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Seen At 11: The New Brooklyn

The Borough That Once Was The Butt Of The Joke Is Getting The Last Laugh

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brooklyn as a punchline? Forget about it.

From real estate to job creation, New York’s most populous borough is hot and getting hotter.

That means amazing opportunities, but also big challenges, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported Friday.

It’s strollers and joggers now in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park, but that wasn’t the case many years ago.

“People who committed crimes used to run through here and hide. These buildings that line the park, they were not here,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.

Adams, a former police officer, said controlling crime was one key that unlocked breathtaking change in Brooklyn.

There are hip new hotels and waves of new housing. There are 100,000 new residents since 2010, and newly redone places to do business.

Brooklyn leads the city with 20-percent private sector job growth since 2003.

“We’re approached by many businesses that want to manufacture in Brooklyn. There’s a great panache to having ‘Made in Brooklyn’ on your products,” said Ian Siegel of Liberty View Industrial Plaza.

It’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago the HBO show “Sex and the City” treated Brooklyn as a punchline suggesting not taxis would dare venture to Brooklyn.

“It’s not a punchline, it’s a destination,” said Kristen Larkin of Town Residential real Estate.

Larkin, a native of the borough, said she’s seen neighborhood after neighborhood get hot.

“I think people started moving here because it cost a little bit less. Then they realized ‘hey, I actually kind of like it,’ and they told their friends about it, who told their friends about it, who blogged about it, and now I have people coming from California asking to be in neighborhoods of Brooklyn. I don’t know how they even heard of them!” Larkin said.

One of those neighborhoods is Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Stan Myers bought a beautiful townhouse as a retirement home and said he loves the mix of cultures in Brooklyn. However, he said he worries gentrifiers like him will end up squeezing less affluent residents.

In Clinton Hill, new residents mean a new mix of businesses — both trendier and pricier.

“I used to love a grocery store and now I can’t go and buy anything that isn’t organic, and it really is a pain,” Clinton Hill resident Cedric Wright said.

“We don’t want it so totally gentrified that the people here before, and have their roots here, are displaced,” Myers added.

It’s a concern shared in many neighborhoods, including Crown Heights, and rapidly gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant, which has lost 20 percent of its black population in the last decade as house prices soar.

“Prices since last year have doubled. A house that a year ago was $700,000 or $800,000 is now $1.4 million. Yeah, it’s nuts,” Bed-Stuy resident David Sarussi said.

“It’s going to evolve. Let’s evolve with it and be a voice in that evolution,” Adams added.

Adams said change brings challenge, but nothing the borough can’t handle.

“It’s the Brooklyn swagger!” Adam said.

Brooklyn got an NBA team last year — and will get the New York Islanders of the NHL next year.

The borough may host the Democratic National Convention the year after that.

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