Analyze This: New York Puts Brownstoner on the Couch

nymag-052608.jpg
Considering the tone of what New York Magazine has written about some other blogs, we thought that this week’s cover story about Brownstoner, and its culture of commenting in particular, was reasonably thoughtful. Sure, it had some the magazine’s signature sensationalism, but underneath that were some interesting thoughts about what the commenting culture on the blog says about the collective psyche of Brownstone Brooklyn. Our only major gripe was that it played up the importance of one egomaniacal commenter over some of the more constructive aspects of the community. In the end, though, it did include one belief of ours that we’ve clung to from the beginning: That as messy as many of the threads get, the tough issues that underlie much of the change that Brooklyn has experienced in recent years—class, race, gentrification—are at least getting discussed, and often among people who wouldn’t otherwise be mingling offline. The conversations could be a lot more polite, but at least they are happening.
The Brooklyn Wars [New York Magazine]
Illustration by Zohar Lazar

0 Comment

  • Wow. The Brownstoner Troll is now a superstar.

  • The whole article is about the what. Boring.

  • New York Magazine apparently has no journalistic standards, including numerous vulgarities in a poorly written uninteresting profile piece.

  • Congratulations, The What.

  • I don’t believe that The What = The Brownstoner Troll.

  • The What, dude, well done! You’re a celebrity now. This blog NEEDS The What now.

  • Wow. The entire piece really is about The What.

    The What: You must be extremely pleased with yourself.

    Mr. B: You must be royally pissed off.

  • pop culture at it’s best. local blog, local figurine, international buzz; who would of thunk it? love the internet… love brooklyn.

  • Amazing!! The What is famous!! Go dude!

  • And I thought I was the only loser on my laptop and not outside enjoying this beautiful day.

  • this article is about the What (or the Whats), not brownstoner.com. strange.

  • As much as I love the What I wouldn’t be surprised if his postings were coming from BSer’s World Headquarters.

  • what a thrilling article.
    who is the what. where does he live.
    who cares.
    boring beyond belief.
    NY magazine lost its relevance in 1974

  • Jesus, The What is probably reading this with one hand down his pants.

  • excellent article, entertaining-glad brownstoner is getting such great exposure-so many people will now know so much about that little creature the What, and he looks so fuzzy!

  • 5:25,

    Do you really think that New York Magazine was still relevant as recently as 1974? IMO they were printing this kind of superficial nonsense long before that.

  • Your “only major gripe,” is the subject, and hero, of whole New Yorker article.

  • I find Brownstoner often annoying, but this article is downright awful. In typical insane New York Magazine fashion, it takes a stereotype, park slope mom nazi, coked up investment banker, or in this case the random postings by The What and projects it as a reality.

    Thankfully we do not live in internet chatrooms and most people under the age of 50 realize that internet postings are not reality. Sadly New York Magazine will take another decade to catch on to this blog thing.

  • oooohhhh- someone’s jealous of the What. Kudos to you What- I often disagree with you. I’m sometimes appalled, but I’m always entertained! Too bad guest at 8:06- you’re just not in his league.

  • can someone please take a hammer to the laptop of the person who is posting these 3000 word repeating posts? -reminds me of being in 8th grade again–are minors allowed on here?

  • The What is enraged and this is his version of parting the red sea and freeing himself from the addiction of Brownstoner. I hope that B’stoner didn’t directly support the creation of this article. It sounded really stupid and wouldn’t attract me to the site at all.

  • Yo,

    I work in real estate and have been reading Brownstoner since the beginning.

    Mr. B, where did the old thoughtful posters like CrownHeightsProud and the rest of them go?

    TheWhat is a loser who want attention. Everyone knows markets go in cycles, so of course eventually his doomsday predictions will come true. The What must be a very a sad person.

    Mr. What, if you assume other people have good intentions, instead of angry, backstabbing motivations, you might not feel angry and sad all the time.

    Congrats on the article, Mr. B.

    Next stop, the WALL STREET JOURNAL!

  • I kinda like the what. he has a flair for the dramatic that’s hard to ignore.

  • Hey Butler, the What is he star not you. Ha!

  • The What is the star of the show. Nice.

  • There’s a lot of useful info on this blog, but it’s also a huge outlet for anonymous negativity. People who can barely behave face to face can remove all restraints. It’s like rubbernecking, compelling but leaves a foul tsste.

  • Way to put a brave face on terrible media coverage, Mr. B.

  • This WHAT guy has some issues… His views are way too extreme I believe. Its good press for the site but the whole article is really about nothing…

  • They got it all wrong … Chuckie is a maniacal doll come to life in a horror film. How can a writer be so stupid??

  • I never really thought about who or what The What is. All I know is that if this were an episode of Scooby-Doo, the What would be revealed to be Jonathan Butler in disguise. He’s posing as this deranged idiot to lower property values in Clinton Hill and Fort Greene so he can secretly buy up the whole area and sell it in one big chunk to Bruce Ratner. And he would have gotten away with it too…

  • “Jesus, The What is probably reading this with one hand down his pants.”

    Nope up your wife ass.

    “TheWhat is a loser who want attention. Everyone knows markets go in cycles, so of course eventually his doomsday predictions will come true. The What must be a very a sad person.”

