WSJ: Brooklynites Decamp to Manhattan


Brooklyn: No longer the land of charm or affordability? That’s what several young ex-Brooklynites interviewed by the Wall Street Journal charge. “I lived [in Williamsburg] for the postindustrial charm or the affordability and neither of those really exist anymore,” said 27-year-old Philip Bjerknes, an advertising executive who has lived in Brooklyn for six years. “I love Brooklyn. It’s adorable, with great places to eat, but they also have that in Manhattan,” he continued. He recently signed a lease for a one-bedroom in Alphabet City for less than $2,400 a month. Broker John Brandon of Citi Habitats said he has seen an increase in Brooklyn residents wishing to move to Manhattan since January. “Rents are going up so much in Williamsburg,” he said. “If you want to live in Manhattan, it’s kind of six of one, half a dozen of another.” In many Brooklyn neighborhoods, said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future, “the rent just keeps going up and up, even in the sluggish economy, even in the slight downturn in the housing market. For a lot of people that turned to Brooklyn in part because it was a little of a bargain, I think they’re being forced to look elsewhere.” What do you think? Are prices in the two boroughs the same? Would you prefer Manhattan over Brooklyn if it didn’t cost more?
Manhattan Rents Beckon Brooklynites [Wall Street Journal]
Photo by eweliyi

31 Comment

  • Link to the WSJ article, please?

  • daveinbedstuy

    Williamsburg to Alphabet City?????

    Try and better yourself along the way next time.

    • I agree with you .

      First of all, as a native Brooklynite, Williamsburg is disgusting….Now to move to Alphabet City….yeah, Philip your really going in the right direction??????

      To me, your moving from crappy to really crappy

      you have to be a transplant?????, nothing else can explain it

  • “Are prices in the two boroughs the same?”

    Yes, as far as I can tell a flat in East New York is similarly affordable as a gold coast rental.

    More seriously, no. Williamsburg is still cheaper than Soho and the Village, but might be on par with most of Chelsea/Gramercy/etc, and the apartments in Manhattan are still smaller for the same price.

  • “Are prices in the two boroughs the same?”

    Yes, as far as I can tell a flat in East New York is similarly affordable as a gold coast rental.

    More seriously, no. Williamsburg is still cheaper than Soho and the Village, but might be on par with most of Chelsea/Gramercy/etc, and the apartments in Manhattan are still smaller for the same price.

  • more4less

    got priced out of BK so moved back to Manhattan for some cheaper digs. still love BK but the price gap has shrunk a ton or disappeared vs some of the Manhattan hoods hence Manhattan is now a viable alternative.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Apples and Oranges, m4l. You wanted a house and bought a condo.

    • more4less

      Dave, I realistically gave up on “house” for while already. I was looking at the 3 bdrm aptmts in BK and found I got priced out of those units too hence looked & found cheaper unit in Manhattan.

      let’s not kid ourselves. the comparison is not all of BK vs all of Manhattan. it’s the gentrified pricey primo BK hoods vs Manhattan. Manhattan is still pricier as a whole but the gap is shrinking fast and some Manhattan hoods are at cost parity or even cheaper. if accounting for all of BK, the comparison is a waste of time as only an idiot would think BK or any of the other boroughs would be close to Manhattan prices (ie most are a ton cheaper)

    • more4less

      Dave, I realistically gave up on “house” for while already. I was looking at the 3 bdrm aptmts in BK and found I got priced out of those units too hence looked & found cheaper unit in Manhattan.

      let’s not kid ourselves. the comparison is not all of BK vs all of Manhattan. it’s the gentrified pricey primo BK hoods vs Manhattan. Manhattan is still pricier as a whole but the gap is shrinking fast and some Manhattan hoods are at cost parity or even cheaper. if accounting for all of BK, the comparison is a waste of time as only an idiot would think BK or any of the other boroughs would be close to Manhattan prices (ie most are a ton cheaper)

  • stuyheightsarch

    funny.. The article should be call priced out of Williamsburg since it seems to be the only neighborhood people from Manhattan seem to know about… I with you epr most of Brooklyn is cheaper than Manhattan. I think we should start looking at the ppsf prices…

  • kinda silly to compare prices by boro….better to compare prices by neighborhood and apt. type. Yes brooklyn hts more expensive than washington hts….. but upper east side more expensive than east new york.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Needless to say, prices throughout New York City are going up rather fast. they are well above peak comps in most areas.

