- "Wanna rent this tree? $300."
Bloomberg made two commitments when he took office, WNYC reports
: to create more affordable housing and to make the city a more desirable place to live. But achieving the latter meant forgoing the former: as more people come to the city, spreading out across once working-class neighborhoods, rents rise. Measuring the burden of that rent isn't just figuring out which neighborhoods charge the highest median rents (including utilities); it's comparing that information against an area's median income. What WNYC found when they crunched the numbers
is something we of course already knew: in Bloomberg's New York, it's been harder for the poor to survive—but not for the better off. [photo
Most Rent Burdened
In 2011, Borough Park had the highest rent burden of any part of Brooklyn: its $1,210 median rent was 50 percent of the median income. The vile stereotype about the Jews is that they're rich, but actually many Jewish people are poor—25 percent of Jewish families in NYC, in fact, according to
the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. [photo
Who Else is Rent Burdened?
It's almost a stripe running through the middle of the borough, from Coney Island to Bushwick (with a handle heading east into East New York). Bushwick ($1,176 median rent) and Coney ($902 median rent) have it the worst at a 36.3 percent rent burden; of these neighborhoods, Brownsville/Ocean Hill ($849 median rent) have the lowest burden, at 33.9 percent. Many Central and Eastern Brooklyn neighborhoods are those of course that were left out of the borough's recent economic revitalization
, instead becoming its victims. [photo
Yes! As recently as 2005, those neighborhoods were not as severely burdened. Bushwick's rent burden was more than 3 percentage points lower. Coney Island's was 29.8 percent—six-and-a-half percentage points lower
. East New York's was almost five percentage points lower. (Not every neighborhood fits this trend; Brownsville's was slightly higher.) The recession played a large role in those differences, but so too did city policy: between 2005—the year Bloomberg's big waterfront rezoning plan passed—and 2011, the median rent in Williamsburg/Greenpoint rose $250. [photo
Least Rent Burdened
- Park Slope has expensive rents, but not for the people who pay them
In Park Slope/Carroll Gardens/Red Hook, where median rent runs $1,735—almost double Coney Island's—the rent burden is only 26.4 percent, slightly down from 2005; in Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Fort Greene, it's 29 percent, slightly higher than in 2005. In Williamsburg/Greenpoint, it's 30.5 percent—more than two percentage points lower than it was in 2005. All of which is to say that rents have not become significantly more burdensome during Bloomberg's mayoralty (despite the recession) for most people living in the most gentrified and developed neighborhoods even as those rents increased—indeed, for many it became less burdensome. (Though the median rent for people who recently moved to these neighborhoods is often hundreds of dollars more than the general population's median rent.) It became, however, significantly more difficult for most of those living elsewhere. [photo
Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart