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Bed-Stuy’s gentrification, effects on residents analyzed in comptroller’s report

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli takes a look how residents, both new and old, fare in the midst of change

Flickr/Joseph Buxbaum

Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy is much different today from what it once was back when films like Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing highlighted the neighborhood. In the midst of gentrification, the area’s reputation as a predominately African American neighborhood is shifting and so, too, is its economy and real estate market. A new report released by state Controller Thomas DiNapoli analyzes those changes— good, bad, and indifferent.

The report, entitled “An Economic Snapshot of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Neighborhood,” [PDF!] takes a look at how gentrification has affected the neighborhood and its long-time residents (h/t NY Daily News). While there has been a surge in new businesses and employment growth, not all have benefitted.

“Many of the new residents are immigrants, white, or young, and are likely to have higher incomes than long-term residents, states the report. “Their arrival has put pressure on housing costs, making it increasingly less affordable for long-term residents, especially seniors, to remain in the neighborhood.”

For newer residents, the median household income is $50,200 while long-time residents it is a mere $28,000— a new phenomenon since in 2010, the household income of new residents was similar to those of long-term residents, says the report. Even though two-thirds of the apartments in Bed-Stuy are either rent-stabilized or public housing, nearly one-third of all households are severely rent burdened and face difficulties remaining in their homes as a result of rising housing costs.

On the positive side, violent crime has decreased, though it still remains a concern for the city and the number of neighborhood businesses grew by 73 percent.

“Bedford-Stuyvesant is undergoing an economic resurgence, with record numbers of businesses and jobs, but the benefits have not been shared by all residents,” said DiNapoli. “Today's report shows how far Bedford-Stuyvesant has come, but it also shows the challenges that remain.”