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By Joe Maniscalco
Good news. If you happen to live in tony Cobble Hill, you’re probably riding out the economic downtown just fine.
“Economically, we’re doing pretty well,” Lauren Young, personal finance editor with Business Week, told neighbors earlier this week.
Young was part of a Cobble Hill Association panel discussion along with Henry Zook, co-owner of Book Court, Michelle Mannix, co-owner of Ted and Honey and William Ross, realtor with Halstead Property.
Each was invited to Long Island College Hospital to talk about how the neighborhood is faring in the midst what many are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Ross, however doesn’t see it exactly that way.
“This will be my third recession,” he said. “Nineteen-ninety-one was considerably worse than now.”
Back then, Ross says he couldn’t find people to move into a $600 a month apartment in Cobble Hill.
Today, the realtor just helped button up a deal on Clinton and Court streets for a two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot apartment that sold for $900,000.
So, what’s the fuel keeping Cobble Hill’s financial engine humming along nicely while the world around it seemingly crumbles? According to the experts, it’s the kids.
“The kid population is key,” Young said. “We are having a baby boom in Cobble Hill.”
Parents lucky enough to land on their feet after losing jobs on Wall Street, the media and other hard-hit sectors love the neighborhood - and if they can afford it, they are laying down roots here.
Over the last two years, P.S. 29 on Henry Street has seen fit to add two new kindergarten classes.
Panelists cited stats that claim Cobble Hill has the highest per capita of three-year-olds and under in the country.
Both Zook and Mannix point to the support they’ve received from Cobble Hill’s growing families for their success.
Book Court, located at 163 Court Street, recently expanded its children’s section.
Starting with only one employee back in 1981, the neighborhood book store has survived the arrival of Barnes & Noble, hosts authors like E.L. Doctorow, and now employs a staff of 20.
Mannix left her corporate gig a few years ago, became a line chef, and then opened up Ted and Honey, located at 264 Clinton Street, in 2008.
The entrepreneur says she considers nearby Cobble Hill Park on Congress Street the shop’s “extended living room” and that business actually suffers when the cold keeps families at home.
However, whatever privileged pocket Cobble Hill enjoys, even Ross had to lament the glut of stalled construction projects and forecasted “next to no new products” in either 2011 or 2012.
This week, the Department of Labor reported that roughly 125,000 Brooklynites are currently jobless -and that figure is only expected to rise.
“It’s gloomy, but it doesn’t have to be so gloomy,” panel leader Joanne Nicholas observed.
It probably helps to be a kid in Cobble Hill.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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