Gentrification

Google Maps Glitch Reveals Freaky Extent of Williamsburg Gentrification

It's Williamsburg, before the locally-sourced fruit preserving workshops

This is what the intersection of North 3rd St. and River St looks like today.

This is what the intersection of North 3rd St. and River St looks like today.

It looks like no one’s safe from the trendy, skinny jeans-wearing wrath of gentrification in New York City—not even Google.

This morning, The Village Voice picked up on a jaw-dropping Google Maps glitch that perfectly illustrates the effects of gentrification.

Check it out for yourself: Go to Google Maps, and type in  “North 3rd St. and River St, Brooklyn, NY.” Drag the human-shaped “Street View” to the intersection of the two streets; you should see a fancy shmancy, white six-story building—the kind of place you’d expect Chris O’Dowd’s Girls character to live. Now, click down North 3rd Street, to the left. BAM! Did you catch the switch? The building instantly reveals its grungy former life: clean white stucco turns to greying, graffiti’d walls; clean pavement turns to garbage-strewn grass.

But here's what it used to look like—not that long ago.

But here’s what it used to look like—not that long ago.

What’s scary is that Google Street View only launched in 2007, meaning that the massive Williamsburg transformation had to have happened over the course of the past six years (or maybe a tiny bit longer, assuming that the original photos were taken prior to Street View’s launch). Still, there’s no denying gentrification is happening really freaking quickly.

Look out, Queens.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com