Williamsburg was a bustling hive of manufacturing activity in the late 1800s. Back then, the East River’s waterfront was dominated by the likes of Domino Sugar, Corning Glass and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
As time wore on and the factories closed or relocated, derelict warehouses and vacant buildings became an urban blight. In the 1990s, artists and musicians emigrated from the West Village and Soho, in search of large studio space and more affordable digs. The process of gentrification began.
Famous residents of contemporary Williamsburg include Barbra Streisand, Mel Brooks, rocker Gene Simmons and Barry Manilow, among many others.
In 2005, New York City Council approved a large-scale rezoning of the North Side and Greenpoint waterfronts to accommodate high-density housing and mixed-use buildings while ensuring public green spaces along the East River.
Over the past two decades, median household income has risen with the continued influx of “la petite noblesse” or gentrification. The years between 2000 and 2012 accounted for most of the change. At the waterfront in North Williamsburg around Kent Avenue and in the environs of the Bedford Avenue L train stop, it currently sits at approximately $80K and up.
The map below shows Williamsburg in 1990. Median incomes ranged from $25,000 to $55,000 in 2012 dollars.
By 2000, median incomes near the waterfront and around the Bedford L stop had reached $47,000 to $70,000.
Most recently, in 2012, incomes reached $87,000 on the waterfront and $53,000 to $80,000 in other parts of North Williamsburg.
*U.S. Census data on income in Williamsburg