bigger than hip hop
May 12, 2013 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Used to steal clothes, was considered a thief/Until I started hustlin’ on Fulton Street.” The mean streets of the borough that rappers like the Notorious B.I.G. crowed about are now hipster havens, where cupcakes and organic kale rule and “Brooklyn” now evokes artisanal cheese rather than rap artists.
posted by four panels (84 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
it is no longer unusual to see a heritage-clad novelist type with ironic mutton chops sipping shade-grown coffee at the patisserie

In my day, the hipsters were still using vintage Underwoods for their typing
posted by thelonius at 10:53 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


The main thing I take away from this is they just named a park in Brooklyn after Adam Yauch, and that is incredibly awesome.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hey don't blame the hipsters if no one was clever enough to sell cupcakes to corner kids.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:13 AM on May 12, 2013


When it comes to gentrification, there is very little real conversation about those who were displaced. The two questions I've had is 'where did all these rich kids come from?' and 'where did all the poor folk go?'
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:18 AM on May 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Luckily Manhattan is the new Queens.
posted by spitbull at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm glad they mentioned Albee Square Mall! I love that song so much and "Just a friend" always gets all the love. I was just at Albee Square a few months ago and it didn't seem hipster-y at all. My hotel was boutique-y but the neighborhood didn't seem so.
posted by bleep at 11:23 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


'where did all the poor folk go?'

WNYC did a map a few years back of racial demographics in Brooklyn over time. I'm on a phone, so I can't readily find it, but I remember central Brooklyn in 2002 being mostly black in a kind of pyramid shape from Fort Greene to Bed Stuy. 10 years later, the black population moved 15-20 or so blocks east. It was startling. It retained the same shape and everything. It just shifted east.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:26 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


i guess this cupcake gettin' eaten
posted by slater at 11:41 AM on May 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


This poor person moved to Philly
posted by angrycat at 11:42 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


WNYC did a map a few years back of racial demographics in Brooklyn over time.

Maybe this?
http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2011/mar/24/census/
posted by slater at 11:45 AM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we collectively agree that no New York Times article that mentions Brooklyn or hipsters will ever get it right?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:46 AM on May 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think you need a broader brush to paint the gray lady with:

Can we collectively agree that no New York Times article that mentions Brooklyn or hipsters contemporary culture that isn't the opera or ballet will ever get it right?
posted by wcfields at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


As it happens, Notorious B.I.G.'s childhood home is now for sale... for $750,000
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brooklyn? Please, it's as bougie as you can stand, all 35 year olds who re-cap old episodes of saved by the bell and engage in city-side 1900s LARPing, no the real hip new area is a dark hole in the middle of the street that descends not into our own earth, but into a another realm entirely.

Come to the hole!
posted by The Whelk at 12:12 PM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


The two questions I've had is 'where did all these rich kids come from?' and 'where did all the poor folk go?'

Very often, the "rich kids" may not actually be rich. I live in Clinton Hill, a handful of blocks from Biggie's old apartment; it wasn't quite "hipsterville" when I moved in, although that was a few years away. But I didn't care about hipsterville - I just cared about cheap rent.

But when I first moved in there were still some grumbles directed at me from some of the old-timers for being a "rich kid" messing up their neighborhood and pushing them out. Which got frustrating as all hell because I may have been a lot of things, but rich sure as shit wasn't one of them. It still isn't. But they saw a white face and assumed money went with that.

Then I had a fun conversation in one of the local coffeeshops with a young guy from Bed-Stuy; we were sharing a table in the crowded space, and he was extremely chatty. He was an aspiring party promoter, organizing a whole lot of hip-hop dance parties and local Clinton Hill/Bed Stuy events (that I got to hear all about). But he also talked about the gentrification of the neighborhood - and actually scoffed at the people grumbling about it. "Look," he said, "I grew up here and I do know that there are people who are being pushed out, and that's not good. But - you know something, I like that you can get better coffee in the neighborhood now. I like seeing new businesses open up. I'm excited about the new bookstore down on Fulton. I wish everyone could afford to stay, but at the same time - not everything about the old days was good."

