‘A Changing Brooklyn’ by Neighborhood

Unique to Greenpoint is a shifting demographic, from Polish to American. Many  businesses have had to adapt to stay afloat. (Photo by "Bitch Cakes," Creative Commons license)

Unique to Greenpoint is a shifting demographic, from Polish to American. Many businesses have had to adapt to stay afloat. (Photo by “Bitch Cakes,” Creative Commons license)

Brooklyn Ink reporters scoured Brooklyn neighborhoods in search of examples of widespread change throughout the borough. Approaching the subject from a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis provides a microcosmic perspective, that is, the ability to see specific changes that might pertain only to a certain area or even a single street. Their findings have been compiled in the series, “A Changing Brooklyn.”

A recurring theme across several of the pieces is the struggle of small businesses to survive in what can feel like the shadows of big-name chain stores – the ones that drive up rent prices and force out local businesses. This is the case for retail stores on Fulton Street in “Downtown Brooklyn” and Court Street in “Boerum Hill.”

“Whoever loses their lease loses their business,” said one owner.

In “Greenpoint,” the story is similar but with an added cultural element. With more Americans moving into the historically Polish neighborhood, many Polish businesses have either been closing down or adapting to a changing clientele.

While it can sound like the same stories sweeping through most of the borough – high rent, businesses being forced out, shifting demographics – the new entities and trends that emerge can be unique to a particular neighborhood or street, evidenced in the stories that profile a specific business, such as the Doctor Who-themed “nerd bar” in “Prospect Heights” and a shuffleboard club in the historically industrial neighborhood of “Gowanus.” The “Brownstone Belt” reports a surge in alternative birthing options thanks to the area’s many expecting parents.

Meanwhile, other articles take a broader approach, examining how changes affect safety and longtime residents. Read these stories, and others, about “A Changing Brooklyn” at The Brooklyn Ink.

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