Hipsturbia: Brooklyn Breeders Move North

A few weeks ago, friends of ours emailed that they were putting their two-bedroom co-op in Clinton Hill on the market. We asked where they were moving, expecting to hear a fixer-upper in Bed Stuy or Crown Heights–two of the last places in Brooklyn to buy a brownstone for under $2 million. When we heard the response, though, we were floored: New Rochelle! “This will probably be the moment we all look back on as when the suburbs got cool again,” we wrote back jokingly to the photographer mom and punk-rocker-by-night-lawyer-by-day dad. And it seems like we were right, judging by the cringeworthy but possibly-on-to-something trend piece in this weekend’s New York Times called Creating Hipsturbia. Having milked Brooklyn and its hipsters for the past five years, the Gray Lady appears to be following them north as they get priced out of the borough they once made cool. And, apparently, they are trying to bring some of the cool with them.

To ward off the nagging sense that a move to the suburbs is tantamount to becoming like one’s parents, this urban-zen generation is seeking out palatable alternatives — culturally attuned, sprawl-free New York river towns like Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown — and importing the trappings of a twee lifestyle like bearded mixologists, locavore restaurants and antler-laden boutiques. “I don’t think we need to be in Brooklyn,” said Marie Labropoulos, who recently moved to Westchester County and opened a shop, Kalliste, selling artisanal vegan soap in Dobbs Ferry. “We’re bringing Brooklyn with us.”

The aforementioned towns all offer reminders of the storefront offerings of Bedford Avenue and Smith Street but with houses nearby that are well under $1 million. In fact, of the 135 or so properties we have listed in our Upstate Marketplace for Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Tarrytown, just eight top $2 million, with the most expensive being a seven-bedroom Georgian Colonial in Irvington asking $4,750,000. The cheapest? This diminutive Dutch cottage at 504 Benedict Avenue in Tarrytown for $319,500; everything priced under $300,000 turns out to be a co-op or condo. So how many of you have seriously contemplated this move? Know any hipsters who’ve already taken the plunge?
Creating Hipsturbia [NY Times]

60 Comment

  • “and opened a shop, Kalliste, selling artisanal vegan soap in Dobbs Ferry.”

    Vegan for washing out dirty little vegan mouths?????

    Is there no end to this?????

  • People may frown upon Bay Ridge on Brownstoner, but after outgrowing Park Slope I’m still living in Brooklyn, in a limestone for under 1 million. With good schools until high school to boot.

  • People may frown upon (people from) Bay Ridge on Brownstoner.

  • Give Brooklyn back to the Brooklynites.

  • good riddance. artisanal soap stores isn’t the identity of brooklyn, it’s the identity of those people. ship them off to the burbs and let’s have our city back.

  • just opened up the link to read the article and ROFLMMFAO at the pix. bike.
    Baby sling
    Gluten free
    Irony T shirt

  • It’s getting harder and harder to find a good, REAL sandwich these days. When I want one, i want rare roast beef on rye with russian. I DON’T want vegan frisee, kale soya this or that on whole wheat panini bullshit.

  • I had forwarded this article to a friend. I told him that none of the businesses cited seemed particularly Brooklyn-like to me. His response: “I actually feel it is a manufactured idea of what Brooklyn is by realtors and developers who are selfishly attempting to expand the bounds of Manhattan.”

  • “punk rocker by night lawyer by day dad”

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. And make sure you show all your lawyer friends how much space you get upstate.

  • “This will probably be the moment we all look back on as when the suburbs got cool again”


    Or, when all of the trend-sucking wannabes finally gave up and left Brooklyn in the hands of the actual Brooklynites.

  • If I had to choose, I think I’d rather have the hipsters in Brooklyn and ALL lawyers and Bankers move upstate.

  • “Mr. McNeil is one half of the lauded street-art duo Faile, known for its explosive swirls of graffiti art, wheat-paste sloganeering and punk rock. He wears his hair in a top bun and bears tattoos with his sons’ names, Denim and Bowie, on his forearms. His wife, Nicole Miziolek, is an acupuncturist.”

