Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tale of Two Cities

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.

22 comments:

kingb said...

"House & Home" - does that mean rent/mortgage?

If so the numbers for both cases seem quite low..

Or does it mean stuff for the house?

Jeremiah Moss said...

not entirely clear, but i'm pretty sure it means "stuff" for the home and not rent/mortgage. which would be much higher.

kingb said...

yeah, if you drill down to details, "House & Home" refers to utilities. phone, maintenance, home improvement, etc

makes more sense now

thanks for the link..now I have something to do this morning :)

Goggla said...

Interesting, Jeremiah. I'm pretty surprised to see so much shopping, but as it's broken down, I can see where the money goes.

How does the site determine the stores where people shop? Is it just based on the info people contribute to the site?

Streets of Stamford said...

If you feel like becoming enraged and/or fainting, type in Greenwich, CT.

BrooksNYC said...

"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."
- - - - - - - - -
And big-name business wins no matter what. Horror heaped upon horror.

Anonymous said...

Yet the umpteenth sign that the East Village for the most part, about a 98% part, is dead and no longer its old self. What to do? Nothing except move away. I've lived in the East Village for 17 years. I'm not going to boast about my street credibility because when I moved here the conditions on the street were far better than they were in the 80s, and definitely better than they were in the 70s. When I went out I didn't feel like I was putting my life in my hands at every moment. It was to borrow a phrase from Iggy Pop "casually dangerous", if it was dangerous at all, I guess. If it was a real battle zone I would have never moved here as I did in the spring of 1993.

With that said, if it wasn't for what I did for a living, and even because I pay relatively cheap rent (which relative to other parts of the country isn't cheap) I wouldn't just leave the East Village, I'd leave New York. I'm serious. I've been in the EV as I said for 17 years, but in NYC for 24 years. This place has just pussed out in such a huge way. It's amazing that for decades and decades NYC was an entity unto itself, unique beyond unique, immune to even the most submental of pop culture travesties, and then here comes the Korporate Kunsumer Kulture of the USA and that's the end of that. The 20 somethings that now corrode Avenue A every weekend remind me of an updated version of the kids that were in all of the 'Beach Blanket' movies in the early 60s. Nothing but a bunch of updated Frankie and Annettes running around here on a Friday and Saturday night: "Hey Annette, let me go all the way with you honey", "No way Frankie, put your miniscule hard-on away...I'm a good girl...on my 24th Cosmopolitan".

NYC finally submits to the outside world. That's when you know it's time to leave.

Anonymous said...

you've lived in the city for 24 years and the ev for 17? unless you are 24, you are part of the pussification.

Goggla said...

Anon @ 12:38 - your reasons for leaving are exactly the reasons we need you to stay.

BrooksNYC said...

"NYC finally submits to the outside world. That's when you know it's time to leave."
- - - - - - - - - -
Where to? I ask in all sincerity. Short of holing up in a Unabomber shack or fleeing the continent, what American city or town can you name that hasn't fallen prey to homogenized, commercialized, corporatized mainstream culture? The only refuge, it seems to me, is in the company of like-minded people....and ya takes 'em where ya finds 'em.

Anonymous said...

Clearly anybody that's lived here for at least the last 10-15 years regardless of how long you've lived here is part of the 'pussification', you included. That is if you still live here. The question is whether or not you actively rallied in favor of said 'pussification'. I guess it's up for argument, but I think most would agree that the New York of the mid/late 80s was not quite 'pussified'. That era of NYC was why most people, myself included wanted to be here. Maybe on it's way to being 'pussified' at that point but the changes that were happening then were not in leaps and bounds as much as they have been in recent years. There was for example, still porn in Times Square, Rock Hotel shows at the Palladium, and an S&M underground in the Meatpacking District, and it didn't seem like those things at the time would be going away anytime soon. So if you think that's evidence of 'pussification' then I don't know what to say...I guess you must be better, and cooler, than everybody else.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Goggla, good question about the shopping stuff. it's unclear how they figure that out. i wonder if the data is taken from credit card purchases, which would not so much include smaller cash-only businesses. so it might be skewed that way.

BrooksNYC said...

To Anonymous @ 2:28:

I hope that wasn't directed at me, since I'm the uncoolest person in the five boroughs.

If it was a response to Anonymous @12:38, I'm confused as to why his post upset you. He's distressed, as many of us are, at the wrenching changes that have occurred here in the last 10-15 years.

"The question is whether or not you actively rallied in favor of said 'pussification'."

I'm with you there.

