Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Red Hook: The Embers of Gentrification

A feature story in New York Magazine takes a second look at the state of Red Hook, which for about a year or so has been penned as the next area poised for gentrification thanks to new restaurants, shops and large brands like IKEA and Fairway. But the article offers a healthy dose of the harsh reality.
For the last two years, people in Red Hook have been waiting—some hopefully, some fearfully—for that wave to crash, the hordes to come, the towers to sprout. Weirdly, though, none of that has happened. In fact, for all the heraldic attention, the neighborhood now seems to be going in reverse. The Pioneer bar has shut down. So has the bistro 360 and, just recently, the live-music venue the Hook.
In the past year, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about Red Hook as a great area to make a real estate investment, with apartments like this one regular being profiled in the Saturday Times' "Habitats" and "Living In" sections.

But the NYMag article suggests something interesting:
What if gentrification isn’t self-sustaining after all? What if, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite: a self-extinguishing phenomenon? What if it’s less a flood than a forest fire—wild, yes, out of control, absolutely, but destined to consume itself by burning through the fuel it needs to survive?

Is all hope lost for Red Hook or perhaps did people just over set expectations too quickly? Personally, I think Red Hook has some hidden gems, lovely views and good investment areas. I agree with Ben Schneider of the Good Fork (love that place) who is quoted in the article as saying that Red Hook is "definitely not for everyone." It's hard to get to and has its pros and cons, just like every neighborhood.

1 comment:

ryan NOT charles said...

I did not see this but I'm going to read it when I get a chance. The #1 thing that is going to keep Red Hook being Red Hook is its lack of public transportation. It's a train ride + bus ride away. Individuals that have that certain physical or mental makeup that can withstand commutes like that are going to move there. I'll try not to generalize here but the affluent don't have that makeup. The rich are synonymous with convenience and getting to Red Hook is not convenient.