So the "rich kids" may not all be rich, and some of the "hipsters" may have been here already and waiting for things to pick up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:15 PM on May 12, 2013 [15 favorites]


Very often, the "rich kids" may not actually be rich.

Well, he meant "white kids".
posted by goethean at 12:24 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Granted I left Brooklyn almost 6 months ago now, but to an extent Gentrified Brooklyn and Hip Hop Brooklyn exist on top of each other.

This is one of the reasons I loved living in Clinton Hill so much. Despite rising rents and displacement (which obviously suck, not a gentrification apologist at all), it managed to hold on to a particular kind of African-American culture that kept it distinctive from places like Williamsburg and Park Slope. My guess is that this happened because of a strong Black middle class in that particular area, and a high degree of Black-owned businesses, Black political engagement, etc.

Sure, I'm a middle class white person living in what has always been a predominantly African-American enclave, but I'm being required to do so with the understanding that I have to find my place within the culture of the neighborhood, not that the previous residents had to shift to make way for people like me.

That said, the specific mechanism that enables White Brooklyn and Black Brooklyn to co-exist is a sort of self-policed segregation, which is weird and fucked up. There are some agreed-upon mixing points (Habana Outpost on Fulton Street comes to mind, also Moe's around the corner on Lafayette Ave), but the separation is very real. And yet nobody talks about it.

35 year olds who re-cap old episodes of saved by the bell

I moved to Los Angeles, it's safe for you to come outside now.
posted by Sara C. at 12:25 PM on May 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Speaking as someone who lived in parts of intown Atlanta that were slowly being gentrified, it was assumed that because I was a white girl living there, I must have had money. I wish. It was just cheaper than the nicer parts of intown Atlanta.
posted by Kitteh at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2013


Can we collectively agree that no New York Times article that mentions Brooklyn or hipsters will ever get it right?
We should retire “hipster” as a term without referent or political salience. Its zombie-like persistence in anti-hipster discourse must be recognized for what it is: an urbane, and socially acceptable, form of ideologically inflected shaming on the part of American elites who must delegitimize those segments of a largely white, college educated population who didn’t do the “acceptable thing.”
posted by kenko at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking a lot about the "rich kid"/"white kid" confluence since I moved to East LA. (Which is a Mexican-American/Chicano enclave, for all you Brooklynites.)

I live in my neighborhood for the cheap rent, just like I assume most other people do.

And yet, there are class markers that are hard to deny, and which make me feel like a "rich girl" (or maybe make me feel like I'm seen that way?) in my neighborhood. None of them are even about money, but more about lifestyle. Things like walking your dog vs. having your dog just hang out in the yard all day. Or number of children (or whether you have children in the first place -- I don't think any of the white people who live on my street have kids). Or how you celebrate. Or what it means to "have a party". Or whether you drink wine or beer. Or any number of obscure little markers that have nothing explicitly to do with race or class, and yet which set different groups of people apart.
posted by Sara C. at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Actually, you're very right, Sara C. It's things that seem insignificant to others, but are glaring to yet another set of folks. Hmm. Something to think about.
posted by Kitteh at 12:38 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that, in New York circles, "hipster" is used as a catch-all term for youngish white middle class people. It's basically an obfuscation that enables people to talk about race without really talking about race.

Despite the fact that there are creative bohemian young trendy types of all races. Of course.
posted by Sara C. at 12:39 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


How many articles do we need about this topic? One a week according to NYT.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:44 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not all of Brooklyn. Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge and Gravesend are still artyuppie free.
posted by jonmc at 12:45 PM on May 12, 2013


Not anymore.

Bay Ridge is, I think, the agreed upon Next New Neighborhood among a certain sort of gentrification pioneer.
posted by Sara C. at 12:51 PM on May 12, 2013


I live in Park Slope. This place was gentrified before it was cool to gentrify.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2013



Bay Ridge is, I think, the agreed upon Next New Neighborhood among a certain sort of gentrification pioneer.


Yep.
posted by sweetkid at 1:19 PM on May 12, 2013


Also as an Asian person I'm once again just left out of these conversations for the most part.
posted by sweetkid at 1:23 PM on May 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but cheese is good.
posted by goatdog at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2013


How many articles do we need about this topic? One a week according to NYT.