    Nope Homeboy, I’m very happy these days. I didn’t know that NY Maggrag was going to write a piece about Brownstoner. I thought they was kidding.

    I’m not posting for the fame! I believe in what I say! I’m glad I didn’t give any comments for this story.

    Oh well get it on!!!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • The whole article is a joke. Brooklyn will maintain its value just because of proximity and desire to live here. The people that are speculating in Bed Stuy and Windsor Terrace and Crown Heights it may take them longert to make money on their places but areas like BK heights/Burg/Boerum-Cobble-Carroll will be fine becasue of the demand factor.

    Here is my point if you can buy a place and get about 10-15% less than the selling price I would do it because lending standards are going to become easier on the simple fact that companies are going to have to start and make money again and cant be as strict as they are for too much longer…

  • I think (hope) Mr. B knows he NEEDS The What to keep things interesting around here. He stirs the pot. Makes people uncomfortable. Ruffles some feathers. And, once in a while, says something of value, and truth.

  • I think The What is none other than NY Mag writer Adam Sternbergh.

    Think about it…

  • “The whole article is a joke. Brooklyn will maintain its value just because of proximity and desire to live here. The people that are speculating in Bed Stuy and Windsor Terrace and Crown Heights it may take them longert to make money on their places but areas like BK heights/Burg/Boerum-Cobble-Carroll will be fine becasue of the demand factor.”

    This why I post. Delusional Kool-Aid drinkers and Asshats make my blood boil!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • “I think The What is none other than NY Mag writer Adam Sternbergh.

    Think about it…”

    Ah no.

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • Hey What where do you live and what do you do… You should work for the Fegeral reserve since you know exactly whats going to happen in the market…Except in reality you are a geek who sits on his computer all day being a negative dweeb and makes no money…

    GREAT JOB…

  • I’m familiar with some of the sites The What must read (I’m of a similar, if slightly less apocalyptic mindset than our anonymous friend as to the future of real estate in the city as a whole, and parts of Brooklyn in particular.)

    “Chucky” in this case is Charles Consumer — a reference Karl Denninger of Market Ticker (http://market-ticker.denninger.net if html formatting doesn’t work) uses to refer to the average, house-poor, house-as-ATM US Consumer.

    Denninger is unwaveringly negative as to his beliefs for the future of the economy as a whole, and housing as a part of it in particular. I don’t disagree — the era of 100% LTV, piggyback 2nd’s, no-doc loans is over, and the free money that people used to fluff the market to the point that it is now is no longer.

    Is Brooklyn real estate theoretically “worth” more than it was 5, 10 years ago? Possibly. As Warren Buffett famously has said though, houses cannot /intrinsically/ increase in value, as they don’t produce anything.

    In this case, the surrounding areas where many of these fine homes were built have gone from terrifying blight of the 60s-70s to the safer neighborhoods that they are today. However, some neighborhoods have accelerated in value significantly more than is rational due to the “free money” gasoline poured onto the market. There is no way, rationally, that a house that merely 5 years ago would trade at 400k is worth 3-4 times that now. It’s just nonsensical, looking at the historical appreciation of real estate.

    What that means in the long run, who knows — it’s possible that prices will stay where they are now and just not increase for 5-10 years, rather than plummeting as they have in other overinflated markets (Arizona, Florida, Nevada, California.) The possibility of a plummet exists, of course, as any number of externalities (continued bank failures and job losses in the financial industry) can change the landscape of both available buyers and needy sellers. Who really knows.

  • What the article left out is that the tone of the comments has changed drastically since the beginning of the site. The rather lax moderation policy means that people who are more controversial, confrontational, and just plain offensive have driven others away with the nastiness, name calling, and obvious trolling.

  • Nice to see a print thing getting on this band-wagon, but it’s already been said:

    the what is the sun, that this blog revolves around;
    few are the planets. some are the stars,
    and the most and the rest are holes in the sky.

    truth, eventually when and if you find it.

    and FYI, daveinBS, and country Club Biff are setups, flim-flamm mans out the mind of theB who did watch his share of WWF growing up.

    Entertainment people, to incite inpsire and at least keep you reading for another day.

    the What needs to get his own game on, and get paid.

    As the site is post-shark and double double burnt and done.

    the WhatEver

  • they say that no publicity is bad publicity.

    but i’m sorry, this has to be a total nightmare for mr. brownstoner.

    my condolences.

  • “Hey What where do you live and what do you do… You should work for the Fegeral reserve since you know exactly whats going to happen in the market…Except in reality you are a geek who sits on his computer all day being a negative dweeb and makes no money…”

    Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

    http://www.akasha.de/~aton/swfqw.html

    You know what? I can get a job at the FED, I understand what
    “Money” is and isn’t.

    “In this case, the surrounding areas where many of these fine homes were built have gone from terrifying blight of the 60s-70s to the safer neighborhoods that they are today. However, some neighborhoods have accelerated in value significantly more than is rational due to the “free money” gasoline poured onto the market. There is no way, rationally, that a house that merely 5 years ago would trade at 400k is worth 3-4 times that now. It’s just nonsensical, looking at the historical appreciation of real estate.

