(Ben Yakas) If you asked any New Yorker what they thought was the roughest neighborhood in Brooklyn, chances are that Greenpoint would not be on the top of their list—looking at average income or crime rates, Greenpoint is usually one of the lower crime areas of Brooklyn (we'll see how some recent violent incidents change that when the next stats are compiled). And yet, Fast Company reports that a new study utilizing Google Street View found that Greenpoint was perceived to be the worst neighborhood.
The study used a web tool designed by MIT professor César A. Hidalgo that asked users to compare one Google Street View image against another, answering questions such as, “Which place looks more boring?” or “Which place looks wealthier?” Even though East New York had triple the crime rate as Greenpoint, users thought that Greenpoint looked more crime-ridden; even though the median household in East New York makes $34,295 and $58,311 in Greenpoint, users thought Greenpoint appeared to be a poorer neighborhood.
Hidalgo has some ideas why there was such a gap in perception: he theorizes that many of the participants in the study were not from NYC, and that perhaps gentrifiers are purposefully try to maintain the rundown ambiance that first attracted them to the area, even as it became more affluent. He also suggested that gentrification in some specific areas "is a largely internal process, while the built environment remains relatively static (i.e. Bushwick, where rich people now live in old warehouses, but not the Williamsburg waterfront, where giant new condos have sprung up to house a new population)."
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Roger Kisby