by Chester Soria
Published: August 17, 2015
Across the borough from the epicenter of millennial cool that is Williamsburg lies a part of town that isn’t yet synonymous with the Brooklyn ideal found on cable TV shows.
Cypress Hills, snuggled just to the north of East New York and abutting Woodhaven, Queens to the east, was one of the last remaining options where art curators and supporters Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich could set up shop.
“Like everybody else, we were trying to find an inexpensive place to live in New York,” he added.
The two co-founded non-profit arts collective Norte Maar almost a decade ago, soon after settling into a still affordable Bushwick apartment along the L train in 2006.
Over the years, however, the same neighborhood that gave Norte Maar room to expand its arts operation was soon inundated with friendly competition. More than 50 galleries operate in Bushwick’s art-saturated borders these days.
“We were struggling to remain there but as the real estate market exploded there, it became impossible,” Andrew explained.
Norte Maar settled on a two-floor row house nestled on Pine Street in Cypress Hills. Derelict months earlier, Andrew said his neighbors along the sleepy street are already stopping by for dinners.
Still, Andrew said he was fully conscious of what Norte Maar’s move might look like to long-time neighbors scared of change.