A tale of two cities is revealed by poking around a new website called Bundle that shows you the spending habits of neighborhoods by zip code. I compared the west East Village (10003 zip) with Brownsville, Brooklyn, which seems like one place gentrification has yet to reach (there's no Starbucks there yet).
Here's how East Villagers spend their money each month:
And here's how Brownsville does it:
As you can see, shopping and eating are high on East Villagers' priorities. Each month, the average East Villager consumes $2,639 worth of food, drink, and products. In Brownsville, most of their money goes to the house and home, health and family. They spend, on average, $326 a month on shopping, eating, and drinking.
On Bundle, you can also click on the bubbles to look deeper and see how the spending breaks down and where it is being spent. Again, here's the East Village, where people spend $421 a month on clothing and shoes, at Barney's, J. Crew, and Zappos. And $702 a month on "general shopping," at Bloomingdale's, Saks, and Bergdorf's. The Astor Place K-Mart, too.
And below are Brownsville's numbers. They spend $64 a month on clothing and shoes, at Gucci, Marshalls, and Payless. Generally, they spend $140 a month shopping at places like BJ's, Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart--the big boxes.
Interestingly, while there is a huge disparity in how much is spent, the percentage is the same--both neighborhoods are spending 12% of their income to shop. And we see a very American problem in that lack of thrift across the socioeconomic spectrum.
How about eating and drinking? In the East Village, people are dropping $842 per month on dining out. At Starbucks! And Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern, among others. They spend 14% of their income to do so.
In Brownsville, that number drops to $20 a month dining out. And that $20, just 1% of these Brooklynites' monthly income, goes to Red Lobster, McDonald's, or Applebee's.
More and more, it seems we will have only two options for where we eat and shop: High-end, big-name businesses and chains for the rich and low-end, big-name chains and big-boxes for the poor. The American way of consumption is eating New York City from both ends.