Even an insane rectangle of a condo couldn’t gentrify Williamsburg more at this point. (Image courtesy of SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations)
If bookstores are fleeing high city rents, what happens to the neighborhoods where they land? Are bookstores as culpable for gentrification as anyone else?
Last week the New York Times ran a story by Julie Bosman about rising rent prices in Manhattan, and how they’ve been killing some bookstores and driving others to the outer boroughs. Bosman’s examples included the new McNally Jackson offshoot planned for Williamsburg and the new WORD recently opened in Jersey City, as well as the soon to be closed Rizzoli bookstore.
And though I derided the Bosman piece at the time as obvious, it did lead me to consider this question of gentrification. It’s not simply that stores are avoiding Manhattan, after all. The issue is, where do they go instead? Some truly excellent booksellers are springing up at a ferocious rate across the outer boroughs, often in neighborhoods that are at the very crest of the expanding wave of gentrification. (In this metaphor, the wave has long since washed over Williamsburg, site of the new McNally Jackson, leaving that neighborhood with an unrecognizable demographic and …read more

Via: Melville House Books