    What that means in the long run, who knows — it’s possible that prices will stay where they are now and just not increase for 5-10 years, rather than plummeting as they have in other overinflated markets (Arizona, Florida, Nevada, California.) The possibility of a plummet exists, of course, as any number of externalities (continued bank failures and job losses in the financial industry) can change the landscape of both available buyers and needy sellers. Who really knows.

    To guest at May 27, 2008 9:43 AM. Yes I read LD but, I don’t share the same views. If you think whats happen in other parts of America will not affect you, you are one delusional person! There is a major credit market dislocation going on! Just because the MSM blew a “all clear” doesn’t mean it’s over.

    Well Looky here! The S&P/Case-Shiller index is out and the survey says…. Buzzzzz you’re done!

    S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. Home-Price Index Falls 14.4% (Update1)

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajojnweWQjfE&refer=home

    “May 27 (Bloomberg) — Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in March by the most in at least seven years, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market that will further drag on the economy.”

    But but… It will not effect Brownstoner Brooklyn… It’s different here…..

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • 9:43 you are a genius! LOL

    Captain Obvious where did you plagiarize that bs?

    Brooklyn has changed and I agree that some of the prices tripling in 5-10 years is crazy but here is what you dont get that in 1990-1998 NO ONE WANTED TO LIVE IN BROOKLYN now people want to live there… There was no demand back then so you cant compare prices to then like the UES would today…

    Real estate in Brooklyn may level off for a few years but this slaying of prices is ridiculous it WONT happen…

    So in you delusional world you feel that an apt let say in Boerum Hill going for $475k will go to $295k???? Keep dreaming maybe that same apt will go to $435k and a buyer will step in at that price…I see the gutted brownstone getting chopped but apts under $750k will always have a huge demand and may only suffer a minor correction… like 10-15%…

  • The What’s demise has begun. now that he’s achieved a tiny degree of fame, his appeal will quickly fade. flavor of the month.

  • I thought it was a classic NY magazine article- lots of one liners, hyperbole, zingers, and a fair amount of truth. Mr. B.came off as long-suffering and exasperated. The What has been elevated to cyber urban legend (I loved the picture of the What giving the raspberry to the Park Slope mom!). We’ve all been analyzed.

    there is a lot of truth to brownstoner saying we have discussions we wouldn’t normally have- but sometimes those discussions are more about ranting and venting than communicating. All that does is give those who hatemonger a platform for their views. Brownstoner needs a moderator and a real registration system. I don’t want censorship- I do want to be able to read brownstoner without going through the comments from the guys with eye holes in their sheets and Mein kampe under their pillow.

  • New York Mag has always been suspicious of the outer boros and the underlying message of this article seems to be “see, we knew Brooklyn couldn’t be trusted”. They needed to find someone who could validate their insecurities about Manhattan no longer being the center of the universe, and that rich people would want to live in Brooklyn.. and they found their muse in .. “the what”.

  • Biff Champion

    “and FYI, daveinBS, and country Club Biff are setups, flim-flamm mans out the mind of theB who did watch his share of WWF growing up.

    Entertainment people, to incite inpsire and at least keep you reading for another day.”

    Thanks 9:50! While I can assure you I have no connection to Mr. B, it’s heartwarming to know I entertain you, incite inspiration and keep you reading for another day. But I’m always curious to know what keeps one returning to a site that one deems “post-shark and double double burnt and done.”

    Guest 10:09, I agree with you re: the registration. I think logging in even under a pseudonym increases the feeling of being responsible for one’s comments. But it begs the question, why don’t you lead by example and at least sign in using the existing login procedures?

  • biff- for a very long time I did and then the troll copied my user name but added a space and the registration system accepted it. This was as recently as a couple of months ago. It’s happened for several user names I tried. then they posted links to urls with the most horrible pictures you can imagine, under those names. My real posts were deleted because of the confusion and once I was accidentally blocked. All the troll has to do to make it look like a legitimate registered login name is add a space and it looks exactly like yours. The troll targeted me as well as several other long time blog readers. So until Mr. B gets a better system I won’t sign in as anything other than guest.

    bxgrl

  • Biff Champion

    thanks bxgrl, I appreciate your very reasonable response and perspective. No doubt the system has flaws – in fact, I was surprised to see last week that there appeared to be two Rachel Pratt’s signed in last week contradicting each other. I didn’t notice, but perhaps one of the did the spacing trick you mentioned.

    Brownstoner, can you fix this flaw and add controls to the registration process? I really believe offering a better sign in process and having more posters sign in would enhance the site.

  • wait a minute – that can’t be the real bxgrl – she hasn’t made some unfounded allegation about poster A not being very intelligent based on a disagreement with poster B.

  • Biff Champion

    It might stop this new wave of faded type spamming too…

  • Biff, I’m with you. Most blog sites that have had problems with trolling have instituted a registration requirement, and have more aggressive moderation. (Is that an oxymoron??)

    I do find it interesting that on one hand, we all say that kids grow up too fast these days, and on the other hand it’s obvious that fewer and fewer people grow up at all.

  • An interesting side note – on Curbed.com there is also a prolific poster who calls himself “Sneaky Pete.”

    Sneaky Pete seems to be the The What’s nemesis. Unlike The What, SP can post commentary without launching into an obscenity laden tirade.

