Wow, it only took ten years. Lovely Ridgewood, Queens, the neighborhood I unknowingly moved into in 1998 is now being hipsterfied? I figured it would eventually happen (and frankly, much sooner). I haven’t visited the heart of Ridgewood in ages (I just frequent the outskirts on my regular Western Beef treks) so I can’t verify that this demographic change is true. But I suspect the facts are a bit off, it sounds like they’re referring to Bushwick.
The Observer article (which interviews my old landlord–probably the easiest source to identify since her office is literally next to the Fresh Pond Road M station) reports that Ridgewood is on the L train. That’s not true. The Myrtle-Wyckoff L/M station is still Bushwick. You don’t get to Ridgewood until you reach the Seneca Ave. station on the M. I'm fairly certain that the L doesn't even run through the 11385 zip code, which sprung from a contentious split from Brooklyn in 1979.
Secondly, I never encountered any “drunks or crackheads,” just lots of scowly Poles, Archie Bunker types and a few ruddy faced old men coming out of The Everglades around the corner. The neighborhood was about as quaint and un-rough as a NYC neighborhood can be, that’s why I was initially attracted to it. As a Portlander, I couldn’t deal with grime and sketchiness. Oh, and speaking of Portland, Ridgewood is also overwhelmingly white (which isn’t to say that Caucasians can’t be drunks and crackheads) but not like Carroll Gardens white. I swear 90% of the residents were recently arrived Eastern Europeans, and too freaky and poor for Greenpoint at that.
It was no place for a non-native single 25-year-old, for sure. But the main reason I chose Ridgewood was because it was the only non-creepy neighborhood where I could afford not to share (I’ve never had a roommate in my life) and they’d rent to me with no job and no credit check. A one bedroom for $580 was a bargain a decade ago. And that’s why I got stuck there for three years, there were no comparably priced places to be had any closer in. Eventually, I discovered Sunset Park, which now seems to be on a little gentrification bender of its own.
So goes the cycle. Next stop…Bellerose?
Photo from Bridge and Tunnel Club