Election Shows the New Importance of Brooklyn


We already touched on this topic yesterday in our reblog of primary news, but late yesterday the Times had a sweeping story about how this year’s primaries show the power of the new Brooklyn.

In New York City, few stories have gotten more attention in recent years than the ascendancy of Brooklyn. What was once a national punch line became a catch phrase for urban cool — and very costly urban cool, at that. But on Tuesday night, with Bill de Blasio emerging as the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary and Joseph J. Lhota winning the Republican nomination, Brooklyn moved to center stage politically in a way not seen in decades. Both candidates hail from the borough, and both were propelled by constituencies that populate it. It was like a variation on an often repeated line: Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Now, Brooklyn is not only the new kingmaker, but also the borough of kings — or at least of the next mayor and the next public advocate, too.

New York City last elected a mayor from Brooklyn in 1973, when the borough was a very different place. “That Brooklyn would be almost unrecognizable today — grittier, poorer, more dangerous. Brownstone Brooklyn has evolved into a gentrified destination for growing numbers of upper-middle-class singles and young couples seeking intimate neighborhoods, artisanal shops and restaurants, and liberal politics,” said the story. The borough — which now, of course, has its own major-league sports team, arena, and tons of Brooklyn based businesses and brands — is seeing a major growth spurt in both jobs and population. The number of people living in Brooklyn is up more than 60,000 since 2010. We are nearing our population peak of 2.7 million, which occurred in 1950.

Another interesting demographic shift the story noted: Black people increasingly live in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. “The city’s black political center of gravity has shifted from Harlem to Brooklyn, which now accounts for more than 4 in 10 black voting-age New Yorkers (compared with a little more than 1 in 10 in Manhattan),” said the Times.

Lastly, the election perhaps signaled an exasperation with the Manhattan-centric Bloomberg mayorality. Do you agree?

In Primaries, Brooklyn Emerged as Big Winner [NY Times]
Photo by Anne Holmes

15 Comment

  • I live in Brooklyn and I enjoy living in Brooklyn. However, I’m certain that in my lifetime it will never compare to Manhattan.

  • Nothing like a out of touch, sanctimonious plutocrat to wake up the most populous boro (which SHOULD be a political power)

  • NYC will always be Manhattan centric. And, the new mayor will live in Gracie Mansion

  • Lastly, the election perhaps signaled an exasperation with the Manhattan-centric Bloomberg mayorality. Do you agree?

    Less about ‘manhattan-centric’ than Bloomberg. People sick of Quinn as his lapdog pulled an “anybody but quinn” vote, even through Billy will suck as thoroughly if not more.

    If a board of directors was interviewing to hire a mayor, it would probably choose Lhota.

    • “If a board of directors was interviewing to hire a mayor, it would probably choose Lhota”.

      Naturally, considering the population from which corporate boards of directors are drawn.

      • Naturally, considering they’re more likely to understand how to fix a troubled business, negotiate, and manage relationships.

        You can see how well a slick-speaking community organizer has done for the nation’s economy and foreign relations thusfar.

        • The idea that a city government should represent primarily the interests of the plutocracy, rather than serve as a check to their greed and insularity, is a troubling one. While I would hate to live in a country where the government would control all aspects of the economy, I hardly think that corporate boards of directors have shown themselves very capable at avoiding financial disasters, self-dealing, or illegal activities. Indeed those same corporate boards seem more than happy to accept governmental welfare when it applies to them. Let’s be honest – de Blasio won’t be terribly different from any of the other mainstream candidates. But he will present a different tone and come from a different place than the billionaire mayor. And that’s a good thing. New York won’t fall apart if it becomes a triffle more focused on the concerns of the little guy. Too, listening to Lhota’s victory speech, with his doubling down on stop and frisk (500,000/year is not enough, let’s make it a million) and disdain for a need to repair some of the sinking ships of the poor, reminded me what a nasty mayor Rudy Giulliani was. Lhota seemed mean.

        • a city is more than just a business, a city is a huge group of people with disparate needs and priorities. It is not just the board of directors, but also the clerks, secretaries and cleaning staff. Bloomberg, who did so some great things for this city, never understood that. He was used to dealing with only the elite, and had no clue how the other 90% were doing.

          I love how people assume that DeBlasio is going to mess things up, and he hasn’t even been elected yet. That’s the same short shrift they gave the “community organizer” who seems to have managed to keep the country going much better than was expected, and got re-elected, to boot.

  • Yeah Joe Lhota did a fine job with the MTA. Good thing he fixed that agency. No mismanagement there, everything is transparent and commuters are well serves at all times [sarcasm].

  • When our (new) city council takes a hard left, we may need to find some balance. Who creates jobs? Can either find common ground,not just be divisive? Which candidate actually has a plan?

    There must be a happy medium between giving away the store (DeBlasio) and being a bureaucrat (Lhota).