Similarly, why do they merit an FPP every time the NYT farts out another one?
posted by emptythought at 1:49 PM on May 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


Brooklyn? Please, it's as bougie as you can stand, all 35 year olds who re-cap old episodes of saved by the bell and engage in city-side 1900s LARPing, no the real hip new area is a dark hole in the middle of the street that descends not into our own earth, but into a another realm entirely.

why don't we just push them into the hole instead

theyll probably like it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:11 PM on May 12, 2013


We should retire “hipster” as a term without referent or political salience.

I agree. In my part of the world, we have another word that works much better, anyway. "Wanker".
posted by Jimbob at 2:13 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rich in this context just means richer than the people in the neighborhood, not "rich" like in the top 1%. Cheap rent for a single person is not necessarily the same thing as cheap rent for a family of 4, with two incomes and possibly with another family member pitching in here and there.

In other words, just because you're not "rich" doesn't mean you're not part of gentrification.
posted by chaz at 2:31 PM on May 12, 2013 [9 favorites]


I grew up in Gravesend. Never ever getting hipsterfied.
posted by AJaffe at 2:32 PM on May 12, 2013


Every time I've been a "gentrifier" I've had at least one roommate. With the exception of Crown Heights, where there definitely was a HUGE economic disparity between my roommates and I and our neighbors (due to endemic unemployment more than anything else), I have not felt like I was any more or less wealthy than my neighbors. In many cases, notably when I lived in Clinton Hill, I felt poorer than my neighbors.

Right now I know for sure that I'm less well off financially than most of my immediate neighbors.
posted by Sara C. at 2:44 PM on May 12, 2013


I will also say that, when I lived in Crown Heights just as it was starting to gentrify, there very much was a sense that the white people moving in were "rich".

My apartment got broken into around that time, and one of my checkbooks was stolen. Looking at the amounts of money those checks were made out for was hilarious.
posted by Sara C. at 2:57 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other words, just because you're not "rich" doesn't mean you're not part of gentrification.

That indicates to me that "gentrification" isn't a very useful word to describe a complex phenomenon.

Also, not sure that any one group has an entitlement to a neighborhood because they lived there before one group but after 30 other waves of people who came first.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:03 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's about entitlement, I think it's about the idea that people who have been living there can't afford to live elsewhere, while people moving in can afford to live elsewhere but aren't because they want to be cheap living pioneers to a "new" area. Also I don't think it's about "groups" as much as economics.
posted by sweetkid at 3:10 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


people moving in can afford to live elsewhere but aren't because they want to be cheap living pioneers to a "new" area

I think this is a fallacy. I guess there could be a point at which this becomes possible -- when you're at the point a neighborhood like Cobble Hill or Park Slope is at now, and new people moving in are mostly moving from upper class Manhattan neighborhoods because they'd prefer a bigger apartment, the ability to live on the park, a parking space, a backyard or the like.

But looking at things from the other end, moving to a neighborhood when it first starts to gentrify, the people moving to that neighborhood are moving out of the same economic necessity that causes people already living there to want to live there.

Of course, then the landlords start preferring to rent to the middle class kids (fewer people per apartment, rent comes on time, no more section 8, etc). And the rents go up. And the buildings get sold, because suddenly real estate prices are through the roof. And the developers come, and it sets of a chain of events that leads to the eventual arrival of people who could afford to live elsewhere.

I took an entire college course on the gentrification phenomenon (taught by this guy), and even now, after that and a decade or more of lived experience with it, I still think it's way more complicated than anyone understands.

I'm also still not sure what downwardly mobile children of the middle class are supposed to do for housing, if living in ethnic neighborhoods is not politically correct.
posted by Sara C. at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brooklyn isn't tearing down its housing projects nor is anyone with a college degree moving into them, so there will be at least some ungentrified blocks indefinitely.

