Where will all the priced-out masses go when they're forced to give up their Williamsburg digs in order to make way for more luxury condos and Duane Reades? According to Metro, the next big things are Hell's Kitchen, Ridgewood, Queens, and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (FDB) in Harlem. They admit Hell's Kitchen isn't quite an up-and-comer (people have been calling it that for years), so let's zero in on one of the newer names on the list: Ridgewood.
Wasn't it just last year that we declared, "next year's headline will read: Ridgewood is the New Bushwick"? Yes, it was (disclaimer: "we" live there!). According to the paper, the L train has bred a new artist neighborhood, and "Ridgewood is the beneficiary of the gentrification bug spreading east. With three galleries popping up... and new condo developments hitting the market, the hood has finally started to get the attention of the public that has been so enamored by the maturation of Williamsburg and Bushwick." Plus, the Hold Steady even strummed us some tunes on a rooftop there (so, how hip, etc!).
One realtor (who of course is trying to move units in a condo there) says, “People will go east if the price is right. [Ridgewood] has the cache and coolness of Bushwick, but with a residential neighborhood that [people] don’t need to wait to develop. Everything is in place.” Residents are weary of the trend-talk however—we asked local Brandon Zwagerman about the "next big thing" declaration, and he told us:
Recent media talk of the "gentrification" of Ridgewood seems over-blown. This is a stable working-class community, and that won't change noticably in the near future. An article in a commuter daily including a quote from a Williamsburg-based broker (with "hip" graphic branding design) and apparently based on a real estate blog post which is itself based on a journalism graduate student's video clip regarding a few galleries next to the Bushwick border hardly makes for compelling evidence that Ridgewood has "cache and coolness." It's a quiet, low-key, family-oriented Queens neighborhood.