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Today’s Gowanus Is Tomorrow’s Tribeca

Twenty under-the-radar microneighborhoods that may just be the Next Big Thing.

In a city that is, to quote the late, great Alistair Cooke, “the biggest collection of villages in the world,” what makes a village take off? What turns a non-neighborhood or a fledgling neighborhood or a forgotten, forlorn neighborhood into a Name Brand neighborhood? Sometimes, it takes just one big arrival—an overhauled cultural space (see: Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria), a signature building (MiMA on Far West 42nd Street), or a Zeitgeist-seizing restaurant (Roberta’s in Bushwick)—to shake a neighborhood from a stupor. Sometimes, as with the High Line, the city steps in, providing much-needed capital to enliven an area’s crumbling infrastructure. Other times, as with the damn-the-Superfund darlings Gowanus and Greenpoint, the shift comes from basic free-market forces: outpriced renters seeking more space for less rent; shopkeepers needing bigger footprints; a demand for affordable places to shake it on a Saturday night. And it’s also true that, sometimes, sleepers just suddenly wake up. (Good morning, Flushing!) Below you’ll find twenty pockets around the city pulsing with the first stirrings, anyway, of rebirth. Think of them as villages in the making.


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