Today, Court Street is the second most expensive place for commercial real estate in Brooklyn, topped only by Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue. Pricey high-end baby clothing boutiques, such as Jacadi and Sprout San Francisco, seem to keep sprouting up, and stores like Rag & Bone have been replacing neighborhood bar and grills.
Recently, the strip of longtime mom-and-pop shops has seen some of its decades-old vendors shutter in the face of mounting rents, including two beloved bookshops. After 30 years in the neighborhood the notoriously cluttered Community Bookstore at 212 Court St. sold for $5.5 million last May, 10 times what owner John Scioli paid for the building in 1980. Then, just a few months later, fellow literary neighbor and Court Street community staple Book Court announced that they would be closing for good after 35 years of business.
An influx of Italian and Middle Eastern families immigrated to the neighborhoods in the early 1900s, setting up family-run stores and businesses. Even as the streets gentrify and become more commercial some of these businesses have stood the test of corporate greed and still stand, now generations old.
As neighbors worry that a sense of community is disappearing, they need to look to establishments like these five to be reminded that the old communities still exist. (more…)