Guys, Williamsburg hipsters are moving to the NY suburbs and the NYT is on it

Snipped from a New York Times piece that reads like an episode of Portlandia (or, like a parody of the Times):
With an increase both in density and in the atmosphere of busy professionalism, Brooklyn no longer feels as carefree as it did, said Ari Wallach, a futurism consultant, who recently cut short a Brooklyn real estate search.

“There is more looking down, less eye contact,” said Mr. Wallach, 38. “The difference is between the first three days of Burning Man, when everyone is ‘Hey, what’s up?’ to the final three days of Burning Man, when the tent flaps are down. Brooklyn is turning out to be the last three days of Burning Man.”


    1. I can really see it!  First paragraph:
      In my younger and more vulnerable years, Daniel Pinchbeck gave me some advice I’ve been mulling over since.

      “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the number of ayahuasca ceremonies that you’ve had.”

      I guess it could be about the rise and fall of an artisanal Jell-O entrepreneur or something.

    1. I wonder what a futurist consultant is supposed to do: sit in corporate meetings doing strange random noise? Redesign every office to follow strict cubism? Promote senseless war between middle-management of different departments?

    1. Acupuncturists make plenty good money — they can gross $200,000 a year if they keep a full appointment book. The “street-art” guy sounds like he sells his stuff in galleries.

      1. But doing both things are inherently a privileged position that most folks can’t afford no matter what they do.

          1. I’m not too sure where you are coming from with that. You’re implying it’s a luxury to find a few minutes to post a comment on a blog posting? How is that equivalent to owning a nearly $1 million dollar home in an NYC suburb with careers that rarely pay well? Kudos to anyone who can create a life with such skills, but seriously.

          2. I suspect you and I define ‘most folks’ differently. Out of the people like us who have the time, skills, access to technology and inclination to comment on what some bunch of people in Williamsburg are doing (which implies we’ve had time to read a whole other bunch of stuff already), no, we’re probably not especially privileged. I mean, I’m a casual worker in a lean period, I only have half my rent money, and it’s due on Thursday: shit! (etc). Saying we’re privileged isn’t the same as saying we’re the most privileged. But we’re still lucky, imho.

          3. Good lord. I grew up in a tenement in NYC in the 1970s & 1980s. I hardly had it good. I know what privilege is. But the folks here who are equating poverty in India & then dismissing anyone commenting on a blog in the context of people doing acupuncture & street art being able to afford a $860,000 home is disconnected.  

  1. “Futurism consultant”? In the words of Dilbert “I admire your ability to get paid for this”.

    1. I would love to see these people move to Provo Utah (possibly the most sickeningly suburbia place possible) and the absolute hell the Eagle Forum would raise.

    1. If you actually live in Dalston I assume that you at least prefer having a few hipsters as neighbors than the folks who would have left that graffiti.

      Place was a shit-hole before they arrived.

      1. I see it more as a meta thing. Hipsters hating on hipsters.
        When I waited for my bus that day I recognized how all those that I would identify as hipsters actually loved the thing.
        Suffice to say nobody self identifies as a hipster anyway.

        1. Suffice to say nobody self identifies as a hipster anyway.

          I’ve noticed this.  “I hate hipsters!” says the weed-smoking, peyote-chewing, Man-Burning, gauged-eared, craft-beer swilling dude on a fixy.

  2. I’m not sure that after a time a style of facial hair remains an ironic feature. Don’t new words still make it into the dictionary? When does it ever naturalize? 

  3. “He conducted a Google Maps street-view search of Westchester, and settled on Hastings for his family when he saw Subarus parked on the streets, not Lexus SUVs.”

    I don’t even.

        1. I have a Forester. It’s basically a station wagon that’s hiked up enough to make it easy for people with bad hips to get in and out. Also, more driver leg room than anything else SUVish until you get up into Mercedes pricing.

        2. I’m a Subaru fanboy (I think an Outback with winter tires is pretty much the ultimate car to drive on snow and ice), but I do have to wonder why so many people that live in areas that don’t have to deal with an extended severe winter own them. It doesn’t have great gas mileage and it is fairly expensive. The only thing that it really does exceptionally well is traction. This is important to me since I can’t even count how many officially classified blizzards I’ve driven through with my Outback, but why is it important for the other 75% of the country where severe snow and ice rarely occurs?

          1. We got one in Seattle because despite the crappy mileage, it’s the cheapest best car for the combination of needs one has, as opposed to a full-on SUV, which is more dangerous and much more expensive relative to utility, and often has less versatility and storage.

            It’s got a lot of nice little features that make me feel like I’m driving a more expensive car without the guilt of actually have bought a more expensive car. We’re in year 8 with ours, and I think we might get 20 years out of it easily.

        3. My mother (now in her 80s) loooooves Subarus.  She lives on a hellishly high hill and feels safe in them.  When she came by our house years back with her then newest one, my daughter commented, “Gram, I didn’t KNOW you were a lesbian!”  Puzzled my mother no end.

          1. A past co-worker told me that her father-in-law had just bought a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Everyone in the office was all, “Your father-in-law is a 19 year-old girl?”

      1.  Or, where they used to live, when the google bots crawled that neighbourhood. I wouldn’t look to street view to get up to date info on an area.

  4. The NYT should definitely continue the use of Burning Man metaphors to help the mainstream public understand obscure subjects such as Brooklyn.

