Business Insider has published a story claiming that hipsters used to be pretty much confined only to the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, but have completely taken over the city in the past five years, based on maps published by Yelp. The maps show the increasing use of the word “hipster” in reviews of restaurants and other businesses on Yelp.

In 2013, “due to pricey rents in Williamsburg people began moving even further into areas around Brooklyn,” said the story. “Places such as Bushwick, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, and Park Slope began seeing a lot of heat.”

Being old enough to remember, we disagree. The hipster push into Crown Heights, certain parts of Bed Stuy and East New York is relatively recent (not that East New York shows up on the map). But “hipsters” have been all over the rest of brownstone Brooklyn for years — Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, northern Bed Stuy, etc. You could argue they’ve been here for decades, going back to the first brownstoners, artists and others who rehabbed former SROs and other spaces in neighborhoods such as Boerum Hill and Fort Greene in the 1960s and ’70s. Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe lived in Clinton Hill back then. What about Walt Whitman, Henry Miller, Truman Capote and Carson McCullers in Brooklyn Heights even earlier?

Or maybe this map just reflects the increasing mainstream use of the word “hipster,” which now seems to denote anyone age 25 to 35 who does not work in finance or medicine. Or, most likely, just that there are more hipster businesses opening in these areas than there used to be. What do you think?

These Maps Show How Much Hipsters Have Taken Over in the Last Five Years [Biz Insider]


Dumbo had its Graffiti Garage, Long Island City has the street art Mecca, 5Pointz, at least for a while longer. But Greenpoint appears to be stuck with some downright untalented street artists. According to an article in the Times, the neighborhood is covered in scrawl. It’s on trees and buildings, signs and statues, and, for the most part, its hardly the internationally recognized work by Banksy, Shepard Fairey or the New York-based collective Faile. The Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce has spent more than $25,000 since November painting it over. The chamber’s president told the Times, “the conventional wisdom was that most of the graffiti drawers were local, but there is another theory. Call it graffiti tourism. ‘People from the Midwest come here just to do graffiti’ and then post pictures online, he said. ‘I’ve heard that.'” Speculation aside, have you seen a an increase in graffiti in Greenpoint? Is the quality good or bad. Does it make a difference?

The Writing is on the Walls, and the Signs and the Trees [NY Times]

Photo: Treetop Mom

bedford-and-bowery-061913Borough boundaries seem to matter less and less these days. Yesterday, hyperlocal blog Bedford + Bowery launched and will cover the East Village, Lower East Side, Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint. It’s a joint effort of New York Magazine and New York University; the editor is Daniel Maurer, who co-founded New York Mag’s Grub Street blog. Maybe they’ll add Ridgewood and the South Bronx soon?

grand-kent-052113In the latest ‘Burg shocker, DNAinfo found some presumed hipsters who complained “poseurs” are ruining the neighborhood. Too many people who don’t live in Williamsburg are filling up its bars and streets on the weekends, they said. In truth, this has been the case since at least 2009, but admittedly has become even more extreme in recent months. Formerly deserted stretches of Kent and Wythe are now clogged with speeding cars, pedestrians, cyclists and strollers, and last Friday night when walking around we overheard no fewer than four groups of unrelated visitors speaking Italian. (That’s odd, since usually one hears a lot of French, from people who live in Williamsburg.) A visit to Williamsburg in the old days could make one feel at the center of the hipster universe. Now one feels at the center of the universe, period. We suspect the new developments on the waterfront, the opening of the Wythe Hotel, and the relentless media coverage of Williamsburg have something to do with it.
Bridge-and-Tunnel “Poser Hipsters” Clog Williamsburg Bars, Locals Complain [DNainfo]

Journalist Henry Alford embedded himself in North Brooklyn hipster culture and wrote about his experience in the Styles section of the Times. Appropriately, given the state of the borough these days, he stays at the Wythe Hotel (rather than, say, an illegal loft cooperative in Bushwick), gets a shave at Barber and Supply, rides a fixie, and takes a butchering class at 3rd Ward. His conclusion? The kids may be a little precious but they’re all right. “I’d much rather have a young Abe Lincoln serve me his roof-grown mâche than I would have an F. Scott Fitzgerald vomit all over my straw boater,” he said.
How I Became a Hipster [NY Times]

Overwhelmed by the influx of hipsters into and gentrification of Brooklyn, the anti-hipster blog Die Hipster has ceased publication after six years, as we learned from a story in The Brooklyn Paper. You can read the scathing farewell letter from the still-anonymous blogger behind the site here. In his letter, he said one of the goals of the site was to “prevent the spread of hipsters into southern parts of Brooklyn.” However, in 30 years, he predicted in the Brooklyn Paper, “Brooklyn will be one giant flea market under a tent made out of flannel and beard hair,” he said. “Us natives will be living in the sewer tunnels for only $1,200 a month.”


Yes, the hipness of Brooklyn has become so mainstream USA Today has a huge feature about it. To its credit, the story is not only about the hipster and gentrified areas of Brooklyn, but covers many aspects of the borough and its history since the 1940s.

The Brooklyn the Dodgers left was unsophisticated and unfashionable, the butt of the kind of jokes now directed at New Jersey. The Brooklyn after that, from roughly 1970 through 1995, was synonymous with crime, drugs and welfare. But the Brooklyn where Kari Browne has opened a business and plans to raise a family has been transformed into what she calls “a brand.” (more…)

In a move rife with propitious timing (Brooklyn’s first mayonnaise store recently opened in Prospect Heights), New York magazine published a cover story investigating whether or not artisanal Brooklyn is a sign of the Apocalypse. In the article’s words, it’s “a world, or at least a borough, where thousands of salvaged-teak schooners ply the oceans, or at least the Gowanus Canal, bearing Mason jars full of marmalade made from windfall kumquats. It’s like a child’s dream. The supermarket aisles are lit by Edison bulbs, staffed by scruffy men in butcher’s aprons, and stocked with cruelty-free dog food and hand-pulped toilet paper.” The article features several familiar brands – and Flea favorites – that either found success or challenges. (McClure’s Pickles brought in over a million bucks last year; jam company Maiden Preserves, popular in the local market, failed to gain enough traction or profits to expand.) The piece also sets the stage for how the artisanal boom emerged from a bad economy, and the tension between the “small-is-good ideology and the growth imperative,” forcing many Brooklyn entrepreneurs to compromise their “locavore mission” in order to make it big.
The Twee Party [NY Magazine]
Illustration by Zohar Lazar via NY Mag