Williamsburg is known for its superb cuisine, old-school aesthetic, killer nightlife, and, now, exploding rent prices, tourists and trust-fund babies. So what’s a hipster to do? Pack up the ramen noodles and head to Bushwick.
Census figures released this week show that Bushwick — which in some areas is still 65-percent Hispanic — is becoming a haven for middle- and lower-class whites. That population has grown more than 15 percent in the 10 years, and its income is declining rapidly — median incomes top out in the upper $30,000s. And some areas of Bushwick have median incomes as low as $19,000, an 18-percent decline over the past decade.
It’s the artists, college students and growing families that are gentrifying — or de-gentrifying — Bushwick these days.
“This is a real affordable artist community, a lot like Williamsburg used to be,” said Dani King, a two-year Bushwick resident who was cast out of Williamsburg by rising rents. “Williamsburg is too freaking expensive. Here, there’s space, and artists are everywhere. It’s just got that vibe now.”
Like the young pop-up community before it, Bushwick attracts musicians and vagabonds alike with its phenomenal real-estate prices and location. Indeed, it keeps the young crowd on their beloved L train from Grand Street to Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues, and it’s a buyer’s market in terms of real estate — rent is on the rise just like everywhere else, but the median monthly price for a home is as low as $550 in some areas.
Try getting that in Williamsburg, where rents have shot up as much as 30 percent. Heck, brokers are even calling parts of the warehouse-heavy neighborhood, “East Williamsburg” on their advertisements.
Billyburg is so 2002.
“We came out to Bushwick because this is the last spot to get a lot of space for such a good price — plus, a lot of the artists were already out here,” said Jessica Tom, director of marketing and events for the 3rd Ward art space in Bushwick. “The neighborhood has this raw, fresh energy. We recognize that Bushwick might be far out of the way now, but we wouldn’t be able to grow if we were in Williamsburg.”