Sunday, November 10, 2013

Final ILFA Roundup: 70 New Businesses and Five Years of Commercial Changes on Franklin (Updated)

(Franklin and Sterling, NW corner, 2009)

ILFA has recently turned into a horror movie villain: every time you think the blog is finally dead, it comes alive for one more scare (or in this case, one more long-winded post on neighborhood change). But I just couldn't let ILFA fade to black without one more roundup, particularly since last year's roundup produced an honest-to-god "fact" - 52 new businesses along Franklin since 2008 - that now shows up as quick numerical shorthand for rapid change in western Crown Heights (it was also out of date the moment it was posted, of course). 

Without further ado, it's roundup time. The structure hasn't changed much this year: this is a count of businesses along Franklin avenue, charting openings, closings, renovations, and "coming soon" rumors. The exercise is focused on businesses on Franklin Avenue between Eastern Parkway and Atlantic Avenue, or those on side streets that are closer to Franklin than any other street (tie goes to the roundup, as in the case of Compare Foods). This has never been a complete portrait of gentrification in the neighborhood; to achieve that, I'd have to count openings and closings south of the Parkway and along Classon, Bedford, and Nostrand as well, and I'd also have to run residential and transit numbers, among others. This is a detailed slice, a look through one particular window onto a vast landscape of change. 

If you'd like a refresher on what was new in previous years (the data from which are folded into this roundup, as well), here are the roundups from 2012, 2011, and 2010, as well as a sort of precursor post from 2009 discussing issues of storefront turnover, commercial rent control, and the social impact of closings. You can also stroll back in time with Google streetview, which hasn't nearly kept up with the changes (clicking along the avenue, depending on the cross street, you appear to be somewhere between 2008 and 2010).

The list works north from Eastern Parkway. Streets are in italics, and this year's additions are in bold.

- 70 new businesses have opened since late July of 2008. 17 are new this year, and 16 have since closed or moved, which means the 6 blocks between Eastern Parkway and St. Marks Avenue (where the new business list ends) have seen a net gain of roughly 54 businesses in a little over 5 years.  

Eastern Parkway

The Pulp and The Bean
Yogumoo (replaced African Hair Braiding)
JamRock Kitchen (now closed)

Lincoln Place

Ecodermis and Wolfberry
Gladys (replaced Radha Grocercy)
Mazon Discount
Brooklyn Yoga Collective (replaced Marianne's Hair Braiding)
Jacob Smoke Shop (replaced Diallo Trading)
Brooklyn Inkspot
Dutch Boy Burger
The Breukelen Coffee House
Franklin Park

St. Johns Place

Nairobi's Knapsack (now closed)
Pine Tree Natural Organic Land (replaced Nairobi's Knapsack)
Crown Heights Animal Hospital
Away We Go Postal
The Beauty Boutique (now closed) 
Pearl Indian Restaurant

Sterling Place

Brooklyn Fit Lab 
Chavela's (moved from Classon, replaced J&B Deli)
Island Cz (replaced 3D's)
739 Franklin
Cool Pony (replaced The Candy Rush)
The Candy Rush (now closed)
TasteBuds (replaced About Time Boutique, both now closed)
Lily & Fig
It Takes a Village (now moved to Classon)
First Impressions Dental
Alternative Healing (now closed)
Black Ice NYC (replaced Alternative Healing, now closed)
Wedge (replaced Black Ice NYC)
Rosebud Vintage
Little Zelda
The Crown Inn (replaced El Baron Grocery)
Black Tree (sanwich place, shared space with Crown Inn, moved to LES)
Randall's BBQ (now sharing space with Crown Inn)
MySpace Realty
Owl and Thistle General Store (soon moving south of EP)
Installation (replaced Bella Greens)
Bella Greens (now closed)
Park Place Coffee
Park Place

BNI Express Laundromat
Hullabaloo Books (replaced Crow Hill Jewelry)
Crow Hill Jewelry (the pawn shop - now closed)
Sweet Basil
The Pana Store (closed, moving to Flatbush)
Modern and Vintage Shop
Calabar Imports (moved from Washington)
Excelsior Cycles (replaced United Community Church of God)
Franklin Roadhouse (now closed)
Mayfield (replaced Franklin Roadhouse)

Prospect Place

Rosco's (replaced A Slice of Brooklyn)
A Slice of Brooklyn (now closed)
Gueros Tacos (replaced Oaxaca Tacos)
Oaxaca Taco (now closed)
Posh Nails NYC (now closed)
Kecia J. Weaver Law Office
Lazy Ibis (replaced World Class People's Market)
Phone Doktor (adjacent to Eve and Mikes)
Eve and Mike's Pharmacy
Compare Foods

St. Marks Avenue

Cafe Allegria
The O Experience (salon above Imperial Bikers M.C.)
Bergen Street
Dean Street
Pacific Street
Atlantic Avenue

- 43 Businesses that were open in late July 2008 or sometime thereafter have closed or moved off Franklin (this doesn't take account of Brooklyn Inkspot or J's Wong, which moved to different locations on the Avenue). 15 closed or moved this year. 

