From NY Magazine:
Construction began at a phenomenal pace. In 2005 alone, there were 130 new projects in the works; since then, over a thousand proposals have been filed with the local community board—including a handful of buildings with more than 200 units apiece. As the frenzy ensued, few developers seemed to entertain the critical question of whether a neighborhood with mediocre schools and a median income of $25,892 (less than that of decidedly ungentrified Crown Heights) was fully prepared to lure hordes of young professionals willing to pay Manhattan prices. “Basically, dreams were being built upon dreams,” says Matthew Haines, the chairman of PropertyShark .com, a website founded in the neighborhood that aggregates real-estate data. “The first developers out the gate thought they might—might—be able to ask around $500 or $600 a square foot. Soon they had bid each other up to $1,000 a square foot. It was ridiculous, considering that in Manhattan you could still buy for $800, but the buyers were there, so no one was really worried about what that meant.”
And from the Daily News:
Heroin-addict hobos from around the country are overrunning hipster haven Williamsburg - living in stalled luxury condo projects in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood.
The newcomers, who call themselves "gutter punks," are stirring outrage among residents and shopkeepers who charge the bums brawl on the sidewalk, shoplift and shoot heroin in trendy cafe bathrooms.
"It's like St. Marks in the '70s," said Williamsburg activist Philip DePaolo, referring to the notorious East Village hangout. "It's the bad old days all over again. There's crack and heroin all over the neighborhood."
The squatters, from middle-class families, hop freight trains to the city, where they can earn up to $150 a day panhandling in Manhattan. At night, like plenty of other borough commuters, they return to their homes: grubby hideaways inside boarded-up lots that pock the once-booming neighborhood.
"I've got to sleep somewhere, and I might as well do it in Williamsburg," said Stuart, 22, a Florida college dropout.
The admitted alcoholic and heroin user makes $15 an hour panhandling in Union Square, holding a sign that reads "Traveling Broke and Sexy."
"The girls here like it that I'm dirty and I ride trains," he added.
Also from the Daily News:
Gutter punk Johnny has traveled hobo-style all over the country, but he has never had it as good as he does in Wlliamsburg.
He's just a short train ride from Manhattan, where he panhandles on Wall St. to pay for a hefty drug habit, his friends said.
Since November, Johnny and his galpal have been living rent-free with their pit bull.
They crashed in an abandoned building and in makeshift sheds on empty lots after coming to Williamsburg.
When they were house-hunting, they chose stalled construction projects like one at 205 North Ninth St. near Driggs Ave., which was going to be a seven-story residential building but is now an empty lot circled by plywood.