Brooklynites moving to Poconos for cheap real estate, fresh air

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Forget East Williamsburg — realtors say the hottest new neighborhood for Brooklynites looking to relocate is East Stroudsburg.

A growing number of Brooklyn residents are moving to Pennsylvania’s Poconos according to real estate insiders, who claim rock-bottom real estate prices, fresh mountain air, and 90-minute New York City commutes are drawing Kings County locals in droves.

“New York buyers have always been familiar with the Poconos, but at some point it turned into a primary location as opposed to just a weekend resort type of area,” said Christine D’Amico, a sales representatives with Toll Brothers developers, which manages multiple communities in the wooded area and will develop condos and a hotel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. “People are able to afford a brand new home and at what they’re paying in rent — a three-bedroom or four-bedroom home.”

In the past two years, nearly half of Toll Brothers sales — nine out of 20 in two developments near Stroudsburg — have gone to Brooklyn buyers, D’Amico claims, with a sizable amount of those homeowners coming from East New York, Canarsie, Ditmas Park, and Flatbush.

And with reliable bus service shuttling workers to Port Authority in Manhattan every morning, some borough-residents are willing to trade in the perks of the big city for country living.

“I kept looking at houses in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, but I couldn’t afford it,” said Linda Porter, a lifelong Brooklyn resident who moved from Fort Greene to East Stroudsburg with her daughter, son-in-law and their two children in May. “You don’t get a lot for your money [in Brooklyn]; but you get a lot for your money out here.”

Homes in the Poconos can go for as little as $120,000, said Stroudsburg real estate agent Kriss Ferrara, herself a longtime New York City resident who bought a vacation home in the area, then decamped for good.

“Oh my goodness, it’s almost like a bedroom community for New York City,” said Ferrara. “After several years of living in New York City people can’t take it any more and have to get out.”

Ferrara says it’s a migration trend that’s been going on for more than a decade — which isn’t so surprising considering a whole generation of Brooklynites grew up knowing the jingle to Mount Airy Lodge in the Pocono’s thanks to its memorable, if not over-played TV commercial.

But the Brooklyn influx has only picked up in recent years, as property values neared pre-Recession levels in Brooklyn but continued to lag in the Poconos. Sale prices in Brooklyn have depreciated just 3.2 percent since February 2008 to a median of $581,000, but they have been cut in half in East Stroudsburg over the same period, falling from $250,000 to $125,000, according to the real estate site Trulia.

Porter, who commutes to a 9–5 job in Manhattan’s Financial District, says she can hardly go anywhere in the Poconos without bumping into old faces.

“Everywhere I go I see someone from Brooklyn that I knew,” said Porter, whose sister also moved to the area from the borough. “I’m like, ‘What are you doing out here?’ ”

An old neighbor from East New York lives nearby and now attends the same Pennsylvania church.

It’s not just space and skiing — the Poconos offer more of a community, some Brooklyn expats claim.

“I’m originally from Trinidad; we’re accustomed to having homes with backyards and more of a community atmosphere,” said Lauren Luces-Burris, who will move with her husband and daughter from a two-bedroom Crown Heights rental to a brand new four-bedroom Toll Brothers home slated to be completed this summer. “Here it’s tough to forge a strong sense of community in an apartment, and everyone is on the go. There you have kids playing in the street, it’s a safer, and you have stronger programs in the schools.”

Luces-Burris, like many Pocono transplants, says she will continue to commute to her job as the manager of a Starbucks near the Empire State Building after the move. And commutes could get even better — and real estate more expensive — if a proposed train link from the Poconos to Penn Station ever comes to fruition.

And residents say that though they’ve moved away, Brooklyn is never too far away.

“I guess sometimes I wish I could just walk to the store, or something like that,” said Porter, who still has family in Brooklyn. “But I can still go to Fort Greene Park any time I want.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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Reasonable discourse

Homey from Crooklyn says:
A three to four hour commute each day....yikes
Feb. 13, 2013, 9:08 am
diehipster from Clotheslining Calebs says:
"Forget East Williamsburg — realtors say the hottest new neighborhood for Brooklynites looking to relocate is East Stroudsburg."

