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Brooklyn's Decade: More White People, More Marketing Appeal

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Maybe you noticed that Brooklyn has changed a bit in the past 10 years, or maybe you just woke up from a coma. If you fall into that latter category, first off, welcome to the world of blogs! Second, there are a handful of newspaper stories out today exploring the dramatic changes in Brooklyn's racial makeup, entrepreneurial scene and corporate sponsorship potential in recent years. Today's word, kids, is gentrification.

While it's not solely Brooklyn-focused, The NYT's fascinating report on new census data tallying population shifts in New York City neighborhoods (that's just one of the map visuals above) saves its most interesting findings for several Brooklyn 'hoods. The income gap widened as the share of white residents spiked immensely in neighborhoods like Prospect Heights (to 45% from 28% in 2000), Fort Greene, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill and Bushwick. That rise came at the expense of Hispanics and blacks, whose numbers dropped in those areas, and increased in the suburbs and neighborhoods farther out in Brooklyn and Queens. In Manhattan, Harlem and the Lower East Side got whiter.

With the reverse of white flight comes a surge in stuff white people like, like independent and experimental music and performing arts spaces! The Wall Street Journal examines that scene in a story about how Gowanus has become "the city's unlikeliest cultural hot spot." Sure, it's a bit isolated and polluted, but c'mon, where else can you open a club/concert venue these days without the neighbors burning you in effigy? Click through for the typical Brooklyn story package, including a photo of the stylishly successful, and chest-thumping quotes such as, "The artistic center of the city has moved to Brooklyn."

And just to cement how far Brooklyn has come in the past decade, the NYT also looks at the rise of Brooklyn as a brand. Not just through Brooklyn Industries t-shirts, but the next level: outright corporate co-opting. Gap and Ford are throwing around money just to be associated with the borough's fabulously bearded, trend forecasting, urban farming and gourmet canning types, and now that 30 Rock has even parodied the notion of "Brooklyn cool," one guy fesses up that "the idea of Brooklyn has become somewhat of a marketing term." What will people be writing about Brooklyn in 2020? By then we'll all have been wiped out by an alien death ray, so just enjoy those $12 Mast Brothers chocolate bars now.
· Region Is Reshaped as Minorities Go to Suburbs [NYT]
· Superfund Site Morphs Into Cultural Hot Spot [WSJ]
· Brooklyn: The Brand [NYT]