Upstart ‘Lower East Side’ new cheap haven for local artisans priced out of Brooklyn

lower east side
In this neighborhood’s cramped, crowded tenements, there is hope. via Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust

Pity the poor artisan dreamer who comes to Brooklyn with only their facial hair, neon leggings and old-timey luggage trunk full of their handmade trinkets. Their dream of establishing their own adorable shop is so quickly dashed against the rocks of reality, as expensive real estate and a market flooded with artisan clothing and vintage mayonnaise keeps them from standing out. But maybe they can follow the example of one shop owner, who left the gilded hills of Bushwick to go the wild, untamed area known as Manhattan, and set up shop in its Lower East Side neighborhood.

As reported by DNA Info, Carissa Ackerman, owner of vintage clothing store Mandate of Heaven was first chased out of Williamsburg, and then Bushwick, before landing in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a neighborhood with foreign-sounding street names like “Ludlow” and “Rivington.” According to Ackerman, she found a landlord so desperate for a tenant that he was willing to charge her under $2000/month for his space, a paltry sum for that any struggling retail head would take.

Other real estate experts pushed the idea of the neighborhood, known colloquially as the “Lower West Edge,” in relation to its location in Manhattan relative to Brooklyn, as a place where immigrants with retail dreams should look. They pointed to the availability of retail space for less than $50/square foot in parts of the neighborhood, in contrast to upper class Williamsburg’s retail spaces going for as much as $250/square foot. Whether this neighborhood will remain a haven for artisans or fall victim to the same gentrification that has plagued Brooklyn has yet to be seen, but for now we can confidently tell Brooklynites, “Go west, young man!”

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