    He is also positive on NY RE. He sees opportunity in the market. The interesting thing is that all the anon posters on Curbed attack Sneaky Pete like The What attacks posters on Brownstoner. They hurl insults and slurs at Sneaky Pete in the same trashy manner as The What does on Brownstoner.

  • Yeah, I’m anon@9.43 — I’ve tried to register, but B’stoner’s mailing system for email verification is broken, so I can’t.

    May 27 10:29:43 parkcentral postfix/smtpd[17021]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from apperceptive-bst1.client.logicworks.net[209.73.24.197]: 504 5.5.2 : Helo command rejected: need fully-qualified hostname; from= to= proto=ESMTP helo=

    Oh well…

    [shelltoe]

  • Biff, I’m with you. Most blog sites that have had problems with trolling have instituted a registration requirement, and have more aggressive moderation. (Is that an oxymoron??) Registration protocols can easily be set to exclude spaces and other tricks…

    I do find it interesting that on one hand, we all say that kids grow up too fast these days, and on the other hand it’s obvious that fewer and fewer people grow up at all.

  • Biff Champion

    Well Roberto, I can’t exactly argue with people who accurately accuse me of having not grown up in many ways, but I love the new term you just coined: “aggressive moderation”.

    shelltoe, thanks for explaining it. Maybe comments from you, bxgrl et.al., will encourage resolution to the issue.

  • Like any asset, real estate is priced at the margin. The rapid increase in bk real estate values have been driven by relatively limited supply and limited ability to increase supply in the short term, coupled with significant wealth of nyc professionals, who were increasingly attracted to the area. I don’t see the demand curve disappearing, though it will reduce as the choppy national economy begins to affect NYC; as family-oriented buyers rediscover the suburbs (not because they necessarily want to live outside the city, but rather because they look at their personal finances and discover how much easier life would be if they add 30 minutes to their commute); and as Brooklyn loses some of the vitality it enjoyed over the last 10 years.

    Supply is also greatly increasing, both in terms of new buildings coming on line and because of the increased attractiveness of some formerly marginal neighborhoods (e.g., Boerum Hill, Fort Greene) that are not attractive replacements for more established nabes.

    Doesn’t mean there will be a crash, but new marginal pricing will need to be established that (1) elimates some of the fluff from the last few years and (2) drops the presumption of excess future price appreciation. Who knows when it will happen, so those renters still out there may still be sitting on the sidelines for long.

  • 10:51- unfounded? Hardly. I simply don’t suffer fools lightly. If you care to keep harassing me , have at it. Of course you could just ignore my posts and make yourself happy. :-)

    I don’t like racism, anti-semitism and the constant attacks on other members of the blog. And I will continue to say so.

  • There’s one sentence in Sternbergh’s article underscores how ridiculous his point of view is:

    “Both Butler and The What have made their relative reputations by identifying and tapping into exactly the same thing: a borough seething with anxiety.”

    A borough seething with anxiety? I have no idea what he’s talking about. And I’m certainly not losing sleep over The What or anything he/she/it says. The what’s antics are laughable.

    Maybe if in that sentence you replaced the word “borough” with “blog comment posts” you’d have something close to accurate, but even then I’m not sure.

  • It’s kind of funny to think that only Brooklyn is “seething with anxiety”-try “the entire United States”. Or the world.

    what I love about Brooklyn is its raucous, free for all nature. I mean- what can you say about a borough that still loves the Dodgers and has Coney Island and the Mermaid Parade? Brooklyn is a big dose of life- something I see less and less of in a rarefied, elitist Manhattan. Sometimes I think Manhattan is no longer New York, but the Disney version.

    bxgrl
    bitter bitter renter :-)

  • “and as Brooklyn loses some of the vitality it enjoyed over the last 10 years. ”

    I personally don’t see this happening. Brooklyn has had vitality for 100 years. It still does. Just because housing prices are no longer skyrockting, does not make Brooklyn any less vital.

    Personally I’ve never seen Park Slope so alive. 7th and 5th are jam packed. The new Flea Market is added a huge shot of vitality to that neck of the woods.

    It’s up to the people to keep the borough filled with energy. It has nothing to do with prices of brownstones. It has to do with being excited and being proud of where you call home.

  • 11.18, apart from not seeming to understand the meaning of “don’t suffer fools lightly”, (by that I presume you mean don’t suffer fools gladly), you only step in and question someone’s intelligence when they attack posters of a particular race.

    If you want to start raising the level of your commentary, go ahead.

  • “you only step in and question someone’s intelligence when they attack posters of a particular race.” Since when is someone intelligent for attacking posters of a particular race?

    Actually I am an equal opportunity questioner of anyone who feels the need to attack any group of a particular race. those are the ones who need to raise the level of their commentary. I’m shocked you don’t see that but it does seem you enjoy targeting posters who don’t let you indulge your baser instincts. In fact it’s your consciousness that needs the raising, not my level of commentary.

    bxgrl

  • The problem with The What is not his opinions about investing in Brooklyn, which he in his meglomania always assumes is what people don’t like about him. But rather because he’s a nutjob and one could hardly take him seriously. He’s also completely narcissistic and won’t enter any real conversation with people. My diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Also if anybody believes The What’s profile (is black and lives in Clinton Hill) please give it some thought. Like for more than 5 seconds. It would make no sense whatsoever for somebody who is hiding behind a specific persona he created, trademark phrase and all, to give the real details about himself. Oh and he apparently he lives in the same neighborhood as his arch nemesis Jonathan Butler.

