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Smith Street, New Retail Alley

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Today, the Times draws a conclusion that's been obvious to residents of Cobble Hill, Boreum Hill and Carroll Gardens for a long time: Smith Street's really changed. The impetus for running the piece is the arrival on Smith of new retailers Homage, a skateboarding shop, and Lucky Jeans (more on the new Lucky Jeans later today).

The unpretentious little stretch of Smith Street, from Atlantic Avenue to Carroll Street, overlapping with Boerum Hill to the north and east, Cobble Hill to the west and Carroll Gardens to the south — some call it BoCoCa — seems to be evolving at a pace that is unparalleled, at least in Brooklyn, with a monthly turnover of mom-and-pop grocers and fish markets into new restaurants, shops and condos.
The paper then trots out retail real estate expert Faith Hope Consolo, who never met an opportunity for press that she didn't like, to testify that the rents all along Smith Street are rising like mad, you see, like mad! The piece compiles a list of shops that have recently descended on the stretch: you have Homage and Lucky Jeans, of course, but also Trader Joe's (which is actually opening two long blocks away from Smith, but whatever, lump it in for effect), Starbucks, American Apparel and Flight 001. They also mention longstanding stores Bird, Butter (which is on Atlantic Avenue, see TJ's), and Diane T. The really frightening thing is an off mention of a certain giant product chain, "On a recent afternoon, two young women were standing on Smith Street surveying passers-by for their opinions on Sephora." Okay, Smith Street is changing, but so is Court Street and Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights, and, for that matter, Fourth Avenue as well. The whole damn area is becoming too expensive. But that type of logic a good gentrification piece does not make.
· Smith Street Confronts the Corporate Takeover [NY Times]