How easy has it become to bitch about how Brooklyn is changing and don’t you wish it used to be like the good old days? So easy that even Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin is showing up at real estate conferences wearing a Movement to Protect The People button and talking about how she’s worried about Brooklyn’s affordability and lack of an edge. Not that Gilmartin or her rusted space turtle stadium have anything to do with that, right? Right!
Meanwhile, she is worried that Brooklyn may soon no longer be the hippest and most diverse part of town. “It’s what people call Tribeca Triburbia. You don’t want Brooklyn to become so diluted and watered-down that it loses its edge.”
“Could you have all this prosperity, all this growth, and still keep the ethos of the borough?” she asked, adding that she is also concerned about individual neighborhoods losing their specific characteristics amid a new development boom.
For a second you might consider that Gilmartin sounds worried about the human cost of big development and gentrification, but then you remember that in the context of her talking about Brooklyn being “overheated” and “out of control,” this complaint is about how it’s becoming more difficult for Forest City Ratner to extract resources out of Brooklyn by marketing its coolness to an increasingly wealthy clientele trying to buy the edge that they’ve smoothed down themselves. Don’t worry though, Gilmartin has a plan to fix all of this (“this” being the ability to make a lot of money in real estate):
“I think the future is probably Queens, to be honest,” she said. “If I had enormous amounts of cash to invest, I would pick up properties in Queens and the Bronx.” The way Gilmartin sees it, artists moving from Brooklyn to Queens and the Bronx in search of cheaper rents are the vanguard of growth.
R.I.P. Queens and the Bronx.