A recent Wall Street Journal article documented the trend around boomers moving into neighborhoods and real estate projects aimed to appeal to ultra-cool young adults.
The story featured corporate executive Jennifer Williams, 52, who moved from the tony Upper East Side of Manhattan to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, aka hipster central, where raw denim and single-sourced coffee beans rule. She told the Journal, “I find [Williamsburg] endlessly fascinating and interesting. I wanted to be somewhere with energy and life.”
What’s happening is that boomers have the money and the freedom to downsize and upgrade to thriving metropolises. In fact, they are a fiercely independent generation that formed their free-thinking ways during the Sexual Revolution, touring with the Dead and the golden era of American filmmaking. Boomers were the original hipster generation before it became an everlasting subculture parodied on shows like The IFC Channel’s “Portlandia.”
I’m all for this migration to the city. First of all, the health benefits are amazing: more walking and fresh vegetables at the farmers market, locally grown everything – not to mention the antioxidant-packed single-source Arabica beans. Besides everyone around you will have heard that NPR segment on the dangers of fracking and you will probably be able to find that vinyl copy of the Dead “Live Cornell 1977” that’s been missing in your collection.
Kidding about liberal boomer stereotypes aside, this trend towards urban living among boomers is changing the real estate market with even massive sized builders like Toll Bros. focusing on the city living.
The Washington Post reports that empty nesters, no longer captive to high-ranking school districts and big yards with swing sets, now want to be close to fine dining, upscale retail and public transportation. In the last decade the reverse migration to cities has been increasing according to reports from major brokerage firms.
I’ve written in the past about livable communities, and this move to hip cities is in line with my 30 Bonus Years way of thinking. The kids are out and you can afford to upgrade to a smaller luxury condo where life is invigorating.