Bay Ridge is the reductio ad absurdum of gentrification. I live in Scarsdale and can get to midtown faster and easier than someone in Bay Ridge.
posted by MattD at 3:21 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked to think of Bay Ridge as Brooklyn's pocket dimension,
posted by The Whelk at 3:25 PM on May 12, 2013


I live in Scarsdale and can get to midtown faster and easier than someone in Bay Ridge.

Most of the people who start these waves don't work in midtown, or don't have mainstream 9-to-5 jobs. Or the people who do are willing to put up with longer commutes for some other quality of life upgrade. Not to mention, how can you live in Scarsdale without a car?

Of course, after a while, you do get gentrification on the level where people who work in the corporate world start wanting to move there. I'm curious to see whether that will happen in Bay Ridge, and what it will look like.

What it looked like in Clinton Hill (which has shit subway access) was people taking towncars to work. I'd leave my building every morning for the G train to our stages in Greenpoint*, and there'd be a line of towncars waiting for all the attorneys and finance folks who were saving enough money on rent that commuting that way was worth doing.

*It still rankles that in all the time I lived in Clinton Hill I never got a gig at Steiner Studios, which I could see from my fucking house.
posted by Sara C. at 3:32 PM on May 12, 2013



Brooklyn isn't tearing down its housing projects nor is anyone with a college degree moving into them, so there will be at least some ungentrified blocks indefinitely.


I live across from the projects and I can tell you we are gentrifying our side of the street. It's kind of weird.

Bay Ridge is the reductio ad absurdum of gentrification. I live in Scarsdale and can get to midtown faster and easier than someone in Bay Ridge.

Sort of. Midtown isn't as important to get to as it used to be.
posted by sweetkid at 3:33 PM on May 12, 2013


I still wonder if I'm the only person who thinks Connecticut Muffin has to be owned by a real estate developer.

Does Bay Ridge have a Connecticut Muffin yet?
posted by Sara C. at 3:34 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


But looking at things from the other end, moving to a neighborhood when it first starts to gentrify, the people moving to that neighborhood are moving out of the same economic necessity that causes people already living there to want to live there.

At least with Boerum Hill, it was definitely people who could afford apartments in better neighborhoods in the 70s that came to buy these dilapidated brownstones and rehab them and get all gritty with the neighbors for 20 years or so. They could definitely afford to live elsewhere, but they wanted the bigger space and location and enjoyed being pioneers.

I know the economy is different now, but I feel like part of the idea is still that middle class people could live elsewhere. Like, they could live in the place they came from, or suburbs, or some other situation that wouldn't be as optimal or convenient or fun as the "ethnic" neighborhood but wouldn't be actual homelessness.
posted by sweetkid at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the brownstone rehab phenomenon is kind of a whole different thing. I mean, it's a part of gentrification for sure, but it's a drastically different experience than what happens nowadays, where it's Gen X and Millennial downwardly mobile post-college people who can't afford to live anywhere else because they're stuck paying down student loans on a publishing assistant or freelance graphic designer's pay.

elsewhere

I think that's the thing, though. Where the fuck is "elsewhere"? If you work in some kind of media, creative, or information-oriented field, you can't really go back home to the town you came from because those jobs don't exist there. There are no magical cheap neighborhoods that such people "belong" in.

New York kind of has to decide what to do with this generation of underpaid creative/information workers, before the city runs out of neighborhoods to gentrify.
posted by Sara C. at 3:52 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


In tech, many of the good jobs are well south of Midtown, many around Union Square and a nontrivial number in Brooklyn.

Connecticut Muffin is apparently owned by Yemenis, and one recently opened on Nostrand Avenue.

My cousin the working artist recently moved from Greenpoint to Sunset Park, two blocks from Borough Park, and has a decent number of artist friends in the neighborhood as well, so y'all might be overconfident in your beliefs about how impenetrable Gravesend and Bensonhurst are.
posted by akgerber at 3:54 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that's the thing, though. Where the fuck is "elsewhere"? If you work in some kind of media, creative, or information-oriented field, you can't really go back home to the town you came from because those jobs don't exist there. There are no magical cheap neighborhoods that such people "belong" in.


