Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brooklyn Timeline: Williamsburg

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Page 6 of 10

Williamsburg tenement, 1934. Yeah, thats not SO different from today. Its just that today that space would be $2,400/month
  • Williamsburg tenement, 1934. Yeah, that's not SO different from today. It's just that today that space would be $2,400/month

1930s: As Goes the Nation, So Goes Williamsburg

The 1930s weren't the best decade for America, or really the world, and that carried over into Williamsburg. Although there were still a plentitude of factories in operation back then, that didn't mean there were enough jobs to go around. Another problem was that immigration to the neighborhood continued unabated. The newest round of immigrants were Satmar Hassidic Jews, many of whom came to Brooklyn after escaping from Europe and the looming threat of the Nazis. This population block has become one of the strongholds in Williamsburg, both as a demographic, cultural, and political force. 1938 also marked the opening of the first public housing in America, the Williamsburg Houses.

The recovery from the Great Depression was slow in Williamsburg, but thanks to the abundance of factory jobs, there were at least some employment opportunities, even if it meant solidifying the neighborhood as a blue-collar place. Long gone were the days of Cornelius Vanderbilt, which is fine, really. He was kind of an unbearable tycoon. Who wants that for a neighbor? He'd probably be really quick to make noise complaints, or, like, bang on your door if you were walking around with shoes on and you lived above him. Ugh. He'd be the WORST neighbor.

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About The Author

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen

Kristin Iversen is the Managing Editor at Brooklyn Magazine and the L Magazine. She has been described as "a hipster buzzword made flesh." This seems pretty accurate.

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