R22, the last time I was in Greenpoint, it was still semi-gritty. A relative's brother-in-law had bought a run down five story building in the late 70s, it was across the street from a housing project.
He did a gut renovation, doing a lot of the work himself. He enlarged rather than reduced the sizes of the apartments, one apartment was made into a duplex. I was shocked how amazing the building looked. He filled it with family and old neighborhood friends.
He was a good guy, the rents were low, only about $300 and $400! He died in the mid 1990's. He sold the building before he died, the stipulation was that his wife would be allowed to stay and keep her store which was on the ground floor. Last I heard she's still there.
This man wasn't a typical landlord, he wanted to keep the long time residents in the area and he did. He was literally one in a million.
Now any rundown area is being scoped out by real estate moguls trying to figure out how they can make even more money, while pushing longtime residents out. It's really disgusting, I cringe every time I open the NY Times Real Estate section.
IMHO, I think a lot of these trust fund hipster assholes will eventually get bored of living in dirty densely populated cites, they will simply move back to their US hometowns or back to their countries.
Most of these hipsters are not native New Yorkers, many are flyovers from the Midwest and the other hipsters are foreigners. As the hipster population ages, their excitement level will certainly no longer be there, their reasons for living in these cities will dwindle and they will leave. I worked with some hipsters who left NYC within five years.
Years ago, certain areas of NYC were clearly defined, the 'cool artistic' people lived in the Village and Soho, the wealthy lived on Park Avenue, and certain areas of Brooklyn such as Brooklyn Heights, now it seems every area of NYC is becoming grossly overpriced.
A few weeks ago I took car service to see a doctor because I was running late, a cab was quicker than three trains. The cab driver and I were talking about how expensive it's become to live here. I almost fainted when he told me he was paying $2,500 for a one bedroom in Astoria. You do have to wonder when this will end.