Eastern Parkway
African Hair Braiding (now Yogumoo)
Passion Hair Salon (soon to be Fez Hummus Bar)
Translation Services (soon to be Fez Hummus Bar)
Scarlet Ribbons Thrift Shop (now wino(t), moved to Fulton)
Jam Rock Kitchen

Lincoln Place

Radha Grocery
Marianne Hair Braiding (now Brooklyn Yoga Collective)
Aissatou Hair Braiding
Fatima (soon to be Docklands)
790 Franklin (electronics place)
Diallo Trading (now Jacob Smoke Shop)
Diana's Desserts (now Inkspot, moved to Washington)
The Spice is Right (now half of Barboncino) 
Climax (soon to be Starbucks)
St. Johns Place

Bristen's (now Away We Go Postal)
Nairobi's Knapsack (now Pine Tree)
King Accessory (became The Beauty Boutique, now empty) 

Sterling Place

J's Salon
3D's (now Island Cz)
J&B Deli (now Chavela's)
About Time Boutique (became Tastebuds, now closed)
The Candy Rush (became Cool Pony)
Alternative Healing (became Black Ice NYC and is now Wedge)
Off the Hook Communications (now Little Zelda)
It Takes a Village (moved to Classon)
El Baron Grocery (soon to be The Crown Inn)
Black Tree Sandwiches (moved from Crown Inn to LES)
Bella Greens (became Installation)
West Indian Cafe (now J's Wong)
Homage (fire, now for lease)
Muslim Bookshop (fire, now Park Place Coffee)
Deli Food Plaza (soon to be an upscale deli)

Park Place

Crow Hill Jewelry (now Hullabaloo)
Saje (closed just before I got here, became Pana Store, now empty)
United Community Church of God (now Excelsior Cycles)
Franklin Roadhouse (now Mayfield)
Prospect Place

A Slice of Brooklyn (now Rosco's)
Ebita Real Estate Office (soon to be Bollywood Bar)
Insurance (became Oaxaca Taco, now Gueros Tacos)
Posh Nails BK
World Class People's Market (now Lazy Ibis)

St. Mark's Avenue
Bergen Street

Tabernacle of God's Glory Church (appears to be being renovated)

Dean Street
Pacific Street

Meat Market/Organic Deli Grocery (renovated, fire, now renovating again)

Atlantic Avenue

- 25 businesses have renovated (or are currently renovating) since late July of 2008. 5 of these have closed. 

Eastern Parkway

Fisher's/Bob & Betty's
Gourmet Deli Grocery (Lincoln and Franklin)

Lincoln Place

Golden Chopsticks
Franklin Express Laundry
Franklin Park (the big bar)
Breukelen Coffee House (the back room)
Brooklyn Inkspot (moved, now renovating)
Barboncino (added yard, event space coming)

St. Johns Place

Nam's (forever rearranging/renovating)
Happy Wok (new awning/new chairs)
Christopher Deli (new awning)
Bristen's/Island Thyme (now closed)
Sterling Place

About Time (renovated, became TasteBuds, now closed)
J&B Deli (now closed, became Chavela's)
J's Wong (moved, but the same guys)
Homage (closed, fire)
Park Place

Lasting Impressions Salon
Franklin Express Deli
Prospect Place

Bombay Masala (opened a garden, new interiors)
St. Marks Avenue

Kelso Restaurant

Bergen Street

Preschool (mural and some indoor work)
Franklyn Deli
Dean Deli Grocery

Dean Street

Sushi Tatsu (new awning, Thai menu, now renovating again)

Pacific Street

Organic Deli Grocery (closed, fire)

Atlantic Avenue

- 10 businesses are coming soon (based in part on rumors), and 6 storefronts are currently for lease (based on signs in the windows).

