Brooklyn’s trendy retail districts boom as Manhattan spaces

Manhattan’s struggling retail scene gets all the attention. It seems like for every fully or mostly leased, high-profile corridor, like Broadway in SoHo, there’s a stretch full of yawning vacancies — like on Broadway in Tribeca.

But Brooklyn’s retail picture is rosier. Though wounded earlier by pandemic shutdowns and the rise of online shopping, most cities appear to be in remarkably good shape. If You Walked Down 86th Street in John Travolta’s Bensonhurst, You Might Not Know There Was Ever a Crisis “Saturday Night Fever” Stomping GroundSome of which have dark storefronts.

Now, a new report from the Real Estate Board of New York documents retail resilience in trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Cobble Hill and Greenpoint. Data compiled from April to October found that strong demand “contributed to a shortage of storefront space in major corridors such as Bedford Avenue South in Williamsburg, Court Street, and Cobble Hill in Greenpoint and Franklin Street in Greenpoint.”

The lack of available storefronts prompted retailers to seek new locations in “emerging corridors”, including Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, and Flushing Avenue in Bushwick.

REBNY also reported that increased tourism prompted national retailers and franchisees to open stores or explore alternatives in Downtown Brooklyn and Park Slope. Among them are: Burlington, Trader Joe’s and Lifetime Fitness.

People walking and relaxing at outdoor tables in Greenpoint, NY.

A new report from the Real Estate Board of NY shows retail resilience in trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Cobble Hill and Greenpoint.


People walking in the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The report found that strong demand “contributed to a shortage of storefront space in key corridors such as Bedford Avenue South in Williamsburg.”


A picture of a neighborhood in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

The city council voted to approve plans for Innovation QNS, a five-block mixed-use complex in Astoria.


People walking through the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Another report showed that increased tourism prompted national retailers and franchisees to open stores in Downtown Brooklyn or explore alternatives.


People walk past Cobble Hill Cinemas in the Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn.

People are seen passing by Cobble Hill Cinemas in Brooklyn.


It has also helped lure brands to Manhattan, such as Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand Snow Peak, which moved from SoHo to Williamsburg.

Astoria project approved

Finally, the city council voted Plans approved for Innovation QNS, a five-block mixed-use complex in Astoria. We reported last week that the full council could still scrap it despite the blessing of its zoning subcommittee.

But props to council member Julie Vaughn, who previously came out for the motion saying that the earlier approval was “only preliminary”. Won fought to have the project include more affordable housing units than previously proposed by the developers.

It looks like a happy ending all around.

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