This column in the New York Times does what the Times occasionally does, which is state the obvious. All of New York is expensive, and Williamsburg is desirable despite everybody else who thinks that Williamsburg is desirable.
It's a scabby, bristling piece about hipsters and how rent is high, as if the author deserves something better. It's smug, obnoxious, and filled with lazy, predictable descriptions of the recent local residents - trust fund babies in stylishly dissheveled clothing, of course, who are not making livings as writers with their vintage typewriters.
I can't be the only person who's bored by demographic speculation about so-called hipsters, can I? Somebody reassure me that this is getting boring.
She even somehow manages to include the men she's dated as indication of the neighborhood's banality, rather than evidence of her own poor taste. Foolish.
I can drop snark with the best of them, but enough is enough! The author of this piece, Abigail A. Frankfurt, does what everybody else does - move from lower Manhattan to Williamsburg, derisively dismiss the idea of living in the other boroughs, and fervently wish that everybody else who's really just like her hadn't ruined the neighborhood.
I'm not defending Williamsburg, gentrification, or the bizarre social dynamics that are established when a targeted influx of monocultural young transplants turns neighborhoods in a vibrant city into college towns for the just-out-of-college crowd. I'm defending writing that doesn't use tired stereotypes and a holier-than-thou tone to describe life in this city. And I defy the uncritical notion that somehow all this is different and worse than how it used to be. As the joke goes, a hipster is just somebody who moved to the neighborhood (or started liking that band, or wearing those clothes, or riding a track bike, or...) just after you did.
She even manages contempt when talking about which books she's leaving and which she is taking with her when she leaves the city - once again, as if she's above keeping those titles. She's matured beyond them.
The tragedy of people who are certain that they have matured above and beyond things is that they can't help but furnish evidence to the contrary when they talk about how much better they are. How past that they are, said with an indifferent flip of the hair and a roll of the eye..
Quite frankly I can't believe that the Times even published this.
Until I write something better, though, feel free to take what I've written here with the grain of salt that should come with being a critic of do-ers. To insist otherwise would be to repeat Frankfurt's failures.
Labels: new york city