Friday, September 20, 2013

Is Dorchester the New Brooklyn?



Lower Dot is officially calling it. Dorchester is the new Brooklyn. As most people know, Brooklyn is the hippest American 'hood of this last decade. It has become a cultural hub and commonly associated with being urban cool, edgy, and fresh. Perhaps they are migrating from Allston or J.P., but in the past year, we have noticed more of our neighbors looking like this these days...


Why has there been this influx of cooler younger folks? To show that DOT is the new BKLN, we first offer a comparison of the two neighborhoods followed by a visual quiz.

1. In population terms, Brooklyn is the largest borough of New York; Dorchester is the largest neighborhood of Boston.

2. Brooklyn and Dorchester both transitioned from farmland to streetcar suburb to urban cityscape roughly around the same periods over the past 150 years. Both experienced their darkest days in the 1970s and 80s. In movies about New York, the accent you hear is usually Brooklyn; in movies about Boston, the accent you usually hear is Dorchester. Both neighborhoods are known for the politicians they breed.

3. Crown Heights Brooklyn and Dorchester were both named in the top 10 hottest neighborhoods of 2013 (Dorchester was also named one of the 10 best neighborhoods in Boston this year). 

4. Brooklyn and Dorchester both share diverse and multicultural populations.
Brooklyn: 37% White, 33% Black, 20% Latino, 10% Asian
Dorchester: 37% Black, 28% White, 14% Latino, 12% Asian

5. Brooklyn and Dorchester have seen a steady migration of artists and musicians since the 1970s, fostered by artists lofts being built in former warehouses. Brooklyn and Dorchester are the heart of hip hop in their respective cities.

6. Brooklyn and Dorchester have become home to hip restaurants that take culinary risks featured on nationally televised cuisine programs (For example, in Dorchester, we have Ashmont Grill and dbar).

7. Brooklyn and Dorchester are both a mix of dense urban apartment buildings and leafy residential side streets and both Brooklyn and Dorchester are served by partially elevated and partially underground subway lines.

8. Both Brooklyn and Dorchester have become centers for urban farming, bicycle culture, and public art. Both Brooklyn and Dorchester offer their own breweries (For example, Dorchester has the new Percival Beer Company).

9. Brooklyn and Dorchester are often strongly associated with both their Irish and African American communities. Both are traditional hubs for immigrants and they are places where many Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and eastern Europeans call home. Both Brooklyn and Dorchester have growing gay communities.

10. Brooklyn and Dorchester are both relatively affordable for housing, attracting a new wave of younger residents.

The below visual quiz highlights how difficult it is to separate Brooklyn from Dorchester...


A.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


B.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


C.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


D.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


E.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


F.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


G.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.


H.) Is the above image of Dorchester or Brooklyn? Answer at the bottom of the post.

Answer: A. Brooklyn. B. Dorchester. C. Brooklyn. D. Dorchester. E. Brooklyn. F. Dorchester G. Brooklyn. H. Dorchester.

12 comments:

Rob said...

Uhh, Brooklyn is not a neighborhood. It is a county/borough with >2.5 million people

Chris and Erin said...

Point well made. Brooklyn is a borough. Boston is 1/10 the size of NYC. In relative terms, we still think Dorchester has a good amount of importance.

Anonymous said...

Queens is 4 times the land area of Brooklyn.

Chris and Erin said...

Brooklyn is the largest borough in population.

Anonymous said...

This is offensive. Only one small neighborhood of Brooklyn called Williamsburg has given it its urban appeal. The rest of Brooklyn is filled with different types of people and VERY wealthy areas. It should never be compared to Dorchester.

Chris and Erin said...

We meant the post to be provocative. However, we certainly view Brooklyn well beyond Williamsburg and hope our post captures the great diversity of what is both Brooklyn and Dorchester.

Anonymous said...

In the second image, the 617 area code in the window behind the guy on the bicycle kind of gave it away.

Chris and Erin said...

The 617 in the window is a give-away if you live in Boston. Glad you enjoyed playing along.

Anonymous said...

No mention of Italians in Bklyn?

Chris and Erin said...

Of course, Brooklyn is known for their large Italian community. Chris's godmother actually comes from a long line of Italian Brooklynites. Last time she was at our house, she said our house reminded her so much of her grandparent's house and neighborhood in Brooklyn (she actually inspired this post). However, in Boston, the Italian community is really much more prevalent from the North End to the North Shore and so we couldn't make the DOT-BKLYN comparison there...

Anonymous said...

Good job, Chris & Erin! Having moved to Boston from Brooklyn and eventually landing in Dorchester (for the last 16 years), I often make this comparison, esp. to folks from out of town who want to understand what it is like here, or who have only heard bad things about our great neighborhood. Fun to read your specific comparisons, although I have to say I only got 8 of 10 of your photo ID's right...

Unknown said...

Jeepers people!!! Keep your pants on!!!!
I moved to Boston, to Dorchester, to Ashmont, from Brooklyn where I lived in Williamsburg and had a restaurant in Carroll Gardens. I've explored all over both Dorchester and Brooklyn…I can see where these comparisons can be made, but really, we aren't writing the New Testament here. Goodness. Its OK. Of COURSE there are differences, but change IS absolutely happening. I lived in The Burg and watched as the hipster evolution happened, when we moved there we were all super poor, thats why we moved there. And there was nothing cool. Except us. The restaurant I opened was the second in a neighborhood that was sketchy and is now teeing with gentrification. It happens FAST.