Every week, Amber and I make the drive down to Brooklyn check out open houses and look at apartments to move into. Three months into the process, I feel as if I’m knowledgeable about Brooklyn for a guy who lives in Connecticut and never spent significant time in Brooklyn until now.
What I’m also knowledgeable about is the struggle going on in Brooklyn to maintain the reasons why people want to move there in the first place. There’s a disconnect that I’ve noticed in talking to most real estate agents. While looking at places like the Forte or Oro condos, they’ve mentioned how much better the proposed new stadium is going to make Brooklyn. [For more on the proposed stadium and surrounding areas I suggest you read the Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklynblog.] I personally believe that the stadium and surrounding projects are a bad idea for a number of reasons, the least being that a new timeline puts the project completion at 30 years. By that point I hope to have moved to and from Brooklyn.
So my personal dilemma has been in the places we’ve seen. We were originally looking at apartments in giant luxury condos, but we’ve stopped that mostly for our dogs. Leeloo is frightened of elevators to that point of freezing in place and shaking, Matty is over-friendly to everyone and while we’re happy he’s friendly, it’s off putting if you don’t like dogs and Tino currently wants to eat your face. I don’t know if you’ve had experience of being on an elevator with three dogs like ours, but I hope you never have the pleasure.
The luxury seriously bothered me. The Oro condo is on the cusp of low income housing. While I don’t mind living near low income housing, I mind living in a building that will instantly gentrify a neighborhood. Oro, combined with Avalon Fort Greene and one other building that I’m not remembering at the moment will change that neighborhood dramatically. I don’t want to be a part of that.
So we’re looking at smaller new constructions and pre-built buildings. We have looked at things that will change neighborhoods, but not change in a sense of gentrification but instead changing an area from commercial or warehouses into residential. This back and forth is something that goes on in my head as we look at each place we visit.
Granted, we’re still increasing Brooklyn’s population by two people and three dogs no matter where we move, but we have an opportunity to not join the thousands going into these gentrification magnets. It’s important to me that we don’t move into a building that my friends in Brooklyn think is destroying the borough.