Much Ado About Brooklyn Neighborhoods

The online magazine BKLYNR has created an interesting interactive map that displays how often Brooklyn neighborhoods were mentioned in the New York Times from 1981 to 2012.

In total, Brooklyn was mentioned in 1.4% of articles in 1981. By 2012 the percentage has risen to a respectable 4.7%, the number has been pretty stable since 2006.

In 1981 the top three neighborhoods mentioned were:

  1. Coney Island (107)
  2. Brooklyn Heights (98)
  3. Bedford Stuyvesant (79)
  4. Williamsburg (71)
  5. Brownsville (39)

And in 2012:

  1. Williamsburg (538)
  2. Park Slope (333)
  3. Fort Greene (311)
  4. Bedford Stuyvesant (110)
  5. Clinton Hill (50)

Interestingly Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant are the two constants in this comparison. Coverage of these two neighborhoods is consistently in the top five list.

Williamsburg and Park Slope have been taking turns for the top two spots since 2001. While coverage on Williamsburg has been mostly focused on restaurants, music and real estate, Park Slope is mentioned in Sunday Style sections and stories about community politics, such as alternate parking rules, littering and rezoning. 

These numbers confirm the general knowledge that Brooklyn is becoming more and more popular and interesting to a wider audience. But what is most interesting to me is that the top 5 have stayed pretty much the same in the last three decades. Clinton Hill is the only "newcomer" (first time in the top 5 in 2006), both Park Slope (appears in top five in 1987) and Fort Greene (shows up in 1983) have been in the top five pretty much every year.

As for the two neighborhoods that fell out of the top five between 1981 and 2012, Coney Island and Brooklyn Heights, they aren't far behind. Coney Island was in third place in 2007, and Brooklyn Heights made third place as recently as 2011.

What this tells us is that while overall Brooklyn has been attracting more attention, it is still focused on the same spots. Increasingly young people and families are expanding their home search further east into Brooklyn, but geographical news coverage in the New York Times hasn't changed much in the last three decades. It boils down to more words about the same areas.

At Relocality we aim to match you with your perfect neighborhood, whether it's popular or not. We believe that the right environment is one of the main factors that make you feel at home. When we launch our new website in a few weeks we hope to be even better at achieving this goal, so stay tuned!

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