NY1 previously reported on the surging number of ultra-Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn seeking housing in two neighborhoods on Staten Island, with some even offering cash for homes. In a follow-up report, NY1's Amanda Farinacci examines why many of them are trying to relocate.
These days Williamsburg is the epicenter of Brooklyn cool, known for trendy restaurants, fashion boutiques, cultural venues and a white-hot real estate market.
But Williamsburg also is home to a massive population of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews. Community leader Isaac Abraham says it is the largest such enclave in the world.
"Williamsburg is a major part of a Jewish community that is being built right after the Holocaust, where you actually can see the way the Jews lived in European life," he said.
The Hasidim live by centuries-old traditions and practices, a world apart from the modernity all around them.
Couples marry young and census figures show they have an average seven children, forcing many to rely on Section 8 government housing vouchers to pay rent.
Now the expanding communities of trendy Williamsburg and Hasidic Williamsburg are on a collision course.
"We're bursting at our seams. The families, housing, there's nowhere to go," said Abraham. "Either you can't afford it, or there's nowhere to go even if you could afford it."
Rents can range from $2,500 to $3,000 a month, just for a basic apartment with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen in a third-floor walkup, said James Guimaraes of Ideal Properties Group.
Those prices make Williamsburg an often-cheaper alternative for professionals who had been living in Manhattan.
"Whether it's the food, the shopping, some sort of community event, an art gallery opening or whatever it is. And it's 16 minutes exactly to Union Square," Guimaraes said.
But the growing demand for apartments and rising rents are squeezing an increasing number of Hasidim out.
Abraham says many Orthodox Jews are also being lured from Williamsburg by family members who have successfully settled elsewhere.
In places like Rockland County and Central New Jersey, where large Orthodox communities have been built in recent years and now Staten Island, where a growing Orthodox population is preparing for an influx of new residents.