Williamsburg Is All White by Them

Aaron Short, The Brooklyn Paper, December 22, 2010

No neighborhood in Brooklyn–perhaps the entire city–has experienced as much transformational change over the past decade as Williamsburg.

A longtime home to Puerto Rican and Dominican immigrants, Williamsburg’s south side now includes fancy new condos, bars and restaurants. Where once was a riot of vacant warehouses and inexpensive bodegas along S. Fourth Street and S. Sixth Street is now a new restaurant row.

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But the influx of new bars and restaurants has flummoxed community leaders, such as El Puente founder Luis Garden Acosta, who said that many Latinos do not feel at home in “their own community” anymore.

“We have a daily working-class ritual of coming home from work where mothers and fathers cook for their family,” said Acosta. “It’s very different from a twentysomething single person who may be paying for one room with a shared kitchen. For them, it’s much easier to go to a restaurant–at Southside prices.”

According to the Census bureau, Williamsburg lost one-quarter of its Latino population while the number of white residents steadily increased.

In the heavily Hispanic Southside, Latinos still make up the majority in most Census tracts–53 percent in one zone, 65 percent in another and 72 percent in a third in the area around Kent Avenue, Grand Street, Broadway and Union Avenue.

But the influx of new residents caused median incomes to rise in many areas, as high as 22 percent, as new developments with Manhattan-style amenities began attracting the affluent.

As a result, rents shot up about 30 percent in some areas. {snip}

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