2005_11_20_zagat.jpgSometimes, no matter what we think of their questionable guides, we really like Tim and Nina Zagat. Like today when we couldn't help but nod in agreement with their Op-Ed in todays City section in which they talk about the direct connection between real estate and restaurants in contemporary New York. A few samples of their wisdom:

During the last several years, a clear trend has emerged, and it's becoming a hard and fast rule in the city. It starts when adventurous nightlife-seekers set their sights on an out-of-the-way or underdeveloped area where the bars and clubs give them the freedom to cut loose. Capitalizing on the scene, a handful of restaurateurs then set up shop to nourish the now hungry hordes. And finally, as more restaurants with more offerings take root, people recognize the viability of the neighborhood as a place to live and work.


Of course, there are those who will point to neighborhoods they think belie the trend. As always, however, the exceptions help prove the rule.

Take Long Island City - so close to Manhattan and yet still so far. Why, one might ask, has it not blossomed like Dumbo or Brooklyn Heights? The fact remains that although it's only a subway stop from the East Side, the nightlife scene is slow and the local eateries are only beginning to expand. All that means, however, is that its best days are yet to come. And in Harlem, gentrification is already under way. Nightclubs and restaurants are cropping up, and the top fare is beginning to go beyond Southern, Cajun and Creole. Rest assured, when the restaurant scenes in these neighborhoods diversify, the people will too.

Meanwhile, keep your eye on Hell's Kitchen and NoLIta where the process is well under way. In Williamsburg, new condos are rising up on the waterfront not far from the hipster bars. In Murray Hill, young people are driving real estate prices up. And with the enterprising Adolfo Carrión Jr. winning re-election as borough president, we're bound to see even more growth in the Bronx.

In our opinion they do a pretty excellent job describing in brief the life cycle of redeveloping neighborhood (bonus points for hitting the LIC story on the head). Anybody want to agree or disagree with the Zagats?