I agree, but I can just see how there can be hostility from people who don't have options for creative careers or no who are living in these neighborhoods. Like, the bottom is so much closer and lower.
posted by sweetkid at 3:56 PM on May 12, 2013


Fucking Conneticut Muffin. At the one at Pritchard Circle, most of those freakin strollers are like, buy a normal stroller and your own espresso machine, it'll be cheaper
posted by angrycat at 3:59 PM on May 12, 2013


The words "Connecticut" and "Muffin" don't even go together properly in my mind. It's like Minnesota Taco or something. I don't know, that might be just me. Then again, I never think about Connecticut Muffin unless Sara C. mentions it.
posted by sweetkid at 4:02 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm originally from Connecticut; the Connecticut Muffin stuff has always been profoundly weird to see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:22 PM on May 12, 2013


Yep. I know a jazzbo bass player who lives in Sunset Park, and I myself live in Gowanus. Sunset Park still affordable, but fading fast. And Gowanus? Give it five years or less till it's overrun with what I will call hipsters -- despite hating that word -- wearing T-shirts and trucker caps with "Gowanus" on them. Hell, I was at a pop-up market and bought a Gowanus postcard from some indie vendor before Christmas last year (And, yes, I know that makes me sound like part of the problem. But Meanhatten was no longer affordable when we had to move.).
posted by old_growler at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2013


I associate Connneticut with ..I dunno gin based drinks and colonial furniture, not baked goods ( " we're trying to reduce.")
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


ironic mutton chops

Oh no. Let's not make mutton chops ironic. I was thinking of starting a Movember counterpoint for those who like facial hair other than mustaches and beards: Mutton Chop March, or Musch.

where cupcakes and organic kale rule

more like kupkakes, amirite?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:40 PM on May 12, 2013


I think the idea is that Connecticut is a fancy place, and that if you go to Connecticut Muffin, you, too, can be fancy. Kinda like the "Hamptons Market" deli I saw today.

They're a small local chain that aims for big-chain style uniform branding, as opposed to many Brooklyn food businesses with multiple locations that brand the different locations differently, knowing that much of the well-off Brooklyn demographic will pay a premium for "distinctive local flavor" and "authenticity".
posted by akgerber at 4:42 PM on May 12, 2013


ironic mutton chops

So then how does a person wear mutton chops UNironically? Is no one allowed to have mutton chops unless they've just teleported from 1901?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:44 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ok let's get to the real point: Why are there so many French people around Brooklyn these days?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:49 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're taking it over, as revenge for the Louisiana Purchase and the French and Indian War. They have bided their time, and this is their moment to act.
posted by akgerber at 4:51 PM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why are there so many French people around Brooklyn these days?

To steal your girlfriend.
posted by crank at 4:54 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can just see how there can be hostility from people who don't have options for creative careers

I get that. Though I have to say that, with the exception of Crown Heights where there's a lot of unemployment among the predominantly black and lower-class residents, I haven't felt this tension from the residents of neighborhoods I've moved to.

It's more something I hear from well-off people who don't even live in the neighborhood in question. Frequently (though I don't want to single you out, sweetkid) well off people who have more control over where they live and don't have to go gentrify Prospect Lefferts Gardens in order to have a home.

My feeling is always, OK, so where do you think I should live?

(Again, not singling you out, and that last emphazied you is a general you, not you, sweetkid. This is a conversation I have had a LOT of times.)
posted by Sara C. at 4:55 PM on May 12, 2013


I think the idea is that Connecticut is a fancy place, and that if you go to Connecticut Muffin, you, too, can be fancy.

Yes, and this is why I am so obsessed with it. (Also I lived across the street from one for a while.)

They always seem to crop up in newly gentrifying neighborhoods, right at the epicenter of where the gentrification is happening. My guess for many years has been that the company is owned by a real estate developer, or possibly the spouse/offspring of one, and that the whole POINT is to open a business in a strategic place that communicates to middle class white people who come to look at apartments, "No, it's OK! White people live here! It's totally safe! Come have a fancy muffin at the fancy muffin store! This is a neighborhood you can be fancy in!"

It's very possible that my developer guess is wrong, but that is absolutely the company's business strategy. It's also a Starbucks clone for neighborhoods that aren't nice enough for a Starbucks.

