Friday, October 19, 2012

Topics: Brooklyn Exceptionalism

At the southeast corner of Fulton Street and Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill, there are large blockades on the southbound side warning drivers that the road is closed to thru traffic due to heavy construction at Washington Avenue and Atlantic Avenue.  And they're not kidding.  This is that intersection a few weeks ago...

And this is that intersection yesterday...

But far be it from Brooklyn drivers to think any sign that stands in their way applies to them.  Stand at this intersection for just a few minutes and you'll see a steady stream of drivers ignoring the sign, driving right past it, only to learn it's true, and humbly turn right back around and be on their way via another route.  It's emblematic to us of an aspect of human nature that manages to amplify itself to 11 when you're dealing with certain Brooklyn types.  Even though it's a mathematical impossibility, most people think they are above-average.  It's a well-documented effect in psychology called "illusory superiority".  People scoffing at the often 30-40 minute wait at Prospect Heights' yummy ramen spot Chuko need to realize it takes that long 'cause everyone else wants to get some too.  It's a rant we've been on before.

Yesterday a reader sent us this article called "Fancy Liberal Brooklyn Is Full of Hypocrites" which surrounds the pushback many upscale neighborhoods are giving to the prospect of having a homeless shelter come to their community - particularly in Carroll Gardens.  Yes, Brownstoner points out an article that shows the seeming contradictions in a $12M sale in Brooklyn Heights and the fact that Brooklyn has more poor people than the entire downtown population of Detroit.  Homeless shelters must go somewhere, but apparently liberalism is all fun & games until it comes knocking on your $2M brownstone off Smith Street.

Yes, this is our Brooklyn.  Amazing buildings that you know & love have free market rentals above $3,000/month and rent stabilized tenants paying under $300/month for the identical apartment in the same building.  Drake says, "We walk the same path, but got on different shoes. / Live in the same building, but we got different views."  Billionaires buying $90M+ penthouse apartments with Central Park views in Manhattan benefit from "affordable housing" tax breaks saving them over $200K/year in taxes while the "average" family of four in the country barely lives on $50K/year.  Who better to pay NYC hundreds of thousands in real estate taxes but international billionaires?  Can't hate the player, though, gotta hate the game.

1142 Dean Street in Crown Heights is a historic castle as 2-Family houses go.  And it's also one of the best buys of the year at under $950K.  But the homeless shelter around the corner at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory proved too unsavory for some buyers.  We heard of other millionaires who weren't deterred but offered in the mere $800K's and missed a great chance to get the place.  However, it didn't stop huge developers and Goldman Sachs investment groups from going in on 1000 Dean Street with Brownstoner for $30M large.

The same developers more than happy to sell you a condo for well over a million dollars in Brooklyn won't pay nearly that much less than a mile & a half away for an entire 4-story building on a corner with windows on 4 sides (2 blocks from a townhome that sold for $2.5M).  Or they simply won't touch it at all, regardless of price.  Turns out that wanting to get the most money possible for what you have - unlike Washington Avenue at Atlantic Avenue - is a two-way street.

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