    Denim and Bowie???!!??! Faile indeed.

  • “He wears his hair in a top bun”

    LOOK AT ME!!!!!! The most disgusting of all the hipster looks. Good riddance.

    They were banned from soliciting in airports years ago (Hare Krishnas for those of you who can’t remember)

  • I admit I don’t know any hipsters even tho Brownstoner and I are the same age. Then again, where I come from a lawyer is not a hipster. Pretty much by definition.

    We looked in the river towns before we bought our current place in brooklyn. We were looking in the 700-900k area. Now I see those same places are 500-700k. So there’s that. And taxes are way up. There was an interesting article in the Times a few years back about newer residents in Scarsdale trying to wrestle with the budget. Taxes doubling every 8-10 years — from 20k to 40k and on track to hit 80k in short order. These towns have the same issues as many cities. The custodians at the local schools have pensions. Ditto cops, firemen, teachers, etc. And while they can and have fired the custodians and hired services to replace, there is no NOT paying the pensions already on the books. And they can’t fire the cops and close fire stations. I don’t know how you sell your house when the taxes are 65k. And it’s not a far fetched idea — it’s a reality.

    Also, vegan soap? It’s like Brooklyn has turned a joke.

  • Nothing new; back in the late ’70s people from Hudson, NY set up tables at most Brooklyn brownstone house tours to attract Brooklynites–pissed off a lot of house tour organizers! Of course we called ourselves “brownstoners”; back then; “hipster” would have been confused with “hippie” and would have been considered passé.

  • I lived in Hastings temporarily and while it’s a very nice town, with lovely wooded areas, a nice library, good schools, and pretty easy access to the city — it’s not hip or urban or “Brooklyn-y” to any extent that I could see. It’s . . . a suburb, a nice one. People there prefer to call it a town, and there is a town, but honestly, it doesn’t have too much to offer. Also, I don’t exactly understand the “priced out” argument — the prices in these areas are VERY high and the property taxes are pretty extreme. I could no sooner afford to live in Hastings or New Rochelle as I could to live in Park Slope. I think some bargains can be had farther north — in places like Beacon and Hudson — and I know there’s been a bit of an “artist migration” up there, but those places are hardly commutable.

  • “I saw some moms out in Hastings with their kids with tattoos. A little glimmer of Williamsburg!”

    Everyone and their mother has tattoos. He might as well say ““I saw some moms out in Hastings with their kids with pants.”

    Mr. Wallach, 38. “Brooklyn is turning out to be the last three days of Burning Man.”

    And yes Mr. Wallach Brooklyn is over because you decided to leave.

    “I still have my Brooklyn phone number,” Ms. Labropolous said. “I’m not giving it up.”

    What a bunch of douches.

  • I wonder how Ms. Labropolous is going to feel when she has to go back to The Grand Propect Hall for a suitable wedding venue.

  • None of these people are complaining about the crush of people looking to buy the apartment they’re selling in Brooklyn which leads me to believe they’re all moving out of rentals and buying for the first time.

    So, in other words, here are young families moving from the city to the suburbs when it’s time to buy a place and put the kids in school. Where have I heard this before? Oh right, from my mom and dad and their mom and dad, etc etc etc.

    Why is it that this mini-generation thinks everything they do is so god damn inventive and interesting? You’re getting married?! You’re having a baby?! And then a second?! You’re moving the suburbs and buying a house? You’re planting a vegetable garden in your backyard?! How in the world did you dream up such a creative and inventive life?

  • In what world do lawyers make anything cool? Lawyers are about as cool as insurance claims adjusters, or investment bankers. Nice? Maybe. Good people? Perhaps. Cool? Absolutely not. Doesn’t matter how many punk 7″ records he has.

  • I take exception to the reporter’s statement that hipsters made Brooklyn cool. In fact Brooklyn was cool before hipsters spawned. That is why they came here. In fact they have done more to negatively impact the coolness. As 3rd Bass said in 1988, “Real cool! Cause Brooklyn’s cool!”

