Borough 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?
In 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
Comment: Interesting to learn that there’s such a thing as a Hipster Hasid!