“People are fleeing New York at an alarming rate,” a New York Post headline informed us Saturday. Some 1 million people have left the city since 2010, according to US Census data. And it’s not just because Mars Bar closed. It’s in part because the economy is good and there are “more people to buy your house if you’re a baby boomer looking to move to Boca Raton or Myrtle Beach,” says one Post source.
Actually, this phenomenon dates back further than 2010. We just unearthed an amazing New York Daily News item from June of 1998. Headline: “YUPPIES BANKROLLING ROBBERY OF BORO.”
In it, columnist Denis Hamill complains that “cashing out” to yuppies “isn’t the Brooklyn way.” His readers complain about $750,000 pieces of real estate and $1,200-$2,000 rents in Greenpoint (compare that to January of this year, when the minimum for a studio in Greenpoint was $2,200). “Everywhere I go,” Hamill writes, “people are moaning about the yuppies, who are considered by native Brooklynites as the new pod people in a real life Invasion of the Brooklyn Snatchers.”
Says one resident of this new Yuppadelphia: “The yuppies look down their noses at us like we don’t belong in their neighborhood”– a complaint that’s still voiced by Williamsburg’s older residents today.
All in all, the column is an amazing time capsule, if only because the artisanal foods it mocks have since become passé: I mean tofu, rice cakes, and quiche? You have to wonder what Hamill and his readers would make of today’s acai and poke bowls. Our guess? His column, which you can read here, would still end with: “Pass the barf bag.”