  • “In fact they have done more to negatively impact the coolness.”

    No kidding. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • As someone who lives on the northern edges of Fort Greene with a kid at home and another one on the way in a school district that is absolutely scraping the bottom of the barrel on literacy, I read this article with great interest. Criticize the characterizations of the Times all you like, and obnoxiously say “good riddance” to people who are making the choice to leave the borough, but you are missing the underlying point: getting a quality public school education for your kids in Brooklyn is virtually impossible now. Bankers and lawyers are the only people who can afford to live in districts in Brooklyn that have decent public schools, and that’s the reality whether you like it or not. It is as bad as Manhattan, if not worse.

    • I think the ire isnt about someone moving for economic/space reasons, how could you fault that? It’s someone moving and thinking they need to save their new neighborhood from its uncoolness and introduce the philistines who’ve lived their all their lives to mayo made by tibetan albino monks.

    • sorry, but as parent that’s educated two kids in NYC public schools, I say you are dead wrong. Even if you take brownstone belt/ district 15 out of the equation, you still left with great schools in good neighborhoods such as Ditmas Park, Midwood Sunset Park, Kensington, Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay, Marine Park…

    • You are so wrong about this. Plenty of good schools in Brooklyn in neighborhoods where you don’t need to be a banker or lawyer. I know south Brooklyn isn’t so cool, but there are good schools there The reason people are criticizing this article is not because these people want better schools for their kids, but because they think anybody cares that they are moving to the suburbs. Look at me! I have a tattoo and I moved (back) to the suburbs, but I still have my Brooklyn cell phone number and, oh my god, there’s yoga and stuff in the suburbs, look at me!

  • “artisanal vegan soap”

    Really? These people are caricatures.

  • These towns arent the suburbs – Call me when Long Island is cool

  • The Times has been covering this trendy non-trend for years. See this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/nyregion/hudson-river-valley-draws-brooklynites.html?pagewanted=all
    or this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/nyregion/25rosendale.html

    You’ve got to give it to the writer though, he managed to troll the hell out of people with this story. “A village in the Wittgensteinian sense”? Amazing.

    Brooklyn is a doucheable feast.

  • HEYYYYYYY! I’m from Bay Ridge you wankers. John Travolta hasn’t been seen at The Golden Dove since ’73

  • Hipsters moved to Brooklyn because their parents could afford to subsidize them here. Now that their self-loving me-culture of pseudo-orginality, artisanal pouting and pretentious food culture has driven up real estate costs, they will move on to their next geographic victim. Hipsters don’t move to a place because it is “cool,” but because they think THEY bring the “cool” to wherever they are. Heck, all you need is an old Pepsi t-shirt, a couple of ukeleles and ten Instagram addicts to create the next Fauxhemia. Are you ready Tarrytown?
    So they move out(maybe) and life in le vrai Brooklyn goes on as it always did. Will the prices go down? No. I need my own t-shirt: “Hipsters Took Over my Neighborhood and All I Got Was Priced Out and a Passion Pit Mix Tape.”

  • Authentically hip, young people have been moving to Sunset Park for several years because Williamsburg and Bushwick are unaffordable. Seriously, many artists and other creative types rent there. Public schools there mostly suck, so it is not for the breeders. They do go to Bay Ridge, though, yes, even the hipper ones, since it is great for kids, whereas Sunset Park is most definitely not.

  • i’m happy they’re taking ‘Brooklyn’ with them, quotes and all.

  • As a veteran Brooklyn pioneer – Ft. Greene in 88, Williamsburg in 90, this adventurous, but pragmatic midwesterner got priced out of Clinton Hill in 2004. My wife and I moved to Yonkers where she was originally from. Yes- The NYT article was cringeworthy. The early spirit of moving to Brooklyn was to save money and get some space to create art/music and a beautiful bi-product was joining a diverse community. The river towns listed- Hastings, Dobbs, Tarrytown and Irvington are not that cheap and not that diverse. If anyone is entertaining a move- may we recommend Yonkers. The housing stock is far better than Hastings or Dobbs Ferry( think Ft. Greene vs.Williamsburg), sometimes 1/2 the cost and Wow! you can have neighbors that are black, brown and eastern european.

