clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The NYC Neighborhoods That Changed the Most This Decade

New, 12 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Listicle fever continues! While we were polling New York's shopping experts on their top retail trends of the past ten years, we also asked them to tell us which neighborhoods they thought had changed the most. It's hard to crown a winner: Williamsburg has undergone full reconstructive surgery since 1999, but the Meatpacking District is also a strong contender. (Remember when the trannies threw eggs at Samantha's window on Sex and the City? That episode first aired in August of 2000.) So instead of ranking them, we're just going to let the experts make their cases for the title of most altered neighborhood of the Aughts. If you're home and bored this Christmas Eve, do let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Madison Avenue: "Madison Avenue is quite sad with all the for-rent signs and empty storefronts—all of which transpired in the last year and half!"—Alexis Maybank, founder, Gilt Groupe

The Bowery/the LES: "The Bowery and the Lower East Side are growing and changing the fastest."—John Bartlett

Soho: "I feel that Soho has changed the most for retail shopping. It's almost entirely big brands. Soho feels a bit like a shopping mall now...just a teensy scoochy bit."—Toni Hacker, designer, Hayden-Harnett

Eighth Street: "Eighth Street was always tacky and vibrant and kind of fabulous. Now most of the shop-fronts are for rent."—Simon Doonan, creative director, Barneys

Possibly the most Williamsburg picture ever taken via Berk2804/Flickr

Williamsburg: "Ten ago the big highlight used to be buying second-hand clothes for $2 a pound on Driggs. Now you can get a vibrator for $200."—Marsha Brady, creative director, American Apparel

Apple's rendering of the MePa store: No meat being packed here

The Meatpacking District: "Where else can you find luxury co-mingling with the scent of rotting flesh? The meatpacking district! Only in New York will we pay top dollar to live and play in a neighborhood that still houses functional meat packing plants. Not so bad in the winter, but in the summer, that smell wafting by Alexander McQueen is not exactly the next new fragrance. Wow. And ladies, watch your heels. Mind the blood—slippery when wet."—Andy Salzer, designer, Yoko Devereaux

"New York is always changing at a crazy pace, but I think the West Village/Meatpacking district has had the most prominent changes in the last ten years. From underground dance parties, meat-packing and sex-trade to high end designer boutiques and the city's best restaurants, clubs and hotels, it is really unbelievable."—Jennifer Mankins, owner, Bird

"Not counting Brooklyn, I guess that would probably have to be the heavy gentrification that happened in the Meatpacking District. Meatpackers can't afford the rents there anymore—only Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss, Alexander McQueen and other global conglomerate-owned brands. It went from being a local economy to an offshore economy. Unsurprisingly, only European tourists can afford to shop there, now."—Cintra Wilson, Critical Shopper columnist

Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn via Jay Woodsworth/Flickr

South Brooklyn: "I'm cheating a bit since it's not just one neighborhood, but Brooklyn. At the beginning of the decade I lived in Boerum Hill, and Butter on Atlantic Avenue was pretty much the only game in town. These days I'm back in Manhattan but some of my favorite stores are there: Dear Fieldbinder, Bird, Erie Basin. If there's any truth to the rumors of a Barneys Co-op opening up on Atlantic Avenue, I won't be at all surprised."—Kim France, editor, Lucky

"It happens to be my neighborhood, but Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill is a good microcosm. It was lined with giant affordable antiques shops—many owned by the local Middle Eastern community—and now there are fancy antiques shops intermingled with (really great) boutiques and restaurants and even Brooklyn outposts of Manhattan mainstays like Steven Alan and Jonathan Adler. Not totally unthinkable 10 years ago, but 15 years ago no way."—Eric Demby, founder, Brooklyn Flea

The Cynthia Rowley store on Bleecker

Bleecker Street: "Marc Jacobs was the sole pioneer of Bleecker Street, but I like to think that we, being a few blocks away, contributed to the growth of one of the city's chicest shopping neighborhoods."—Cynthia Rowley


220 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 388-1655 Visit Website