Earlier this month Brownstoner asked you to tell us about yourselves and your lives in Brooklyn.

You also gave us some great feedback about how we’re doing — what you want to see more of (renovations, interiors and small businesses, among many other topics) and less of (bye bye, Brownstoner Pets…) — and we’ll continue to keep all of that in mind as we grow our editorial content.

We also heard your excellent feedback about our listings and Forum functionality, and it’s made us even more excited to share some important news: We’re gearing up to relaunch Brownstoner with a host of new features and upgrades that speak directly to what you want to see.


Brooklyn parents are embracing “elimination communication,” according to DNAinfo, which involves trying to anticipate a baby’s or child’s need to use the toilet instead of relying on diapers. “Sometimes the thrill of being able to go outside and pee is just what [babies] need,” said Sarah Longwell-Stevens, a postpartum doula who leads meet-ups on the topic at Greenpoint’s Caribou Baby store. A Brooklyn factory makes split pants that make it easier for babies to go diaper-free since they don’t have to remove layers of clothes. The practice can help cut down on the number of diapers to wash, but can also lead to lots of spills and mishaps, said some parents. “I kept seeing him leave a trail of pee,” said one parent of her son, whose terrible diaper rash led her to try elimination communication. “The dog looked at me and said, ‘This isn’t fair. Why can he do that?'”
Parents Ditch Diapers for Au Naturel Toileting Trend [DNAinfo]
Photo by Amy Zimmer for DNAinfo


A report on the rental market in Manhattan and Brooklyn by real estate firm Douglas Elliman was released today and it found that the median rental price in North and Northwest Brooklyn was $2,572, essentially the same as it was this time last year. The rental price per square foot ticked up just 4.6 percent over the year. According to the report, this may indicate a period of slower rental price growth ahead. Studio apartments took the biggest hit, with the median price falling by 5.5 percent, possibly because some of these tenants are leaving the rental market to become first-time buyers. One and two bedroom apartments saw modest gains. The largest jumps were for luxury apartments: the average price and average price per square foot were both up 12 percent over this time last year for those units. And Brooklyn, even these tonier neighborhoods, remains a significant bargain over Manhattan with an average price per square foot of $35 compared to $50 in Manhattan.

The Elliman Report: Manhattan and Brooklyn Rentals
Sorry Brooklyn Rents Still Cheaper Than Manhattan


Today the Brooklyn Community Foundation released a civic engagement report examining the trends of voter participation, campaign donations, charitable giving, religious affiliation, and community service in the borough. There’s a lot of good stuff in the 23-page report, but here are a few interesting factoids:

  • According to CouncilStat and 311 calls, Brooklyn residents care most about housing, transportation, and noise levels.
  • There are approximately 400 neighborhood and block associations, recreation and sports clubs, youth clubs, garden clubs, and other community service organizations in the borough.
  • One in five employed Brooklynites works in either the nonprofit or public sectors.
  • Borough Park and Flatbush/Midwood residents gave the highest contributions as a percentage of income to charity. Greenpoint and Sunset Park rank lowest.
  • One in five adults who live in Brooklyn is not eligible to vote due to non-citizen status; in Community District 7 (which includes Sunset Park), it is nearly 40 percent.
  • 71.6 percent of Brooklynites are affiliated with the Democratic party, 9.2 percent with the Republican party.
  • 63 percent of Brooklynites are affiliated with a religious congregation.
  • Brooklyn residents are the most generous in the city, contributing a greater proportion of their income to charity than any other borough.


The average price for a rental in Brooklyn in September was $2,548, according to a new report from Prudential Douglas Elliman that covers the rental market in North and Northwest Brooklyn as well as Manhattan. (The median wasn’t far behind, at $2,350.) That works out to $29.68 per square foot, vs. $52.60 in Manhattan. So despite precipitous climbs of late, rents even in the most gentrified areas of Brooklyn still come in lower than those of Manhattan, in case you’ve been wondering. 

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 of this story. An updated version of this series can be viewed here.

By the time the troops came back from World War II, the modern kitchen was one of the most identifiable indicators of American middle-class life. Inspired by a combination of functionality, smaller spaces, modern appliances and good old American salesmanship, the homemakers of the late 1940’s were barraged with choices galore, all inspired by European Bauhaus design. These kitchens were streamlined, like the new cars and new everything coming out of the post-war years.


