NY Magazine has an article currently published online that is helping us feel more grounded in reality.
The topic is Red Hook, everyone's favorite up-and-coming baby. However, the dreams of a gentrified Red Hook have largely failed to take flight. Why?
Here's the paragraph that basically sums up the "problem" with Red Hook:
This is why Red Hook has seemed uniquely immunized against gentrification. It’s an isolated neighborhood, roughly one square mile in size, and it’s very difficult to commute to, except by car. Brokers and boosters like to describe Van Brunt as a "twenty-minute walk from the subway," but they don’t often tell you what this journey entails: From the Smith Street–Ninth Street F-train stop, you travel by foot over, under, and around the tangle of the BQE and the entrance to the Battery Tunnel, then cross an uninviting wasteland of warehouses and Dumpster-storage yards guarded by barbed wire and the occasional unfriendly dog. There’s a bus, the B61, that’s famous in local lore for its sporadic appearances and circuitous route. Did I mention that the Smith Street–Ninth Street subway station is scheduled to close for repairs in 2010? For about a year? At least?
Regardless of whether a neighborhood is boosted as trendy, limited infrastructure will keep new people from moving to the neighborhood. It will also prevent consumers from traveling to the neighborhood.
We specifically chose PLG as our home because of the quick subway ride to Manhattan and access to Prospect Park. Don't get us wrong - we wanted (and continue to want) more amenities to arrive, but we decided to live in PLG because it did not come with the isolation of a neighborhood such as Red Hook.
In summary, we're not surprised that Red Hook did not live up to its imagined potential. NY Mag tries to make the argument that we could see "de-gentrifcation" emerge as a citywide trend, but we get the sense that Red Hook was never very desirable to begin with.
Jon Brownstoner offers his commentary today as well.