A Tale of Two Cities

From the NY Daily News comes a Tale of Two Cities (and does not include rural poverty):

We have more poor people in Brooklyn than the entire population of Detroit; we have more people on food stamps than the entire population of Washington, D.C.,” Gelber said. “Yet there are more wealthy people than in Greenwich, Conn.”

The Daily News scoured Brooklyn for telling statistics about the extremes of grimness and glamor gripping the split-personality borough, and found:

-Sixty-nine people have been shot this year in Brownsville. Four miles away, a mansion at 70 Willow St. in Brooklyn Heights sold for the borough’s highest-ever home price of $12.5 million. -Brooklyn sent five athletes to the Olympics but one in four borough residents is obese. -Brooklyn has 113 colleges and universities but only 29% of borough residents have college degrees.

“It’s absolutely a tale of two Brooklyns, right out of Dickens,” said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “The divide is getting wider every year.”

Waves of gentrification that started in the 1980s have brought an influx of mega-bucks and turned once-grimy neighborhoods like Williamsburg into magnets for the rich and trendy.

A big crime reduction in the 1990s was a main driver of moneyed people into Brooklyn, said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future. Several years ago, the well-heeled stopped seeing Brooklyn as a bargain-priced alternative to Manhattan — but kept coming anyway.

“It’s an increasingly difficult borough to be middle class,” said Bowles, citing Windsor Terrace and Kensington as neighborhoods where rising real estate prices are displacing moderate-income residents.