So, you wanna live alone, but you don’t quite have enough cash? There’s now a 21st century arrangement that harks back to tenement days: your own apartment (kitchenette sometimes included), with shared bathroom or other facilities down the hall. That’s what the kids are doing these days, reports the NY Times. It’s part roommate situation, part SRO, but for the cultured class. “In recent years, as rental prices have gone up and up, students and young professionals have become more willing to live in rooming houses or other dorm-like arrangements,” they write. “Young people have been willingly choosing to live in such places for several years.” Of course, some of these SRO buildings are actually, you know, SROs. “Many apartment buildings that require this kind of intimate cooperation have rough reputations that make them unappealing beyond the practical inconvenience of sharing a shower with half a dozen strangers,” they write. “Single-room-occupancy buildings (rooming houses with six or more units) are often used as supportive housing for people coming out of homelessness or rehabilitation programs. Others are a landing pad for new immigrants. Some are quite grim, poorly run and badly maintained.” One that doesn’t fit that description is inhabited by an art gallery assistant, who pays $1,450 for her own pad with kitchenette on the top floor of a South Portland Street brownstone in Ft. Greene; she showers down the hall, sharing the bathroom with a woman she describes as “10 years her senior.” Studios in the nabe apparently start at $1,600; guess private toilets aren’t worth the extra $150.
Room to Rent. Bath Nearby [NY Times]
Photo from Brownstoner Reno Blog.


As Brooklyn real estate got pricier and pricer in the ’00s, a greater number of Manhattanites moved here, according to an article in the Observer. IRS data shows that more than 3,700 Manhattan residents moved to Brooklyn in 2006 (the most recent year for which such stats are available), the most this decade. At the same time, more than 10,000 Brooklynites have moved to either Staten Island or Queens every year since ’02. The point of the article is that while Brooklyn has continued to get more expensive (per Miller Samuel, median condo/co-op price in Manhattan in ’07=$850,000; per Corcoran, median price for a brownstone Brooklyn unit last year was $590,000) and the pricing gulf between the two has narrowed, moving to Brooklyn is no longer driven purely by economic necessity: “Perhaps it’s that Brooklyn has ceased to be simply another economic option for priced-out Manhattanites; instead, it’s now safer than ever to assume that moving to Brooklyn is more of a social or personal decision than an economic one. It will only become more so as real estate differences between the two melt away.”
Where Brooklyn Gets Its New Yorkers [NY Observer]
Graphic by Nigel Holmes for The Observer


It makes you wonder: Now that much of Manhattan has turned into a theme park version of “Sex and the City,” would Carrie Bradshaw and the gang still live on the island? Probably not, since Manhattan is as played out as a pair of last season’s Manolos. “It’s expensive, and it’s not what it used to be,” Sarah Jessica Parker tells the Daily News. “That’s why the outer boroughs are so desirable. The outer boroughs are pretty sexy. It’s just a matter of time before they have their own shows.” According to the article, “If ‘Sex’ were starting over today, Carrie would rock out Carroll Gardens. BFF Miranda started out in Park Slope, but later, she’s bound to settle down with Steve, Brady and a brand new car in spacious Red Hook,” while Samantha would roost in Long Island City and Charlotte would play house in Riverdale. The article has quotes from Brooklyn residents who say stuff like, “Carroll Gardens or Williamsburg have a little bit of the hip edge that Carrie has, so she’d be able to get away with her funky outfits and no one would think twice about it.” Hip, edgy, less expensive than Manhattan: You heard it here first, folks. Also, the apocalypse is nigh.
Trendsetters Set Their Sights on Hip Alterna-Nabes [NY Daily News]
Photo by spinachdip.


Did you know there are places to live in the United States aside from Brooklyn? Neither did we, but according to an article in the Style section of yesterday’s Times, there’s a place in California called San Francisco that is something of a sister city to Brooklyn. Or, as the piece puts it, “there is a young, earnest population that is beating a path between artsy, gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn and their counterparts in the Bay Area, especially East Oakland and the area south of Market Street in San Francisco, or SoMa.” So what do the two places have in common aside from loads of creatives? Local eyesores (Emeryville mud flats and the Gowanus Canal); good breweries (Anchor and Brooklyn); literary do-gooder establishments (Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia and 826NYC); and a shared ethos: “If there is an aesthetic credo to Brooklyn and the Bay Area, it is Do It Yourself, which connotes more than using an Allen wrench from Ikea. D.I.Y. can mean everything from wearing locally designed T-shirts to attending concerts staged in someone’s warehouse apartment, to riding a bike to work.”
Sisters in Idiosyncrasy [NY Times]
San Francisco photo by Dizzy Atmosphere; Brooklyn photo by rsguskind.