    Plus- there is a talented and gifted public school that beat out all of the other Westchester schools for a national blue ribbon award.

    Still a big fan of my first home away from Iowa- Brooklyn!


    • OK, daisygoat, you make Yonkers sound OK, but does it have any artisanal mayo or anything? Or cold brew coffee? Could you write up a hipster guide to Yonkers for us?

      • Oh, yes, please do write up a guide. How on earth would we survive if we couldn’t obtain lead-contaminated cage-free Bushwick eggs, Gowanus pickles, local honey bottled by Red Hook kazoo players or $28 cruelty-free chocolate bars molded by bearded nouveau-Edwardians?

      • Qualmy-
        No artisanal mayo as of yet. A recent proposal to allow for chickens in backyards was rejected as quackery. When we want smug food offerings-which we do on occasion- we drive 5 minutes to Hastings. There is a wide variety of first gen cooking though- Ukrainian, Brazilian, Ecuadorean. Also a Peter Kelly restaurant on the waterfront and a Frank Pepe pizza place.
        People from the other river towns can be snooty in regards to Yonkers. But that is part of the reason we like it here-the underdog status fits us. And it can be very urban -like Brooklyn -unlike the other river TOWNS mentioned in the article.
        For better or for worse the “Hipster Guide to Yonkers” is few years away from having any uber cool movements to report on. Keep your ears open though- we have met a bunch of terrific ex-brooklynites and lower east siders that are still quite creative and determined.

  • People from the suburbs moving back to the suburbs after they have children. Where’s the story here?

  • Guest33, district 13 is hardly scraping the bottom of the barrel in literacy, although your metaphor makes one wonder if perhaps you might be one of the “creatives” not in publishing. Marketing, then, is it? And bitter about the lawyers?

    I actually met Denim once, when he and my own oddly-named spawn were infants. I remember him, because… how could I not? His name was Denim. I also remember meeting Stone, Eero, Odin, Dali and several other snowflake-named kids, who have since joined the great Brooklyn diaspora to other hipster ghettos: Portland, Chapel Hill, Austin, San Francisco, Silver Lake & etc. No judgement in that–as I said, my own kid isn’t exactly named “Emma.”

    But I will always be confounded by a universe where graffiti artists can afford $800,000 houses. Maybe I shouldn’t be. After all, who else could afford to be a graffiti artist? And the old-school burb towns have great architecture. I have a weakness for Tudors. I admit–I’ve trolled Trulia looking at Pelham and New Rochelle and wondering if I could stand living there. Although this article… makes me think, perhaps not.

  • I’m nonplussed as to why the hipsters are moving out considering all the love they are getting on here.

    I’m all for hipster entrepreneurs moving to my suburb, the coffee situation here is not good. The generations-old butchers, pasta makers and bakeries are doing fine (old school artisanal), but I’d love them to add new school artisanal to the mix. As for the insufferable only-achievement-they-have-in-life-was-to-be-born-in-Brooklyn – well, you still have that fraudulent badge of “genuineness” to drone on about

  • Interestingly, the new people coming up to the Newburgh area from Brooklyn are as genuine, community-seeking, and truly hip as they come.

    The Times article listed a few overpriced areas that make as little sense as staying in 650 sq ft with a family of four…People SHOULD consider leaving; but perhaps a bit further north than Irvington, etc.

    It’s kind of good up here…sorry! (and I was BORN in Brooklyn!)

    • Yes, Houselove, I was thinking the same thing. I have friends who moved to Newburgh and I visit there and other Orange County spots regularly. BTW, the Newburgh Brewing Company (which is open to the public as a phenomenal beer hall on weekends) was founded by a former brewer at Brooklyn Brewery. Also, the sidebar article made me smile when they say that a perk of living in Garrison (patrician! beautiful, but not hip!) is that it is close to the Storm King Art Center. They don’t even mention that SKAC is in (affordable, hipper) Orange County.