Strolling through Ridgewood, Queens, one doesn’t get a sense right away that change is imminent.
The main commercial corridors crisscrossing the neighborhood — Seneca, Myrtle and Fresh Pond avenues — are still a jumble of local businesses, discount retailers and mid-range, mall-style chain stores.
In keeping with Queens’ international character, the sidewalks teem with a cross-section of residents and vendors selling DVDs, mobile accessories and street food.
But in the tree-lined grid between the busy corridors, small things are percolating and creating a buzz that has put Ridgewood on the map as the next big thing.
Expanded M line subway service and lower rents are attracting those priced out of Brooklyn hot spots like Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and other gentrifying Queens neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City.
Samantha Zulch lived in Bushwick for four years moving to Ridgewood for “less rent and a quieter, better community.” She reduced her monthly nut by $150. Filmmaker Adam Kerchman pays $1,500 for a one-bedroom that he says “four blocks into Bushwick would be easily $2,000.” But more than the lower rent, Kerchman says he moved across the border for a more real neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of hipster nonsense in Bushwick, and there’s not too much of that in Ridgewood,” says Kerchman.
Not yet, anyway.
See, the thing is that the B.S. that Bushwick puts up with is not exactly welcomed in Queens. It appears that Ridgewood is going to miss out on a full-scale hipster invasion, because the rents are doubling and the types of new businesses that are opening are catering more toward the yuppie crowd than the youngsters.