    Right.

    In that case I have some swampland in Lodi, NJ to sell you.

  • Ha, Roberto, children grow up too fast now because the bar has been lowered so much that they can do what took 20 years to do in 10 now.

  • 12:01 – really good post. was just thinking this last night. live in a condo complex in williamsburg where the apts with backyards feed into a common walkway. several families were part of a backyard bbq where we walked via the walkway between apts which eventually led to evening wine drinking in my backyard.

    we go from apt to apt all the time having parties and playdates.

    it’s a great life, a great community, and a wonderful place to live, right here, right now.

    i have no doubt that things will continue to be great in brooklyn, or, get even better.

  • FYI: “For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.”
    ~Bible, II Corinthians 11:19 ( is the original saying.

    However there is a long history of variations on the phrase, especially using the word “lightly”, and include such excerpts as noted below:

    “Well, I don’t want to be just or to be kind. There is a further justice and a greater kindness than this niggling tolerance business, and suffering fools gladly. Fools bore me.” (D.H. Lawrence, “Accumulated Mail,” _Selected Essays)

    You see, I am an archbishop; and an archbishop is a sort of idol. At any rate he has to learn to keep still and suffer fools patiently. (G.B. Shaw, _Saint Joan_)

    So the word “lightly” implies that someone will suffer fools to a point, but not gladly. A tad different than the original phrase’s intent.
    bxgrl
    still bitter and still renting :-)

  • When I saw this article, I knew that Biff would start his bitching and whining again about how everyone should be forced to be register before commenting and how shaded comments “don’t count”. Yawn.

  • Biff Champion

    Manitoba, you really know me so well. Actually, it was hardly bitching and whining and I had zero intention or thought of mentioning registration in this thread. I only mentioned it in response to / agreement with 10:09 initially saying, “Brownstoner needs a moderator and a real registration system.”

    In contrast to what you think I believe, certain bold type posts also “don’t count”, particularly unoriginal ones such as yours that end in “Yawn”.

  • 11:18, where do you expect people to move where adding 30 minutes to their commute will magically make their lives easier? Neverland?

    New Yorkers already have the highest average commuting time (39 minutes) of any city in the United States. Adding 30 minutes to the average commute would mean that the average New Yorker would spend more than two hours a day commuting.

    I’m sure you aren’t suggesting that they’ll be saving money by spending an extra 30 minutes each way guzzling gas in their cars. Even if you are imagining that this 69 minutes will be spent in public transportation, you’d have to be living in the Bronx and working in Brooklyn to spend that much time in the subway, and any 69 minute-one way commute outside of the city by train would have to end in a car ride home for 99% of commuters.

  • No one pays Biff any attention. Except for Dave and Roberto.

    It’s funny to read so many posts claiming the What is a dork, jerk, insane, etc. Pretty obvious he’s got all of these folks hooked in one way or another. Personally, I think his “predictions” are largely laughable, but some folks are apparently quite threatened by his/her rants.

  • bxgrl, you did post those disgusting links and you know it. You did it under a slightly different name, but you did it. So own it.

  • Biff Champion

    1:26, “No one pays Biff any attention”. Actually mentioning me in your post would contradict your own argument, Einstein.

  • This is why I stopped reading New York Magazine years ago. It’s a magazine about loathsome people behaving loathsomely. This is not the New York City I grew up in, spent most of my adult life in or love, but evidently it sells magazines. I worry that this very useful site is going the way of New York Magazine, and that there is a sad truth that there is value to Mr. B in having the traffic that uncivl ranting evidently promotes. When I moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan a year ago, I regularly visited this site and read the comments because I was excited about learning about my new borough and neighborhood. But this site doesn’t provide that as much anymore. I’m still very excited about living here, but Gresham’s Law seems to be at work here, and that seems to be exactly what Mr. B wants. That makes me sad.

  • 1:39- unlike you, if I posted those links I would take responsibility for it. that’s how I was raised. I can’t imagine what you were taught growing up but you certainly have that “odor of mendacity” about you.

    bxgrl

    ps- look up the big words if you have to.

  • ProfRobert- there’s still a great deal of value on the blog although as a long time reader I have the same issues with it. the obscenities bother me but the stuff that really gets my back up are the racist comments and insults thrown at every group. I’ve also read the blog long enough to know that most of it is our very own troll who loves to start trouble and I think you will find his ilk pretty much everywhere in cyber space. But the best way to know Brooklyn is just to get out there and meet people, walk the neighborhoods, go to the classic Brooklyn places like Coney Island, the museums, etc. We’ve got good and bad and in-between but we got life.

  • “…Gentrifier’s Dilemma: that the people most likely to be acutely aware of the ethical complexities and itchy racial politics of gentrification are also, ironically, the exact same people (white, moneyed, liberal) most likely to be gentrifiers themselves.She is exactly the kind of person who, when stumbling onto an item on Brownstoner headlined “StreetLevel: Bodega Goes Up in Smoke,” about a deli shut down for selling untaxed cigarettes, might find herself posting in the comments: “I live around the corner from this place and can say it will not be missed. There are always a bunch of sketchy-types hanging out in front.” Or maybe she was the one who wrote, “I live on this block a few houses down and all I can say is good riddance. There are always people hanging around outside that are obviously up to something illegal. No one will miss this place!”…

    Pretty interesting and damning observation on “liberal whites”.

