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New York's Hottest Neighborhood Is…Sunset Park West?

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The Gray Lady named four of NYC's rising neighborhoods

You know a New York Times piece about NYC's next big neighborhoods is going to be good/cringeworthy when it begins thusly: "Bushwick, Brooklyn, is over. Ridgewood, Queens, had its hipster moment." Really? Does this mean Ridgewood residents don't have to worry about the threat of gentrification? (Oh, wait.)

In its latest prognostication about which NYC neighborhoods will become the Next Big Thing, the Times asked developers to identify the markers of an area on the rise, which include "signs of activity in an 'understored' area" (apparently, if a Connecticut Muffin comes to a neighborhood without many retail options, gentrification isn't far behind), as well as the following factors:

a neighborhood with access to public transportation and real estate values that are rising but still lower than in surrounding areas. Attractive existing architecture is also a plus. Eminent rezoning is an inviting prospect. A new supermarket is another.

So with all that in mind, which neighborhoods did the Times designate as on the rise? Check 'em out:

Sunset Park West

WTF is Sunset Park West? According to the Times, it's the microcosm of the Brooklyn neighborhood that includes Industry City and the waterfront (including the brand new Bush Terminal Park). While it's unlikely that the name will stick, there's no denying that the developments along the water (including the Brooklyn Flea and the new Brooklyn Nets training center) are drawing crowds to the area. "While not enough housing stock is available to establish a trend…'pure demand' is driving interest," according to the Times.

The Rockaways, Queens

Somehow, a glowing write-up of the Rockaways only mentions Hurricane Sandy once—which is either a testament to the neighborhood's revitalization, or just a weird glossing-over of the work that remains to be done out in Queens. In any case, with a median sales price of $430,000, the Rockaways are seeing an "uptick in young professionals and families attracted by the space their money can buy," according to a broker with familiarity in the area. But that's still not going to make that hour-plus commute from Midtown any easier.

Flatbush, Brooklyn

"Where is a Brooklyn buyer with a starter budget to turn?," asks the Times—and the answer is apparently Flatbush, which is a hop, skip, and a jump away from the pricier environs of Ditmas Park and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. There are plenty of homes for under $1 million in the neighborhood (and yep, that's the starter budget, in case you were wondering), and it has the benefit of being near a decent number of transit options.

East Harlem

"I see East Harlem as one of the few remaining areas in New York City where you can secure a good deal," Halstead broker Lauren Cangiano told the Times, though we're guessing "New York City" there may simply mean "Manhattan" (after all, we just learned about four places in the outer boroughs where it's cheaper to buy). Of course, while the neighborhood seems like a good deal now, it's likely to get a lot pricier quickly: According to the Times, there are 21 development sites that "traded hands" recently, including the enormous Extell development on the site of a former Pathmark at 125th Street.

Of course, what does calling a neighborhood "hot" mean for the people who've lived there since before it was interesting to the Times? There's a little lip service to that, too:

The consequences of gentrification can be unfortunate for both longtime residents and new arrivals in search of low-cost housing, even though they may welcome more stores and services.