"...anybody that's lived here for at least the last 10-15 years regardless of how long you've lived here is part of the 'pussification'

There I disagree. An elderly resident of Harlem forced out of her neighborhood by big-box stores and skyrocketing rents can't be held responsible for the pussification of Manhattan. Like many of us with little money and less power, she's not the problem. The zillion-and-one banks, Duane Reades, and luxury condo units were, emphatically, not our idea.

Not that unchecked corporate greed is the entire problem. It's also true that we New Yorkers are losing our island "otherness." It's as though the blanding and the flattening of America has reached a kind of critical mass, and all of a sudden, TAG....we're it.

Jeremiah Moss said...

re: post-1990 pussifiers. these territorial skirmishes having to do with time are fascinating, i.e., the idea that "if you came here in 1991, you're part of the problem. if you arrived in 1989, you're authentic."

how do we draw that line? (and if that's the line, i fall on the pussifier side of it. if only i arrived in 1989...)

anyway, i don't think the line can be drawn in time, this year or that year. there are people arriving today who i'm sure have the heart for it. but for what? what's left?

Anonymous said...

"There I disagree. An elderly resident of Harlem forced out of her neighborhood by big-box stores and skyrocketing rents can't be held responsible for the pussification of Manhattan. Like many of us with little money and less power, she's not the problem. The zillion-and-one banks, Duane Reades, and luxury condo units were, emphatically, not our idea."

Of course. Again to be clear, and to give the benefit of the doubt to the other Anon that seemed to be pointing fingers on pussification, my point was if you had been here during that time period you were witness to pussification, not rallying for it.

"these territorial skirmishes having to do with time are fascinating, i.e., the idea that "if you came here in 1991, you're part of the problem. if you arrived in 1989, you're authentic."

how do we draw that line? (and if that's the line, i fall on the pussifier side of it. if only i arrived in 1989...)

anyway, i don't think the line can be drawn in time, this year or that year. there are people arriving today who i'm sure have the heart for it. but for what? what's left?"


Exactly! As I attempted to state originally, it's up for argument what era of NYC was 'authentic'. There are many who will argue that the real end and the real gentrification started in the mid-80s. Which in some respects looks totally true. If you lived here your whole life and saw the Lower East Side in the 60s, anything that wasn't guerrilla warfare in the streets probably looked civilized. There were still drug dealers all over St Marks place and 10th St. (bet A & B) up until the mid 90s where there are none now. Back then..not so safe, not so dangerous, but definitely more 'authentic' than it is now. But compared to the stories I've heard directly from native New Yorkers and long-time EV residents, drug dealers were a fraction of the problem. These long timers have stories of guns and knives being pointed at them multiple times up until the 80s or thereabouts. But then there are others that bemoaned the end of this or that in New York way before this generation, but that doesn't take from that the fact that we are under a heavier corporate assault than ever.

Anonymous said...

What I am seeing more these days are the now locally living people in the East Village who are well-to-do walking around with attitude that they run the place.

Anonymous said...

What's the big preoccupation with "authenticity" all about? There were people living in the East Village in 1900, they basically lived and went about their business. There are people living there now in 2010 doing the same thing. And the same for any point in between those two dates. What makes one more "authentic" than another?

Is it boredom? Lack of stimuli? Nostalgia? I can certainly understand someone in 2010 hating all the "funpigs" running around on the weekends, but I'm not sure "authenticity" is the right way to frame this sentiment.

Maybe it sounds trite, but just live your life as you wish to live it. That, to me, is the only viable form of "authenticity".

Jill said...

There is so much data out there, but I would bet big that it's from credit card data, which is readily available to anybody with the money to buy it.

Jill said...

If you compare 10009 to 10003, both East Village, but 10003 more west. The differences are pretty big.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i suspect the quest for authenticity began with Gen X. though i might be wrong about that. it does make sense when you think about growing up surrounded by the inauthentic, by the synthetic. maybe we, and the people after us, long for that in a way previous generations, like those in 1900, didn't. it may also be a side effect of contemporary life in a consumer culture, which takes us far away from the "real."

anyway, i also really like this word "funpigs." never heard it before.

Anonymous said...

Bundle's a lot of BS. Info must be culled from readily available CC lists.

I plugged in my zip (10033 Washington Heights) and perused where people eat. There were a handful of places listed... none of which were Dominican restaurants. Fail.

I get tired of all the "who's the realest" arguments. Reminds me of the stupid fights I'd see go down at the hardcore shows.

Anyway let the zombies have their shitty, I only live in Manhattan because I was working on the west side and my wife had a cheap apartment. My heart belongs to Queens.

Anonymous said...

Very intrigued that Gucci is among the retail outlets Brownsville shops at.