  • Sternbergh is a complete hack, and no one should be taking any stock in what he writes.

    Here’s his writing process:
    –come up with an unoriginal “trendy” idea
    –interview as few people as possible, preferably no one who really knows the issue
    –throw in a series of sensational and unsubstantiated claims
    –voila! an article about absolutely NOTHING.

  • Shahn —

    11.18 am here. Not neverland, but the suburbs. Twenty years ago, many (most?) young professionals in the city thinking about a family would naturally move to the suburbs. Those of us (myself included) who have moved to NYC since the mid- to late-nineties have rediscovered the city and planned to live here for so long as we remained in the NYC area — and never really gave the suburbs a second thought. However, as prices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have surged, the cost/benefit analysis changes — I’ve lived in Brooklyn for years, but unfortunately the appreciation on the apt. I purchased as a single person (which works for a couple) isn’t enough to afford the transition to a family-sized apartment. So the choices are: (1) overleverage myself with a mortgage that will capture a very significant portion of my take-home salary, (2) squeeze into an apartment that is much smaller than I ever thought I would live in as a family or (3) abandon Brooklyn and move to the ‘burbs. I’ve always hated the ‘burbs out of principal, but faced with those choices, I am starting to see how they might be attractive — the price point is so much lower, some places seem interesting and ultimately there are benefits (space, schools, etc.) that for me pushes the balance in their favor.

    I know that I’m not the only young professional thinking this, and as more folks starting thinking like this — and acting on it — the less pressure they’ll be on the BK housing market. Doesn’t mean it will crash by any means, but does mean that there comes a point of equilibrium.

  • 2:38 – I think what’s damning (of the author) is his assumption that both these posters are women. I see nothing in these comments that implies female over male.

  • 2:42 – Sternbergh got paid for the article which makes him a writer. I don’t see much in the way of credentials from an anonymous commenter like you to be trashing his work.

  • 2:42 is close but i think this might be closer to the recipe for a ny mag “article”:

    take 1 part inability to write about anything that can’t be reduced to a personality profile

    add 1 part “total financial moron”/clueless renter (see http://nymag.com/news/features/45323/)

    sprinkle of beavis-like fascination with potty-mouths

    whip into a frothy, fear-mongering mess, spoon into one bowl of, like, a bajillion words and serve.

  • Biff Champion

    i disagree, thanks for the laugh!

  • daveinbedstuy

    This article was a perfect example of why not to ever talk to the press bout your business unless its going to be a very specific topic. these journalists are ALL a bunch of pseudo intellectuals writing to a below C mentality audience for entertainment value only. You will always be misquoted, misconstrued, taken completely out of context or have your story steered in a direction that’s completely irrelevant…like this story.

  • Did The What’s publicist set this up? Otherwise there’s no explantion for this “much ado about nothing” article.

  • All the “writer” did was read this site for a few months, cut and paste other peoples’ comments and then hold it out as something important. Hmmmm. Sounds like the work of the What!

    i disagree: pure perfection!

  • daveinbedstuy

    However, as we’ve seen today with what look like a number of new registered sign-ins, ANY publicity is good publicity…remember the cow dung madonna!!!!!

  • Those of us who read this site daily are way ahead of most of the points in that article, which is clearly for those who have never heard of this blog.

    Regarding The What, if he’s so down why doesn’t he confess to some serious crimes he’s committed over the years? He’s probably a mousy Bartleby-type. And Buzz Bissinger and Will Leitch totally beat him and NYMag to the altar on this topic.

  • 11:18 – I’m not trying to minimize the difficulty you face when weighing a move to the suburbs. I tried out both Hackensack, NJ, and Brentwood, Long Island when I was trying to find a balance between commuting and having a life.

    My main point was trying to point out that any cost / benefit analysis between Brooklyn / Manhattan and the suburbs has to be properly weighted for the time lost to commuting. Once the cost of owning and insuring a car, paying the exorbitant property taxes, and spending multiple hours a day commuting are also weighed in, the initial difference in cost balances out a lot.

    It’s true that Brooklyn and Manhattan both still come out a good deal more expensive than almost anywhere in a reasonable commuting distance, but then the question comes back to how much money the few free hours that we have left in a week are worth.

  • “these journalists are ALL a bunch of pseudo intellectuals writing to a below C mentality audience for entertainment value only.”

    Well then this writer targeted the right crowd – you just described about 90% of the people who post here (not including me). Dave, you and your little buddies specialize in steering conversations in directions that are completely irrelevant. Alsi , if you believe ALL journalists are a “bunch of pseudo-intellectuals” you have some persecutory issues of your own to explore.

    “Those of us who read this site daily are way ahead of most of the points in that article, which is clearly for those who have never heard of this blog.”

    Yeah, I think that was the idea behind writing the article. It wouldn’t make much sense to write to Brownstoner readers about Brownstoner. You guys have no clue what good journalism is all about.

  • daveinbedstuy

    Yeah, 5:02, I wasn’t talking about you. That said, you’ve posted one of the more lame comments today.

