About five years ago, when I would wonder what gifts to bring people from Brooklyn on holidays, my thoughts suddenly always went to food. McClure’s bloody mary mix for mom, NuNu Chocolates for grandma, a bottle of Kings County Distillery corn whiskey to encourage my sister to drink more. This seemed like an easy way to carve off a slice of Brooklyn and dole it out as a unique gift, a missive from the mini world within the world we call home. It was also a sign of the marketing success of the Brooklyn artisanal boom (for lack of a less gag-inducing phrase), when every month we were treated to new success stories of an entrepreneur who started out with just a mixing bowl and a tiny kitchen. It was a sign that the local economy, here in New York City, Real America, where we buy each other’s pickles and tickets to each other’s concerts, was doing just fine.
But the Brooklyn artisanal bubble might finally be popping in one big, locally sourced, non-GMO bubble. The narrative about the small businesses that attract celebs to far-flung neighborhoods or sprout from a small batch of offerings on a flea market table is evolving into a typical New York story: Real estate prices stand in the way of all our dreams. (more…)