Greenpoint is hot right now. Arguably, it might be the city’s hottest neighborhood, though we’re definitely biased.

According to 2020 census data, Brooklyn still holds the top spot as the most populous borough in the city — a population increasing every day. And North Brooklyn has a lot to do with that. Assembly District 50, which comprises Greenpoint and Williamsburg, grew 26% between the 2010 to 2020 censuses. That represents one of the biggest shifts in all five boroughs.

Screenshot of census data from Redistricting and You website

Though our neighborhoods overlap, Williamsburg has long been the flashy, trendy Brooklyn neighborhood known the world around, while Greenpoint lingered in the shadows, content to feast on Peter Pan Donuts and chill in McGolrick Park.

But rapid development, long simmering in our neck of the woods, now seems poised to reach a boiling point, as Greenpoint has seen its stock rise over the past few years (unfortunately, though, not our housing stock). In 2022, Greenpoint ranked fourth on StreetEasy’s list of most searched-for Brooklyn neighborhoods, making its debut only this year — Williamsburg, Park Slope, and Brooklyn Heights took the top spots. Looking at last year’s numbers, StreetEasy reports that for Greenpoint, “the median asking rental price was $3,500 as of December 2021, a significant increase from the $2,650 from the same period last year.” Even worse, StreetEasy’s most recent numbers paint a much bleaker picture. By summer 2022, Greenpoint’s average median rent was $4,200. While Greenpoint only entered the rankings this year, our median asking rent shot up to become the second most expensive on the list.

At the same time, progressive, leftist politics have carved out a niche in our neighborhood. In 2020, while Emily Gallagher ousted long-serving incumbent Joe Lentol in the race for State Assembly, her victory came within only a few hundred votes. This time, she easily fended off challenger Paddy O’Sullivan. This year, DSA-backed State Senate candidate Kristen Gonzalez won her primary race with more than 80% of the vote in North Brooklyn, against the real estate-backed Elizabeth Crowley, and won more than half of the overall vote total (while she technically hasn’t won the general election yet, she is running unopposed tonight).

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We stood outside the polling place at the McCarren Park Recreation Center to chat with voters and get their thoughts on this election. Throughout our conversations, not only with voters but with the subjects of other recent stories (not to mention our very active comments section!), we can tell how much people enjoy being here. We have a vibrant food scene, ample waterfront and park access, and tons of creative businesses. And it is also clear that people are concerned about maintaining the character of the neighborhood.

During this past year, Greenpointers has heard countless horror stories of locals being forced out by rising rents and diminishing housing stock. Locals want to maintain the laidback character of the neighborhood and worry about being priced out. They worry about massive new waterfront developments, like the Bell Slip complex and the Greenpoint. “Does anyone actually live there?” was a frequent refrain we came across, often followed up with a “Do we have the infrastructure to deal with it, either?” (Based on anecdotal evidence, not really, as anyone who ever took an Uber because the next G-train was 20 minutes away can attest.)

These conversations serve as a temperature check, but they don’t tell the whole story. For that, you’ll have to dive into our rich archive of hyperlocal reporting and stay tuned for even more stories to come.

Polling place at McCarren Park Recreation Center. Image credit: Julia Moak

Owen, living in Greenpoint for two years

Which issues were on your mind as you went to go vote today?

Only the normal existential dread over a GOP candidate, to be honest. I think the crime thing is insane. It’s not a real problem. I will say this, in the primaries I voted for Kristen Gonzalez, and in the past I was just a moderate Democrat — I mean, not really, I live in Brooklyn — but this is the first year that I was excited to vote more progressive.

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

Rent’s the obvious one. I live on Eagle Street, and all of those buildings being put up there, I don’t know what that will look like when it’s all finished. That’s so many more people. The buildings are there, so people will be there, so I hope that in the coming years, looking forward, there’s a plan in order to maintain Greenpoint being a great place to live and so on and so forth, to make sure it doesn’t become overcrowded and like Williamsburg. I like going to a bodega and having normal people there. I don’t need to see models when I go out looking gross on a Sunday morning.

Daniel

Which issues were on your mind as you went to go vote today?

Usually, very left-leaning topics are on my mind. Racial equality, environment, sustainability, and so on.

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

I would say probably housing, pricing regulation, policies for making the neighborhood more affordable. I think the structure as well, the whole area is decaying. For Williamsburg, it’s better, but Greenpoint gets worse. And I think probably inequality in terms of jobs as well. 

Anonymous woman

Which issues were on your mind as you went to go vote today?

The January 6th problem. That issue concerns me a lot. I feel like we’re super divided in the country. Maybe not in New York, we’re more blue. But I’m afraid something like that could happen again, so that was my main concern.