    You need to raise your journalistic standards if you hold these type of magazines in high regard.

  • 5.02 pm, DaveinBedStuy is right. For god sakes, we’re not talking about The New Yorker here. New York Magazine is one step above the Post.

  • I agree that Dave and Biff are really no better than the What. I rarely, if ever hear them say anything useful. Most of the time, I see the login and skip their comment and move on to the next.

  • What a waste of space. I’ve never responded to any of The What’s comments because they’re obviously deranged and I’ve never understood why anyone else gives him the satisfaction. Now we’ve got an entire magazine article about this nonsense? Ridiculous. I would have rather seen an article that focused in a more thoughtful way on “what the commenting culture on the blog says about the collective psyche of Brownstone Brooklyn,” as Mr. B. put it. Nice try, NY Mag, but as usual you’ve missed the point.

  • Biff Champion

    5:39, what exactly did you just say that was useful?

  • “5.02 pm, DaveinBedStuy is right. For god sakes, we’re not talking about The New Yorker here. New York Magazine is one step above the Post.”

    What Dave said:

    “This article was a perfect example of why not to ever talk to the press bout your business unless its going to be a very specific topic. these journalists are ALL a bunch of pseudo intellectuals writing to a below C mentality audience for entertainment value only.”

    ALL “press” not just New York Magazine.

  • Whatever your opinion of the What is, I think he gets far too much credit for his “originality”. A poster on Calculated Risk allen m has been using someday this war is going to end… far longer than the what. And I am quite sure they are different people. the Schopenhauer quote was on top of nychousingbubble.com for a long time before the What used it. His Jeffereson quote was on another blog. He is recyling crap from the web with far worse spelling and accuracy than others. If you beleive his feelings on real estate, go to a more intelligent source, there are many on the web.

  • 6:13: You forgot to add the last piece of Dave’s e-mail.

    “You will always be misquoted, misconstrued, taken completely out of context or have your story steered in a direction that’s completely irrelevant…like this story.”

    If you are going to quote people, include the entire quote. Otherwise, you are engaging in the very behavior Dave is complaining about.

  • You like to talk.
    If “The What” is an attention seeker, what does that make you “quest” having to comment everything over twenty times…

  • The New York Magazine article was good for a number of laughs.

    The What probably posts on other blogs using different names. No doubt he’s on other Brooklyn blogs. Easy to do since every neighborhood has one. In fact, Brooklyn Blogs seem more numerous than Brooklyn bars. On the blogs you get a lot of the same bull, but no alcohol.

    The Who

  • I think that you Asshats are upset that I got notoriety! I see some of you trying to achieve the same thing but, this is not about “The What” . It’s about my life, witnessing this Mutant Real Estate Asset Bubble! If I was a “attention seeker” I would’ve contacted Adam!

    I you believe in something and have evidence, you should fight for your cause. I view this Blog as a vehicle of Covert Race/Class warfare. I view this Blog as a compilation of GREED and DELUSION! If there was no “Hot Money” to fuel this MREB, No Asshats would ever set foot in these neighborhoods!!!!!

    Very soon we will pay for our folly! Hell I think we are paying for it now (High Gas Prices, High Food Prices and High Whatever Prices).

    BTW I hate the illustration! It’s like I’m a Ogar or something, Whatever!

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • Typical New York magazine article. concentrating on the insignificant and missing the larger picture for the sake of hearing themselves write. How many times have I read articles in this silly magazine about the latest and newest only to finish the story four pages later asking myself, why have I lived in new york my entire life and not once had that same perspective on things? Guess that’s what you get when you get a bunch of poseurs from some place else hoping to create the next wave in a city that will never truly be their own. As it is, they decided to concentrate their latest drivel on an annoying gnat of a poster with a personality disorder who has contributed nothing more to the conversation here than a seventh graders’ penchant for Tourets-like psycho babble and a fixation on scatological references. Not to mention the fact that he/she has been pretty much dead wrong about the entire “meltdown” of Brooklyn real estate, as I continue to state, we have yet to even post a single quarter of negative GDP. I understand the whole Id-driven spectacle, but you posters who continue to applaud and mumble ga ga at the inane posts are not much better than the person outside the bar at 2:50 AM stopping to watch a drunkard dry heave into a waste can.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Interestingly, the cover story in this week’s NY Times Magazine had a thought-provoking first-person article by blogger Emily Gould. Unlike NY Rag, she actually had something to say.

    What Emily writes about, among other things, is the relationship between bloggers and commenters and privacy versus celebrity/notoriety.

    New York Rag got none of this interplay—as usual, it’s the usual drill of a few provocative anecdotes presented as fact—or the leading edge of a trend.

    A cover story based on The What (or most likely The Whats)? Unbelievable! You were far too gracious, Mr. B.

  • How Biff Champion became the What

  • Realizing that I am very much in the minority here, I got a kick out of the article. There is no doubt that The What adds a certain je ne sais quoi to this place! His over-the-top style make it easy to dismiss him as a nut job, but the growing truth of at least some of what he has to say is hard to ignore. Plus, he has added “asshat” and “fucktard” to my vocabulary!!

  • 9:45

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    The What had repeatedly said that we are in something worse than the Great Depression, yet technically we are not even in a recession. I find that talk ignorant and fear mongering. I’m guessing you are a Bush supporter also?

