Brooklyn: It’s Expensive Now

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Bonjour Brooklyn! That’s the name of a feature in this month’s Vogue that shows models who live in Brooklyn posing with their children in front of borough landmarks, such as Jane’s Carousel and the Bedford Cheese Shop. Here’s the intro: “Models, writers, actors, and artists have been flocking to New York’s Left Bank for its destination restaurants, bustling farmers’ markets, Parisian-style parks, and passionate dedication to l’art de vie. Welcome to the new bohemian chic.” (See Lily Aldridge wearing a matador style top and pants by Stella McCartney to eat at Rucola with her daughter, Dixie Pearl. Except for the children’s names, it’s just like Manhattan.) In another article in the same issue, about pearls making a comeback, the author remarks, “after all, it’s nearly impossible to turn a corner in Brooklyn without seeing some hip chick in Delettrez’s signature earrings — a solitary gold arc bookended by a pearl on one side and an enamel charm on the other.” Uh, what?

Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a story this week on the very same topic. It asks: “Is it still possible to be a bohemian in today’s New York City, where average rents now surpass $3,000 a month? Or are the rents just too damn high? And — if they are — what does this mean for the future of artists and intellectuals of the sort who have long been as much a part of the natural order of the city as pigeons and locust trees?”

Their piece was inspired by another story in literary magazine N+1 lamenting the sinking financial prospects of bohemian intellectuals. We remember just before N+1 launched going to a party where some of its founders lived in an inexpensive preserved-in-amber apartment off Broadway in South Williamsburg, back when it was a little bit scary to venture so far down Bedford after dark. This was in 2003 or so — a decade ago.

The Atlantic story ends with a very typical thought: Maybe if artists have to struggle financially, their art will be better. Well, they’re not all struggling. Artist Jack Pierson just bought a former knitting mill in Ridgewood. Oh wait, that’s Queens (the part that used to be Brooklyn). Do you think that if artists have to struggle financially, they’ll be too busy working at ad agencies and fancy restaurants to pay the rent (or the mortgage) to make any art?

Bonjour, Brooklyn: Why New Yorkers Are Flocking to the Borough [Vogue]
Everlasting Realities of the Bohemian Lifestyle [Atlantic]
Cultural Revolution [N+1]

9 Comment

  • Its a good thing people keep writing these articles, otherwise I would think that Brooklyn sucks.

  • sweet, another trend piece about how trendy brooklyn is

  • The bottom line is that young artists are just moving further out to “undiscovered” areas like Bushwick, Ridgewood and Sunset Park. With decent transportation and/or a bicycle these neighborhoods are still fairly close to Manhattan or other parts of Brooklyn. And for $3K you get a huge loft or a small house that you can share with a bunch of your friends.

    • I think the prices are finally starting to send the creative classes out of New York City, to places that are more affordable. If something isn’t done about the cost of housing, the city will have sold its soul so that another banker can live in a quaint brownstone on a cobblestone street.

  • It seems everyone is operating on the stipulation that all artists and intellectuals are in their 20’s. Plenty of us bohemians in our 40’s and above are all still here, or continue to find a niche here. And most artists do not end up solely making a living from their fine art, but they do find ways to parlay their creative skills into related work, while continuing to work on and sell their fine art. It’s simplistic to assume that if you don’t “make it” by 25, that your art/creative career is over. We all keep doing it as we work as furniture makers, commercial photographers, art directors, commercial musicians, graphic designers, copywriters, etc. Now that I’m an older artist, I think it’s presumptuous to think that artists should automatically get affordable housing so that we can be free to make art. The best art comes once we all gain more life experience, and exposure to people and cultures different from ourselves, and that comes from living real llfe just like everyone else. The real question and concern is: why does the media continue to judge an entire, enormous and incredibly diverse borough, and then an entire sub-group of people, based on the lifestyles of the very young?

    • “why does the media continue to judge an entire, enormous and incredibly diverse borough, and then an entire sub-group of people, based on the lifestyles of the very young?” – because everyone steals from the youth culture. youth culture is what is captured, bottled and sold. i wish i were part of that culture again. no one loves you after 30 :)

  • These things tend to work themselves out all on their own, and life, and NYC, move on…

  • Good to see they’ve invested in article writing robots at all of these publishing relics. Sounds like Vogue opted for the BlatherBot 2000 model.