When your Connecticut Muffin evolves into a Starbucks, gentrification is complete.
posted by Sara C. at 5:00 PM on May 12, 2013


not baked goods ( " we're trying to reduce.")

YES thank you this is why the name is inauthentic to me.

Truefax: tried to play tennis once in Stamford, tennis courts but nowhere to buy tennis balls. Had to go to Greenwich for tennis balls. Connecticut is so weird.
posted by sweetkid at 5:13 PM on May 12, 2013


Why are there so many French people around Brooklyn these days?

To steal your girlfriend.


I think that only happens in the movies.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:20 PM on May 12, 2013


It's more something I hear from well-off people who don't even live in the neighborhood in question. Frequently (though I don't want to single you out, sweetkid) well off people who have more control over where they live and don't have to go gentrify Prospect Lefferts Gardens in order to have a home.

My feeling is always, OK, so where do you think I should live?

(Again, not singling you out, and that last emphazied you is a general you, not you, sweetkid. This is a conversation I have had a LOT of times.)


Yea, no I don't feel at all singled out. And I admit I am speculating about the opinions of people (displaced people from gentrifying neighborhoods) that I don't know anything about, having really only lived in neighborhoods post yuppiefication and having mostly yuppie/hipster/whathaveyou privileged people in my social circles.
posted by sweetkid at 5:20 PM on May 12, 2013


I think the reason a Connecticut Muffin pops up so much quicker than other chains is that it's a local company that better understands the pace and mechanics of Brooklyn gentrification, and can do on-the-ground market research rather than combing through 10-year-old census data back at HQ, especially when other suburban-born chains have institutionally been kinda scared of the urban market and need to partner with Magic Johnson to 'increase the credibility of businesses desiring a part of the pie in what Johnson calls “underserved and ethnically diverse urban communities.”'

Your average chain restaurant demographer would probably go running scared from Fort Greene, whereas you and I mostly see it as a ridiculously expensive neighborhood at this point.

For what it's worth, Connecticut Muffin is apparently owned by the Abdelhadi family. There is one Abdelhadi working at Rapid Realty (and who know's if he's actually related) according to LinkedIn, but there doesn't appear to be any further family connection to the New York real estate machine.
posted by akgerber at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we please also talk about how gentrification is a systematic problem instead of some evil perpetrated by middle-class kids who enjoy the arts and want a place to live?

This article, about Franklin Ave in Crown Heights, is better than all that NYT spew:
http://narrative.ly/the-old-neighborhood/the-ins-and-the-outs/
posted by the_blizz at 5:26 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, here's a crazy thought about how to prevent displacement in a city that's a huge magnet for people from elsewhere due to its unique employment opportunities: allow more housing units to be built! Due to parking requirements, mimimum setback requirements, and other similar elements of the 1961 zoning code designed to make New York City more suburban, (not to mention all manner of historical preservation laws), it's illegal to bulid dense housing like New Law Tenements, even right next to subway stations. Many large new developments in Brooklyn aren't particularly dense— many sizable condo buildings are quite shallow or have very little lot coverage to accomodate legally-mandated off-street parking.
posted by akgerber at 5:30 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


gentrification is a systematic problem instead of some evil perpetrated by middle-class kids who enjoy the arts and want a place to live?

I would consider it more systemic than systematic, but yea I agree. It just seems logical to me though that the people engaged in the day to day would seek to blame each other.
posted by sweetkid at 5:35 PM on May 12, 2013


Why are there so many French people around Brooklyn these days?


Revenge for the buckets of New Yorkers we threw at them in the first half of the 20th century.
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that only happens in the movies.

Eddie Izzard seems to think so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:47 PM on May 12, 2013


Well that certainly encapsulates exactly why I can't stand whats become of Brooklyn.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:40 PM on May 12, 2013


When a man is tired of Brooklyn, he is tired of life, to paraphrase Dr Johnson.
posted by sweetkid at 8:54 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shout out to Clinton Hill!

Now, can we please move the spotlight over to Queens?
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:09 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


When the G train is better or there's some decent way to get the hell out there, sure.
posted by sweetkid at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's all about the E train, also the 7. But that assumes you're leaving from Midtown, so, ugh.