Uhm, the Brooklynites who are moving out there are not the same type that even consider moving to a trendy made-up name neighborhood. The people moving are most likely real Brooklynites who have no choice being pushed out by soy-based bearded kidults on a Brooklyn play date. Such a shame.
Feb. 13, 2013, 9:14 am
ty from pps says:
Hey Diehipster --
Which neighborhoods in Brooklyn don't have "made-up" names? Name one.
Feb. 13, 2013, 9:44 am
JAZ from The Barista Hunter says:
ty - do you really not know what DH was referring to? There is a big difference between neighborhood names that have stood for many years and the new fangled creations by real estate firms designed to capitalize on the 'coolness' factor in order to sweep in midwest art school lemmings with unlimited parental cash and infantile urban adventure fetishes.
Feb. 13, 2013, 10:30 am
Alex from Chelsea says:
I'd love to move to the Poconos, though a 90 minute commute by bus each way is pretty daunting. I guess you could nap, read a book, or catch up on some TV on the way which wouldn't make it so bad. However, any bad weather or road issues could double that.

That being said, those buying now might end up being winners if that rail is built.
Feb. 13, 2013, 10:42 am
Jackmac from Bay Ridge says:
Does this article say 9 out of 20 homes sold to Brooklyn transplants? I would hardly call that a mass migration. Really - nine people?
Feb. 13, 2013, 10:59 am
ty from pps says:
Jaz -- I absolutely know what DH was referring too... But guess what? Almost ALL of the neighborhood names were "newfangled creations by real estate firms" designed to capitalized on various factors.

Just because it's happening now instead of 50 years ago, it's an affront to all that is holy?!! So effing ridiculous.

The point of neighborhood names is also to give someone a general idea of where something is. It's why the ENORMOUS 'neighborhood' of Flatbush has been broken up into more reasonable pieces with various smaller neighborhood names... some historical, some "made up." That's where I live. In a "made-up name" neighborhood.

What would you rather call the neighborhood east of Bushwick and north of Flushing? it's not Bushwick. it's really not Williamsburg. Is there an *old* made-up name that was replaced? Remind me what that is and we'll all start using it. OK?
Feb. 13, 2013, 11:16 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
The Poconos are a rural slum. You get what you pay for.
Feb. 13, 2013, 11:33 am
Bob from Brooklyn says:
Anyone moving with the hope of an eventual extension of rail service is making a big mistake. With rail, the commute would be better than bearable — and real estate prices would soar. Rail's been promised for years, but Jersey's anti-mass-transit governor is not likely to allow plans to move forward, even assuming federal assistance is still available. IF rail is extended, it might run as far as Scranton, which has a lot more going for it than East Stroudsburg.
Feb. 13, 2013, 12:08 pm
Juan from Gowan says:
Yeah using "East Williamsburg" to refer to the eastern part of Williamsburg - what kind of crazy newfangled BS is that.
Feb. 13, 2013, 12:12 pm
K. from ArKady says:
I for one prefer the traditional Manhattan naming convention (what I call the 'Ho form). Examples following...

SoHo : South of Houston
NoHo : North of Houston
BloHo : The area around the mayors residence
GloHo : Times square / 42nd st.
BroHo : Area north of 125th st.
Feb. 13, 2013, 12:24 pm
diehipster from Tyler Torcherer says:

You never ever ever seem to have an answer to defend the kidult liberal arts granola invasion, do you? Always dodging the real issues and obvious non-Brooklyn way of life you hipster yuptards have taken up. Thanks for validating everything the "diehipster grandmas basement virgin" crowd has to say.
Feb. 13, 2013, 12:51 pm
ty from pps says:
Diehipster --
I don't have to defend anything... I personally don't give a crap that people are moving to New York City from other places. This is YOUR problem. And for some reason, tight jeans make you nervous.

