eat the mother that rejected them. No wonder so much of this phenomenon comes obsessed with food and oral pleasure.

So Portland eats Brooklyn eats Manhattan. Maybe this explains the hurricanes and earthquakes. The world is literally coming apart at the seams.

And yet it’s not as bad as it might seem: Brooklynites still aren’t moving to Manhattan, according to PropertyShark. “There are about 5 times more people from Manhattan buying Brooklyn condos than the other way around,” according to the research site. Two percent of new Manhattanites are from Brooklyn. That’s less than the number of buyers from Long Island (4 percent), California (3 percent) and even Jersery (6 percent). Almost exactly two-thirds are from Manhattan already, which is either surprisingly high or incredibly low, depending on perspective.

You know what? They can have their Manhattlyn.

mchaban [at] | @MC_NYC And New York Eats Itself, or the Black Hole of Gentrification