Queens was a great place to live, because it's so easy to get everywhere else from there, and you have to go back at the end of the day because you live there.

When I left Queens, I think I went back like 10 times, ever, not counting the year I spent working 16 hour days in Long Island City. Which sucks because Queens is really great. It's just impossible to get to most of it.
posted by Sara C. at 9:23 PM on May 12, 2013


The reason I ask for the spotlight to move to Queens is because the whole Brooklyn thing has gotten completely out of control.

I've lived in Brooklyn for twenty years, in Clinton Hill for the last 8 (on Biggie's block, no less). A couple of years ago, the NYT had a feature article about the 24 hour laundromat around the corner.

It's my home, it's not your lifestyle brand dammit.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:30 AM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Brooklyn. Like, love it. As I do Manhattan (don't know about the other three boroughs, but they're part of the package, so I guess I love them to).

Did I love the NYC of the early nineties, where, when I went home late to the LES after classes, saw little kids selling dope or crack? Where the crack vial tops littered the ground like -- I dunno, marbles, or something?

No. That shit is not so great. But it was easier to find a place to live.

The homeless pop of NYC was put at 50K recently. If I still lived there, hell, I'd be a part of it, as because my health is fubar I need an elevator and have lousy credit.

Philly reminds me of NYC of the early nineties. That is not a ringing endorsement, at all. If I had a kid, I would rather live in NYC. Hell, I would rather live in NYC, period. But I really don't like the trendline of NYC becoming the playground of the rich, the young, and those on the struggling margins.
posted by angrycat at 4:53 AM on May 13, 2013


It's my home, it's not your lifestyle brand dammit.

I totally just stole that and posted it in the comments for that article.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:54 AM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


My feeling is always, OK, so where do you think I should live?

I think there's two things going on here:

One, if you're a blue-collar (of any race or ethnicity, really) family - even if you're middle-class - you probably have very little conception of how little freelance graphic designers and editorial assistants make. Like, if you're African-American and you own a dry cleaners or if you're a cop or something, you're probably quite a bit better off than your white freelance-graphic-designer neighbor with three roommates, but your neighbor's job sounds fancy and they wear trendy clothes and it seems to you like they belong in Park Slope or Manhattan, so why don't they just live there? You don't know that they're paying off student loans and they made like 30k last year with no health insurance. You just see the facade.

The second thing is, in upwardly-mobile ethnic/immigrant communities, the suburbs are still seen as a desirable place to be. So, why doesn't your white neighbor just live on Long Island, where they came from? In your mind, Long Island is better than Clinton Hill.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:51 AM on May 13, 2013


I'm also still not sure what downwardly mobile children of the middle class are supposed to do for housing, if living in ethnic neighborhoods is not politically correct.

Well, they could live among poor white people.
posted by yonega at 3:50 PM on May 13, 2013


Some of the gentrifying/gentrified neighborhoods are traditionally "white" ethnic neighborhoods - Greenpoint (Polish), Carroll Gardens (Italian).
posted by sweetkid at 3:56 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


And "white ethnic" neighborhoods that gentrify have all the same social tensions that other neighborhoods do.
posted by Sara C. at 4:08 PM on May 13, 2013


Sara C., do you really think that's true? What evidence do you have? Do you really think that those of Italian and Norwegian descent living in Bay Ridge resent the more highly educated younger people who are moving in in the *exact* same way that African-Americans might resent those same young white people moving into Bed-Stuy?

I'm sure there is resentment (STEREOTYPE ALERT: "Hey, Kingsborough Community College (or SUNY Something) is good enough for MY kid, what's this Oberlin crap -- your parents paid $160K for WHAT?" "My son's an apprentice in my stonemasonry business, he makes three times what you losers make")

but I'm not sure there are all the same social tensions when race is not a factor.

(I was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay in the 1950's; "helped" gentrify Alphabet City in the 90's; (and a lot in between))
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:33 PM on May 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went to Hunter with Polish kids from Greenpoint. We talked about it a lot.
posted by Sara C. at 4:35 PM on May 13, 2013


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