What do hipsters and Ohio have to do with your dumb remark about "made-up names"!?!? You still haven't shared which neighborhoods in Brooklyn don't have "made-up" names? Name one.

And how, pray tell, is East Williamsburg such a travesty of a designation for the neighborhood? If it were only "real Brooklyn" people living there, would the name be OK?

Wait... Did the East Williamsburg Industrial Park get named by hipsters from Ohio?
Feb. 13, 2013, 1:32 pm
ty from pps says:
There's also this... from 1873.
Feb. 13, 2013, 1:39 pm
Bob from Brooklyn says:
This made-up-name stream is silly. Obviously, at some point, all names were "made up." What's happened in Brooklyn since the '60s, though, is that traditional neighborhood names going back a century and more have been obliterated or reduced by new names designed solely to sell real estate at higher prices.

Does anyone remember in the '80s when a real estate broker tried very hard to rename "Red Hook" as "Liberty View," because you can see the Statue! [Red Hook then was totally undesirable vis a vis real estate exploitation, so the thinking was that a new name might do wonders for it — the way Boerum Hill distanced newly arrived '70s "gentry" from Gowanus.]

Fortunately, Liberty View did not catch on. Red Hook, though, is today fraction [geographically] of what it was 50 years ago. Carroll Gardens, anyone?
Feb. 13, 2013, 1:43 pm
ty from pps says:
And, Bob... You don't think the split from Red Hook has anything to do with the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Gowanus Expressway??!

How about we just get rid of neighborhood names and call everything south of Atlantic simply "South Brooklyn" again? That should make all of the crusty old-timers happy, right?
Feb. 13, 2013, 2:01 pm
ty from pps says:
And I'm sorry I mention the word Gowanus... even if I was just referring to the highway.

I know how the CRAZY it seems to many of you that it would be acceptable to refer to neighborhood in close proximity to the Gowanus Canal as the Gowanus Neighborhood. I didn't mean to cause you such distress.
Feb. 13, 2013, 2:06 pm
Trendreader says:
Wonder how the Brooklyn Paper latched onto this story--a call from the Toll Bros. pr firm?

This is a very old story, with some not-so-happy elements:
Feb. 13, 2013, 3:54 pm
Richard from Williamsburg says:

Funny, that old story from the Times was the first thing I thought of upon reading this. I remembered it clearly, but I assume that it was more recent than nearly 9 years ago.

I don't think these Poconos buyers are being "pushed out by soy-based bearded kidults on a Brooklyn play date" as one commentator said. The people who move to the Poconos are car owners with larger families who are looking for big backyards and the whole "suburban" (exurban?) lifestyle. It's highly unlikely they're competing for the same kind of housing in Brooklyn that hipsters want.

Long commutes have been shown to be, as social scientists have discovered, one of the things in people's lives that causes their daily quality of life and thus their happiness to suffer. I suspect most of these people would be happier moving out of this part of the country altogether and finding similar, even cheaper, housing in the Sun Belt, where the weather is better and the commutes are probably more pleasant.
Feb. 13, 2013, 8:25 pm
CP from Sunset Pk says:
Why would anyone want to leave NYC, the greatest city in the world?
Feb. 13, 2013, 9:12 pm
kelly from park slope says:
It's not the hipsters who are leaving bklyn for PA, it's the regular old-timey brooklynites who are getting pushed out by the hipster influx.