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

The cost of living, that’s the most important thing for me right now. Rent is going crazy. I don’t think we have the infrastructure for so many people moving into the neighborhood. The subways are so crowded, and the buses in the morning, going to work. They should be making more parks. We have a lot of buildings. The real estate issue in this area is kind of a big deal. Maybe start making more schools, why not high schools as well? Focusing more on what is already here instead of building and building. 

Another anonymous woman

Which issues were on your mind as you went to go vote today?

Definitely abortion, for sure. And I think just the general state of politics right now, especially with the insurrection and increase election security and this idea that the election will be rigged again.

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

I don’t really feel like I have a lot of grounding to say anything there, because I’ve only lived in Greenpoint for a year. I’ve heard that the neighborhood has changed a lot, and obviously, I’d hope something could be done about maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the neighborhood. I think that there is a difference between Greenpoint and Williamsburg in terms of development and how that looks like, and how it’s kind of been handled. I would hope that Greenpoint would stay the way it is. 

Jay, has lived here for 14 years

What issues?

I was a reluctant voter. I never really voted until the last couple of elections. I was never a big voter or political guy. It was a nice day, and I thought I could vote early, because I have to work on Tuesday. 

I think if you live in this neighborhood, there are certain concerns you have. I feel like the two diametrically opposed extreme versions of each party kind of put you where you’re like “Is anyone worried about some of these things?” Abortion rights are important, so I voted to do my part to try to preserve abortion rights. 

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

I voted yes for the Clean Air Bill, that seems good. It’s funny cause Greenpoint is like, the de facto, you know who you’re getting. This isn’t an election. There isn’t someone running against Emily Gallagher. I think that there’s been a lot of upheaval and change for good and complexity within the last couple of years. I think if they look online, they could see that certain policies that certain people think should absolutely happen, there’s a certain part of the population that doesn’t fully agree. I’m a cyclist and the Make McGuinness Safe thing, I’m like, there’s parallel bike lanes to McGuinness. You don’t need to create a bike lane. Seeing as it’s for the environment, but then as a cyclist I’m like, there’s plenty of bike infrastructure, I’m not lacking. I’ve been riding my bike for 14 years in this neighborhood. 

Peter, has lived here almost 6 years

Which issues were on your mind as you went to go vote today?

I think they’re all especially important right now. I think equity in the city is really important, and I like that there’s a proposal for racial equity, I think that’s quite good and happy to vote on that. I think generally the Clean Air Act is especially important for our area, where we’re working on resiliency and protecting our environment, happy and excited for all of it.

What issues do you think especially impact Greenpoint, and what would you like to see our local politicians do about it?

The environment and potential building is something that always catches my eye, what’s going on with [Bar] Matchless and what’s going to be popping up there. Are we getting more affordable housing, or are we getting more ritzy condos, which, of course, I love both. 

Join the Conversation

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  1. In the interest of balance, it would’ve been nice if every person quoted in this piece was not obviously voting Democrat. As an independent voter living in Greenpoint, I think there is a tremendous amount of urban decay and empty storefronts that need to be addressed. All of the big money has been developing along the waterfront while the rest of the neighborhood gets left behind. There needs to be more bike infrastructure, green spaces, and small business incentives that don’t lure in more insidious vape shops. Tear down the BQE and kick out all the heavy industrial polluters.

    1. I stood outside the polling place for 2 hours, and this is who would talk to me. Also, the neighborhood is overwhelmingly Democrat. Hope this helps!

  2. I wasn’t in need of help! I simply provided a comment with my perspective on your article. Hopefully alternate points of view are still welcome in NYC.

  3. As a guy living in Greenpoint the past 12 years, I can that Greenpoint has definitely gotten worse the past 3 years or so. I would say it sort of peaked around 2012-2014. I remember thinking at that time that Greenpoint had reached the perfect level of gentrification. Not too seedy, but not too ritzy. Lots of locals who have been here a long time. Lots of ethnic character, both Polish and Latin. But with all the new buildings, and all the new people, the neighborhood has really transformed into a totally different place. It just feels so much more hectic and busy. And I will say I have witnessed more criminal activity than ever before, for what that’s worth. I have also seen a huge influx of additional cars, and especially luxury cars. It’s almost as thought the neighborhood has gotten both more bougie and more seedy at the same time. Pretty depressing to be honest! It’s definitely not the place I fell in love with. Almost all of its unique character is gone at this point. It has become just another example of a Brooklyn neighborhood.

    More and more every Brooklyn neighborhood becomes the same, a sort of homeostasis of neighborhood identity. When I first moved to New York, every neighborhood felt really unique and individual. Type of housing stock, ethnic makeup, economic status, even politics, were all unique to each neighborhood and super distinct from each other. Now, everything is melting into this same bland generic Brooklyn identity. A lot of the flavor is gone, unfortunately. This is true in so many places in the world as well. I blame it on greed, development, and governmental tampering!

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