It's strange that when so much is online that old-fashioned print ads still show up at my door. Like this "Local Menu Report" um, which is just a compilation of 19 random (not truly random–the restaurants that would be willing to pay for such an obtuse ad vehicle) restaurant menus from five neighborhoods in this part of Brooklyn (no BoCoCa is not a neighborhood).
I only refrained from immediately tossing it out because along the bottom of the cover there was a mention of Sahara, a Turkish restaurant that's nowhere near here, seven miles away to be exact, and on some level originally drew me to this Carroll Gardens apartment.
Before moving here there used to be a Sahara billboard on the side of the building on the corner that was visible from the BQE, and we'd drive by it all the time and wonder why a restaurant in a totally different part of Brooklyn and in the opposite direction would be advertising there, and also why the gyro spit looked like a sundae from a distance. The charming meat sundae stayed up for some time after we moved in, though now, the billboard, which is and was actually a vinyl hanging thing, not a board, changes regularly. I think the brick wall is bare at the moment.
Because I attribute meaning to minutiae, I wonder if this re-reminding of Sahara's misguided advertising efforts means that I've come full circle and this is the signal that I need to move again.
(As a major aside, the same week the Local Menu Guide showed up, so did this Brooklyn booster newsletter that I normally don't read. Inside, there was a full-page color ad for some new restaurant called Heaven by Russo that grabbed me on so many levels I don't even know where to start. It could be "in our Mediterranean Fusion Menu, we use only Organic Produce" or "Owned by International Pop Star Avraam Russo" or "Bringing Manhattan Dining to Brooklyn," not to mention the 20% discount through the end of March. And the address is only one number off of Sahara's, meaning it's directly across the street. They certainly do things differently down on Coney Island Avenue. Please do check out the interior photos)
Ok, there have been many other signals. The first was being notified a few months ago that our building management was being turned over to Corcoran and an agent needed to do a walk-thru. Shortly thereafter, tenants above us moved out and I found the ad listing the two bedroom for $3,600. When we moved here in 2004, a new landlord had bought the building, apparently remodeled (I say apparently, because while everything was newly finished when we moved in and I'm guessing amenities like a washer and dryer and a dishwasher were added it's not like there was anything luxurious about the decor, lighting, appliances, which by 2012 new construction standards seem lackluster) and was slowly pushing out the old tenants. We were the first to move into the five-unit-building and paid what at the time seemed an exorbitant $2,400, but it was two apartments on two floors combined into one; large, but like I said above, standard not luxurious. I assume some of the occupants were evicted because at one point someone's possessions were strewn out front of the building and never picked up. In an uncharacteristic fit of entrepreneurship, I took the 1940s Life magazines from the heap and sold them on eBay.
We're now paying $3,100, which I believed to be market rate, but clearly not since at the time they were charging $100 less for the apartment upstairs and that would make ours now worth $3,700 when our lease is up in October. Bye bye. We, the former gentrifiers, have now been gentrified right back. It was only a matter of time. Maybe somone will sell my magazines online when mine get thrown out.
More signs it's time to go:
An apartment across the street that's also a duplex (NYC speak for two-floors–doesn't that mean two houses side-by-side in the rest of the universe?) but with a yard and granite and shit is renting (or trying to rent) for $6,000 per month. Travertine don't come cheap.
A house on the next block just sold for $3 million. This is not prime Carroll Gardens. Though I would hardly call it the worst block in the neighborhood, it's on the very edge near the BQE and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and was a little scuzzy still in 2004, which is why I liked it. If you read the crime blotter, someone is robbed at gunpoint weekly in a two-block-radius. I don't use Foursquare, but when I peeked at it for nearby landmarks the first that comes up is "(Assault and) Battery Bridge," which, ha, refers to the overpass diagonally across the street next to the public school that leads to Red Hook. It is the escape route for the iPhone-and-wallet-stealers. I came home last night after 2am alone and it was no big deal, I've never had felt in danger ever walking here, but I might think twice about spending $3 million in an area where muggings are a regular occurrence.
On the sidewalk next to the $3 million house, I found this handwritten note the other night. That's some desperate shit. James thought it was a joke like some Brownstoner reader was punking the neighbors. Please, that was not a contrived misspelling. I do wish Todd all the best, though.
So, once again I am giving consideration to Ditmas Park, far away (right near Coney Island Avenue, and only two miles from Sahara and Heaven by Russo) and about as close as you'll get to a (racially diverse) suburb while still being on the subway. But we'd better get on it; New York just declared the neighborhood an "Achievable."
A friend recently mentioned she had read a bunch of my old, really old, blog entries, and specifically mentioned one from a 27th birthday party where adult diapers were worn for shits and giggles (ok, there was no shitting). Now, I blog about real estate. That's what 13 years will do to a person.