that nytimes story was just plain scary. some idyll! if i had to get up at 3:30 am and spend 6 hours a day on a bus, i would kill myself.
Feb. 14, 2013, 9:36 am
kelly from park slope says:
nearly half of the sales made in the last 2 years are from bklyn. that is significant, jackmac.
Feb. 14, 2013, 9:38 am
ty from pps says:
Kelly -- Is it? There are 2-1/2 million people here... A bunch of homes in Montclair and Tampa were also sold to people coming from Brooklyn.
Feb. 14, 2013, 9:52 am
Ian from Poconos says:
As someone who moved from Brooklyn to the Poconos over 13 years ago...given the choice again I wouldn't do it. The daily commute is AT LEAST 4 hours and if you work anything over 8 hours a day (I typically worked 10-11hrs daily) then you just won't have a life. As they say here 'I came to the Poconos for the quality of life...but I don't have time to enjoy it'. BTW: My record commute was 5 hrs ONE-WAY (up to 4 on a number of other occassions) because you only have the option of driving or taking the buse. Don't let any of the builders tell you the train will be here in 3 years...they've been using that scam for over 30 yrs now to try and lure people here.
Feb. 14, 2013, 9:58 am
Ian from Poconos says:
...and no you can't get a home for the same price as renting. Your base mortgage might be the same but then you have property/school tax which will add $500-$800 per month. The cost of commuting 5-days a week is $562/month with the biggest provider. So when you add it all up there is a significant difference.
Feb. 14, 2013, 10:03 am
Ian from Poconos says:
Cost of a reasonable home. Mortgage $1,200/month, Property/school tax $500-$800/month, Commute 5-days a week $560/month.
Feb. 14, 2013, 10:05 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
The majority of NYers who actually move to the Poconos are the very lowest edge of the lower middle class/upper edge of the working poor. The Poconos are simply not a viable alternative for NYers with more resources than that core group. You're talking about a soul crushing commute to an area with poorly constructed housing, few if any amenities and basically non-existant infrastructure. The article is a plant by a Toll Brother's shill, as someone else pointed out.
Feb. 14, 2013, 10:28 am
yule from brooklyn says:
There you have it ladies and gentleman - above comments are the real reason why people are leaving brooklyn... anyone else get so annoyed reading this bickering like an old married couple??
Feb. 14, 2013, 11:06 am
Bill from Greenpoint says:
I moved to the Poconos a few years ago and It was the best thing I did. I commuted for the first 6 months while looking for a new job and it wasn't great but not any worse than my old co-workers coming from Conn & Eastern LI. The quality of life is great especially if you like outdoor activites. Like we tell everyone , come visit for the weekend.
Feb. 19, 2013, 5:59 pm
Jenn from Stroudsburg says:
Buyers Beware. Its beautiful in the summer but keep in mind our summers are generally 2-3 months out of the year. The rest of the year is hell if you're not a skier and have to actually get up to go the work everyday. The shoveling, the driving long distances, the cold and weird neighbors get to you after awhile. I live in a very nice area, but sometimes living in a nice area means living next door to someone who walks down the street carrying a turkey they just hunted. The commute in itself to NY everyday is insane because yes, you spend half your day commuting and the other half working. If you're coming, please come with a big family because it can get really lonely. Please consider RENTING FIRST just so that you're not locked in if your sump pump dies every three weeks, or you find out your neighbor is a serial killer.
Feb. 28, 2013, 11:52 am
Heather Clay says:
The workers at Lincoln Moving and Storage were so professional and so helpful. The staff anticipated and answered many of my questions, and was extremely helpful. Everything especially my paintings were handled with great care. Thank you. You made a sometimes stressful experience a very easy process. Contact them today at or (716) 874-1380. They simplify your moving and storage worries.
March 21, 2013, 9:41 pm
John from Brooklyn 11219 says:
Yeah, dig out of your driveway before you head out to the bus stop at 4 in the morning. It's just a vacation community.
Aug. 22, 2014, 9:45 am
John from Corolla , NC says:
Your best bet is the Carolinas. You have the beach, mountains , low taxe rate and Southern hospitality!
Oct. 24, 2014, 4:18 pm
General from NYC says:
I would move to the pocono's because its a cheaper life I don't mind paying the money for the commute peace of mind and not all the stupidity that happens in nyc will happen over there
Dec. 19, 2014, 12:42 pm
donald e sfechick from pocono farms east says:
to describe the poconos is feeding time in the zoo. but the animals and culfumgate human scum aren't behind bars.
Nov. 23, 2015, 9:01 pm

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