Ask A Native New Yorker: Is Queens Doomed To Be The Next Brooklyn?

This week’s question comes from a lifelong Queens resident who’s got a problem with the “Brooklynization” of his borough.

Have you ever noticed that all gentrified neighborhoods are alike, but each ungentrified neighborhood is cool in its own way? Like I could drop you in any hipster area anywhere in the world—Brooklyn, Austin, Portland, Berlin, Tokyo—and you’d be surrounded by the same scene: coffee bars with people tapping away at Macbooks, an upscale dive bar filled with guys with beards, a bunch of restaurants selling farm-to-table food. Even the graffiti would look the same!


Can India’s Ancient Stepwells Help Solve the Country’s Water Crisis?

Now largely obsolete, these Escher-like cisterns were once monuments of public life. And in the midst of water shortage, stepwells may refill their civic role.Now largely obsolete, these Escher-like cisterns were once monuments of public life. And in the midst of water shortage, stepwells may refill their civic role.

The Brooklyn effect: Cities around the world eager to be crowned the newest hipster paradise

Paris used to be the de facto city to emulate, but now, the not-so-humble borough of Brooklyn is king, with each enclave with artisan shops and fixed-gear bikes eager to claim the title of ‘the new Brooklyn.’

Many neighborhoods around the world are comparing themselves to Brooklyn, where gritty, industrial neighborhoods have been gentrified and now attract hipsters, small businesses, artisanal food and the arts.

For more than a century, cities around the world have compared themselves to Paris. Many claim to be the Paris of the East: Bucharest, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut and Shanghai to name a few. There’s also the Paris of North America (Montreal), the Paris of South America (Buenos Aires) and the Paris of the Plains — Kansas City in the Jazz Age.

But now the wannabe city is Brooklyn. Every neighborhood with a critical mass of bearded hipsters, bike shops and vegan cafes calls itself “the new Brooklyn.” Ballard is the Brooklyn of Seattle. Glasgow and Melbourne both claim Brooklyn cool.

There’s even a Brooklyn of Paris: the once-gritty suburb of Pantin. Its derelict, graffiti-covered warehouses have been taken over by galleries and artists, turning it into the hippest place in the City of Light. Just like in Brooklyn, real estate prices have shot up, and old industrial buildings now house luxury lofts.

Other signs of what’s called the “Brooklynization of Paris” include gluten-free restaurants and juice bars popping up. “It used to be when young chefs studied under the great chefs, they wanted to open important restaurants or go to the countryside and get their Michelin star.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s emergence as a global symbol of all things trendy marks quite a turnaround for a place once mocked as Manhattan’s less sophisticated neighbor — even if the new Brooklyn has new problems, like young professionals and affluent families pushing out the poor and working-class folks who populated Brooklyn for decades.

Pantin, a once-gritty Paris suburb, is sometimes compared to Brooklyn. Both areas have gentrified, with artists and galleries moving in to old warehouses and real estate prices shooting up.

“There is no question that Brooklyn now serves as an example for other urban centers of how a community can transform itself into a hotbed of style.”