  • It does make sense that the neighborhoods in Brooklyn which are 1 stop from Manhattan are almost as pricey, no? It also makes sense there’s not much difference between ABC and Williamsburg, because Williamsburg was populated by ABC overflow for the last 15 years. Obviously you get a lot more space the deeper you go into our Majestic borough -

  • Brooklyn real estate is hotter than Manhattan right now, everyone wants a piece of us. Tres Brooklyn !

  • daveinbedstuy

    He’s 27, works in advertising; er sorry, is an advertising executive. I suspect he’s got a scraggly beard, thick rimmed glasses, tight jeans and a pork pie hat!!!!!

  • daveinbedstuy

    He’s 27, works in advertising; er sorry, is an advertising executive. I suspect he’s got a scraggly beard, thick rimmed glasses, tight jeans and a pork pie hat!!!!!

  • Don’t let the livery service car doors hit you on the way out!

  • daveinbedstuy

    Just read the entire article. The part near the end about the hipsters invading the UES and the explosion of craft beer places there is really funny.

    When prices start going up in their new-found parts of Manhattan, they won’t know what hit them!!!!

  • “These hipsters were moving in—you could tell they were hipsters because I used to be one too, so they stand out—and they were moving a mounted moose head into their apartment”

    I laughed at that one.

  • He’s 27, works in advertising; er sorry, is an advertising executive. I suspect he’s got a scraggly beard, thick rimmed glasses, tight jeans and a pork pie hat!!!!!

    and yet again, I am in full agreement.

    I can see the whole look already, and I am now scarred for life….. LOL

    He has been living in Brooklyn for 6 years, but the question is, where did he come from?, …..Iowa, population 6, including the goat????

  • Hipsters have ruined Taxidermy for the rest of us :’(

  • daveinbedstuy

    I actually have a mounted deer buck head. Six Points….the buck, not the craft beer.

  • brownstoneshalfoff

    2012 is the new 1932 (“worst behind us”).

  • Brooklyn is adorable? Clearly Mr. Bjerknes has never done time in southern Brooklyn, or any other open-air mental institution part of the borough — none of which come close to garnering such sweet sentiments. Only non-natives — who are far too cultured to ferment along with the rest of us not privileged to live in yuppified or hipster areas — would be able to call Manhattan a relative bargain.

  • BrooklynButler

    When we were looking in Brooklyn five years ago I remember that a colleague told me that if we were able to afford Park Slope, we should also look on the UES. I didn’t believe him until I looked. Yep, parts of the far East Side were actually cheaper than things in the Slope. So, if you discount precise location, then Manhattan can look cheaper than Brooklyn.

  • NeoGrec

    I bought my first one bed coop in the West Village in 1987 for $125,000. I was sick of looking at the same kind of spaces in Park Slope for pretty much the same money. Sometimes the Brooklyn apts had a WBF or dishwasher but I thought, big deal — I’d rather have the amenities and greater upside potential of Manhattan. And so it was. Looks like we’re at that tipping point again.

  • NeoGrec

    I bought my first one bed coop in the West Village in 1987 for $125,000. I was sick of looking at the same kind of spaces in Park Slope for pretty much the same money. Sometimes the Brooklyn apts had a WBF or dishwasher but I thought, big deal — I’d rather have the amenities and greater upside potential of Manhattan. And so it was. Looks like we’re at that tipping point again.

  • The rents may be comparable, but you probably still get more space in Brooklyn, and you don’t get the real estate broker insanity of Manhattan where you have to fight with 50 other people who want the same dive apartment in the same 5 minute period. Manhattan landlords also want crazy security deposits like 6 months rent up front. I know someone who said that a Manhattan landlord wanted their parents to co-sign even though he was 26 and had a full time job for years and good credit! Crazy stuff!

  • rh

    You get more for your money in Brooklyn, even if the price is the same.

    When I was growing up in Brooklyn, the city was the place to be. As soon as I was old enough to move out, I moved into Manhattan. It took me about a year (maybe two) before I realized that Brooklyn was a better quality of life…and that was back in 1987 when Brooklyn was pretty uncool.

    I love my house and my neighborhood in Bed Stuy and I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I kind of think that when I’m old and too decrepit to walk up my brownstone stairs, I’d like to trade in the house for a doorman apartment in the city.

  • rh

    You get more for your money in Brooklyn, even if the price is the same.

    When I was growing up in Brooklyn, the city was the place to be. As soon as I was old enough to move out, I moved into Manhattan. It took me about a year (maybe two) before I realized that Brooklyn was a better quality of life…and that was back in 1987 when Brooklyn was pretty uncool.

    I love my house and my neighborhood in Bed Stuy and I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I kind of think that when I’m old and too decrepit to walk up my brownstone stairs, I’d like to trade in the house for a doorman apartment in the city.