  • If the posts on this blog is representative of the pulse of Brooklyn, then I am very very very afraid. What an embarrassment What or no What – it is full of racism, rants about strollers and ice cream and anonymous ego wack jobs.

  • Posted by: guest at May 27, 2008 8:29 PM
    Posted by: guest at May 27, 2008 10:06 PM

    Lets see…

    “as I continue to state, we have yet to even post a single quarter of negative GDP”

    Ok beLIEver of the Ministry of Truth. You are the dumbass who beLIEves every thing you hear. You have 6.5 Trillion in Mortgages made between 2003-2007! Right now 20% of those loans are dead! That’s about 1.2 Trillion that has to be written down. Merrill Lynch. Citibank, Chase, UBS, Wachovia, Bank of America and other dumbassed banks is about to take up the you know what.

    Guess who is going to pay for that….?

    The Asshat Taxpayer! Yes The Asshat Taxpayer who get his/her real wages stolen thru INFLATION!!! I guess you are to stupid to realize that.

    Boy O Boy enjoy your summer because I think this will be a hum dingier of a Fall…

    BTW Hef asked me to hang out at the Playboy Club! he’s a big fan of The What. LMMFAO

    The What ( I know someone is going to kill me on the Hef comment)

    Someday this war is gonna end…

  • 10:28…I take it you’ve never read curbed.com…? Or any other blog for that matter…?

    Did you just crawl out of a hole?

  • I’ve been reading Brownstoner since before The What(s) arrived. He, she, they, whatever have had some interesting things to share along with a TON of absolute nonsense, but it’s clear that this persona has really stirred the pot and created a lot of anxiety and defensiveness in many of this site’s readers.

    I totally enjoyed this article — it was a great read — very entertaining and there was a lot of insight. (And no, I’m not the author, just another homeowner in Brooklyn.) The author did a great job of using the inconsistent, but always provocative presence of The What(s) and how they’ve been able to poke most of us where it hurts, even when we protest just the opposite.

  • First: The What rules. I’ve been reading daily since the beginning and The What is the icing on the cake. JB is cool too ’cause he lived in south williamsburg and got out before they turned it into McCondoBurg. And nobody can make fun of him for being from Ohio.

    Second: The most interesting part to me are the crazy reactions to The What’s posts. He’s usually not saying anything wilder than stuff like (and I’m very loosely paraphrasing) “You people are paying way too much to live in these sh*tty neighborhoods” or “this economy built on consumer credit isn’t sustainable”, and everyone reacts to it as if he’s completely out of left field. He’ll quote the WSJ and someone will respond with “That commie rag?” or “The news? The new is for renters”. He’s really not saying much that you can’t find in the mainstream and financial press. And the entire counterargument seems to be based on this idea that “Brooklyn (Prime) is different”, which is just sort of… bananas. Yes, Brooklyn is great and all, but a lot of formerly not-great places then became great and also saw a crazy run-up in prices, and they’re all having problems as well. Brooklyn “Prime” ain’t THAT different.

  • Commuting from Brooklyn isn’t THAT much easier than a lot of the burbs. I mean, it takes me almost 40 minutes to get to freaking northern Chelsea from Bedford Avenue. You can get to a lot of LI and NJ from Penn Station in, say, 50 minutes. Yes you have to be on schedule, and you can’t take cabs from Manhattan when you’re drunk after a work happy hour, but who hangs out in Manhattan unless they have to anymore? So the real difference is that you have to like your neighborhood. And if you never leave your house in brooklyn because there’s nothing to do where you live, why pay a premium for it?

  • Can anyone point me to a blog or website which is focused on rehabbing an old house or building a community? I’ve never found anything “the What” ever posted as being of the least interest. I nejy the forum pages here (got some great answers on my question about doorlocks, and used the archives to research some names for architects on my proposed addition), but I really don’t get a lot of the exchanges on the “mainpage.” So if there is some site which has the helpful stuff without the (seemingly straight male) masturbatory aspects, I would appreciate knowing about it. I’ve met Jon, he seems like a nice guy, but this is really, really tiresome.

  • i only heard about this blog or about the what from article in NY Mag. you guys are really big in your own little world that nobody else knows or cares about.

    happy renter on upper west side (only bitter if i lived in brooklyn)

  • The What, mon frere!

    Bring the pain.

  • i took a 2 month break and the NY artical brought me back. It had me rolling. Nice work the What!

  • “you guys are really big in your own little world that nobody else knows or cares about.”

    I totally agree. I live (rent!) in Brooklyn and am in love with being here. The so called “war” is, as we all know, nothing unique to Brooklyn and nothing new to this city. The endless squabbling between renters and owners, Brooklynites and Manhattan dwellers, and gentrifiers and natives, sickens me and I’m never surprised.

    Don’t we all live in this city (and move here) for the same reason? If New York doesn’t chew you up and spit you back to wherever you came from, then shut up and enjoy it. You’ve won.

  • The only reason I’m even looking at this blog is because of the New York article and “The What”…I’m Brooklyn Born, living in “The South End” of Boston which echoes life in Brooklyn, it was a ghetto, then a gay ghetto with many a workin hoe and now its just a continual cash flow…