Closing Bell: Why Does Anyone Still Live in Brooklyn?

brooklyn aerial shot

Brooklyn author and journalist Neil deMause has launched a survey asking Brooklynites what drew them to the borough and why they’ve stayed despite rapidly rising housing costs. The questionnaire is part of deMause’s research for an upcoming crowdfunded book, “Brooklyn Wars,” about Brooklyn’s gentrification and redevelopment boom.

The idea came to him while he was wondering why rents have increased even as local poverty rates have risen. “I was discussing this with a housing economist friend, and while we both had theories, none of them were convincing,” he said in a press release. “While web surveys are inherently anecdotal and unscientific, even a self-selected sample should give some hints as to how Brooklynites view their reasons for remaining in a borough that charges $3,000 a month to live in a closet an hour’s subway ride from their job.”

So far, leading early responses include “it’s cheaper than Manhattan,” “diversity” and “boyfriend.”

Photo by Juni Safont

11 Comment

  • how would a real brooklynite answer this?

    F@#% YOU is why i still live in Brooklyn, you got a problem with that?

  • The view from my roof deck. That is the only reason that has not changed over time. For me.

  • exaggerate much? do these people work in the bronx? an hour subway ride takes you from coney island to central
    park. So if paying $3000 a month for smallish apt….must be living in new construction highrise downtown brooklyn. An hour is north bronx.
    If someone is paying so much for a small apt….perhaps living in new construction highrise is major priority. Or
    maybe they grew up in home with really really huge closets.

  • At some point in the not so distant future a lot of people will ask themselves that question.

  • We still live in Fort Greene because we bought a while ago, so Brooklyn is affordable for us. Based on a recent sale in our building, our apartment has appreciated 500% since our 1999 purchase. Yeah, we could sell and have have that equity in hand, but we would have to move very far away or to a not nearly as “nice” [close-to-transit, walkable, fun, beautiful, safe, green-spaced, bike-laned, etc.] neighborhood as this in order to – do what? – buy a gigantic house? put the money in the bank? Not worth it for us. Maybe some day we can reap the rewards of our lucky timing, however I think it more likely our children will when we are gone.

    And, yes, it takes me an hour to get to work.

  • If your housing costs arent rapidly rising or your income is rising with your housing costs or for a million other reasons people live where they live.

    Perhaps Mr. deMause could speak to another economist who could explain to him how higher priced apartments might increase the average price across the borough even while the poverty level increases. Its not a “theory,” its called math.

    And this is the subject for a book? Or an article in New York magazine? No wonder its “crowdfunded.”

    • It’s actually the median rent (i.e., the 50th percentile) that has soared in Brooklyn, not just the average — something you wouldn’t see if this were just a matter of adding a few new high-priced apartments at the top end.

  • For me, Wallabout is home for as long as I can afford it. I have adored it since the first time I visited the neighborhood over 10 years ago and the view from my roof deck is stunning. I love Fort Greene Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park and belong to both conservancies. I love that people afraid of a 15 minute bus ride keep my neighborhood fairly unexplored by tourists most weekends and yet it’s very big with cyclists and people who realize living right next to the subway really isn’t worth the cost….I usually take the ferry anyway. I have no trouble getting to Manhattan quickly though I really do spend nearly every moment of my free time right here in my neighborhood. Between, the restaurants, the parks and BAM…I’m content with the world.