Eastern Parkway

Health Services Center (in 341 Eastern Parkway)
Restaurant (in 341 EP)
Capital One Bank (in 341 EP)
Fez Hummus Bar

Lincoln Place


St. Johns Place

Beauty Boutique space (purportedly leasing for $12,000/month)

Sterling Place

Upscale Deli

Park Place
Prospect Place

Bollywood Bar
Posh Nails BK space (for lease)

St. Marks Avenue
Bergen Street

Smorgasburg Food Court and Beer Hall (893 Bergen)
1000 Dean (retail on first floor)
Nassau Brewery (whole site for lease, will likely be a development)

Dean Street 

Two renovated storefronts (for lease)

Pacific Street

Meat Market/Organic Deli Grocery space (for lease)

Atlantic Avenue

The best part about the roundup is getting reader feedback, so I'll keep my own notes brief. 

- Last year, I wondered if the pace of change was accelerating; this year, it's easy to say that with confidence. Not only did more businesses open in this cycle than any other, more closed, too, and many that closed were new not too long ago. 

- In 2009 and 2010, I wrote that the mix of new businesses was relatively heterogenous, but that's no longer the case; Franklin fits the "rapidly-gentrifying-NYC-neighborhood" mold very snugly now, and businesses that don't (which is to say that they can't afford the skyrocketing rents) are either moving along with the "frontier" of turnover (east to Nostrand, south of Eastern on Franklin) or going in search of those customers who've been displaced (moving out to Eastern Crown Heights or down to Flatbush). 

- I've argued elsewhere that the latest round of new investments in businesses along Franklin represent changes in kind as well as degree, which is another way of saying that we're attracting big corporate dollars now (Starbucks, Goldman's investment on Dean, a bank branch). These aren't folks who are going to swing by community meetings or post on local blogs to encourage residents to support their new business, because they're not going to be worried about making payroll or rent month-to-month in their first year. It sounds a little obvious, but the change is changing (or, at least, changing gears).

- Finally, I've come back again and again to the point that commercial displacement is a part of gentrification worth paying attention to, in part because it's so visible (and thus media-friendly, in a way that accelerates the process), and also because commercial tenants are less protected (and thus the gentrification process can be even more cutthroat than residential turnover in these neighborhoods). Sometimes this means that commercial turnover precedes residential turnover, eliminating gathering places and raising the cost of living for longtime residents in the process. Other times, residential displacement goes before commercial displacement, as customers move and patterns of commerce change. 

At this point, of course, both of these things are happening along Franklin. This isn't news to anyone - the neighborhood has been anointed, proclaimed, had its turn at the debutante ball, and all the rest - but looking back over five years, it is remarkable just how much has changed, and just how different the Avenue has been in each year I've been here. There's lots of great stuff to see and do on Franklin now, but there's also so much that used to be here that was wonderful and that's gone. Once upon a time, going back through these old roundups to make this year's updates felt like current sociology, charting the present as it unfolded. This time around, it felt more like archaeology. 

The final plea is always the same: readers, your thoughts (corrections and additions most welcome, of course)?


  1. What's the hold up on Docklands? Any timeframe on when they will open?

    Any word on what will replace Taste Buds?

  2. Docklands is enduring a tedious liquor lic and DOH approval process.

    The space formerly occupied by Taste Buds is reportedly becoming part of Chavelas.

    Brooklynian continues to jabber about same...

  3. Wow, Google Maps still has the mural in front of 'the hole' on Franklin and EP. Kind of nice to revisit.

    Does this post account for the predicted businesses coming into that space?

    Also, worth noting perhaps, Happy Wok Chinese on Franklin and St Johns has a new blue awning as of a week or so ago.

  4. Ah, I even noticed that and meant to add it - they've got some new-ish tables and chairs, too. Corrections/additions most welcome, of course.

    The most recent rumor I've heard about Franklin and EP is that the commercial space is going to house a bank branch. I'm not sure if that's all that will go into that space, or if there will be other retail outlets in there as well.

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  6. Nick-
    The first floor of 341 EP (at the corner of Franklin) will definately host a Capital One Bank, and a restaurant the will be accessed from Franklin.

    Talks are reportedly underway with health care companies for the space that will open on to EP.

  7. Updates made. Residents of Bedford/Nostrand/Kingston, a similar rundown would be very interesting...

  8. Starbucks - wow, when I moved here five years ago, that wasn't remotely possible. Have to say I've enjoyed watching the creative entrepreneurs in the neighborhood and patronizing their businesses. Sorry to see "Owl & Thistle" move to the South side of Eastern Pkwy in January. Would like to see this neighborhood continue to attract and support these kinds of businesses since they are partially what make our 'hood so special. Alas, I don't know if that's possible in today's NYC once a neighborhood has tipped into a certain kind of gentrification, as Nick as pointed out over the past five years via ILFA.

  9. Jamrock Kitchen has relocated to Fulton & Nostrand

  10. the old jamrock spot is going to be a burrito spot