A Neighborhood Grows in Brooklyn

"In North Brooklyn, for example, the waterfront—once a site of heavily polluting industry—has added new parkland, schools, and more than 12,000 homes since 2007. As a result of the 2005 rezoning, developers have built denser, mixed-use developments along 175 blocks adjacent to the East River, in addition to 2,000 affordable units and the preservation of another 1,000 units. By contrast, New York City collectively developed fewer housing units in the 2010s than it did during the Great Depression. In Williamsburg and Greenpoint, however, plans are underway to construct 4,900 units along the waterfront, plus another 2,600 in an adjacent, recently rezoned area.

Williamsburg and Greenpoint built, and the people came. Between 2007 and 2017, when the number of New Yorkers grew by 6 percent, the population of Williamsburg’s rezoned waterfront ballooned by 41 percent to more than 45,000. These new entrants were generally younger, and many started families. Approximately 160,000 people, kids and all, now live in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. So much for “grimy authenticity,” lamented the New York Times.

The waterfront grew while maintaining its diversity, too. Some 30,000 more white residents called Williamsburg and Greenpoint home from 2000 to 2015. But the denser, up-zoned parts of the borough’s waterfront saw an increase in nonwhite residents as well. In fact, the area reversed its more than 15-year-long decline in Hispanic residents."