  5. Proof once again that hipsters are a virus. Once they devour a culture they move on to new territories. Did anybody else see that little kid with an AC/DC t-shirt! Do they hold nothing sacred? Dear God, please don’t let them eat gluten free red velvet cupcakes while visiting a shop that purveys monofloral honey produced by nomadic beekeepers in Sicily while listening to AC/DC on their iPods!

  6. The fact that this knob was apparently shunned for the last half of Burning Man speaks volumes. Those tent flaps aren’t down for everyone, dude.

  7. No self-respecting hipster would admit to attending Burning Man.  At least not after 1998.  Too much body paint.  Not enough irony.  Charlatan!  Mountebank!

  8. I could have sworn that they already did this article, although it may have been New York magazine or Gothamist or one of those other NYC-oriented news outlets. Or maybe the NYT just can’t remember or keep track of their own trendmongering any more. (They seem to rediscover every decade or so that many librarians no longer wear unfashionable glasses or their hair in a bun.) At any rate, I think that they blasted straight through self-parody a while back without even slowing down.

    1. There was, I can’t remember exactly where either.  It was all about young rich folks choosing to live up in Westchester where they had art studios and owned coffee shops. The article came right after I had looked into moving into upper Westchester and had been shocked at how many pretend-art-studio-lofts-that-are-just-apartments-in-the-midst-of-gentrification set ups there were.

    2. They “already did this article” a hundred times. As at many newspapers, the Times’ arts, lifestyle and real-estate coverage are incestual and mutually reinforcing. Cf. 1978’s movie “An Unmarried Woman,” in which divorcee Jill Clayburgh finds love in artist Alan Bates’ white and airy SoHo loft… followed closely by many Times spreads on the loft life and how to decorate it. I was a DUMBO resident and loft tenant organizer 1976-1991 — and was often assured that Williamsburg, Fort Greene etc could never attract hipsters, let alone hipster gentry.

      Hastings-on-Hudson is well within the Times real-estate advertising market. That’s all you need to know.

      1. Yeah I picked up on that when the real estate agents described a “mass exodus from Brooklyn.” Aside from that, this article is great. My favorite part:

        “Marco Arment said he no longer needs to run off to the country every three-day weekend. ‘I have that balance already,’ said Mr. Arment, 30. ‘From my window, I can see the George Washington Bridge, but there’s a deer in my front yard.'”

        Reads like an Onion article. Surreal. Hilarious.

        1. ‘From my window, I can see the George Washington Bridge, but there’s a deer in my front yard.’

          I am Tyler’s complete lack of surprise.

    1. Ha! I grew up in Hastings, and I sure don’t recognize it from that description either.

      Though, to be fair, I haven’t been there since the 80s.

      But then, I lived in Williamsburg soon after leaving Hastings (early 90s), and I don’t recognize it now either.

    2. Marco’s perspective really grounds the article which genuinely oversells the concept of what is simply people deciding to move to the suburbs. But honestly, a small town with a main street that is close enough to NYC to commute yet far enough away to be an escape is really attractive. Some of these places have *gasp* great pre-war buildings with true space to live in. Yeah, “nightlife” would suck, but who cares. Anyone planning a move like this has already established themselves in some way in NYC professionally so it’s no biggie.

      Which is all to say I would consider it. But doing my own Google street map tour of Hasting’s own main drag—Warburton Avenue—some token signs of “hipster” life exist, but it still seems like the same type of main street with little life & little to do. Heck, I mean look at this street view of “Moviehouse Mews” which was a movie theater at one point but is basically a small town antique mall now. The only “hipster” I see is some old guy with walker. Maybe he had some “hip” work done?

  9. “Brooklyn, once the affordable alternative to Manhattan, has since been re-branded as an international style capital.”

    Sorry…what? You mean the hipster douches crowding every city from London to Vancouver look to Brooklyn for inspiration? I don’t think so. Sadly, the main culprit and ground zero for the “movement” is London, as per usual:

  10. The hipster apocalypse is upon us. What I love most about hipsters though is that everyone pokes fun of them but I am yet to meet hipsters who actually admit to being hipsters. 

  11. The guy keying off of Subarus to spot hipsters knew what he was doing. Portland(ia) is full of Subarus. The other half of the cars are Priuses, like mine. 

    So antlers are a hipster thing? I’ve been puzzled by the number I see in stores here but thought it might be a Pacific NW aberration.

  12. What’s with the hipster hate and hipster mockery? Just because everyone else is doing it? Because, well, a lot of the people posting here look and sound like hipsters. Sure, hipster-nerds, but hipsters.

    Anyway, yeah, there are a lot of trustafarians in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, but there are also a lot of people earning “regular” livings for the NYC area, and many others just scraping by. Now they’re getting bitten in the ass by the gentrification they, or others like them, started.

    It’s an old story. Boho types move in, make a place cool, then boho-hangers-on move in, and it gets safer, word gets out, more bourgie folks move in…. All the while the real estate is getting more and more pricy, and the original inhabitants, invariably an ethnic minority or just the elderly, find themselves forced out.  Eventually prices rise high enough that the area goes mainstream.

    For ex: Greenwich Village, The Haight. And other cities across the US have similar examples.

    1. I’d characterise this entire blog as quite Hipster – and it all ties back into the ‘hipsters that don’t admit they’re hipsters’ thing.

      It’s because what many people haven’t worked out yet is that ‘hipster’ is really just a modern synonym for ‘young and on-trend’, except used incorrectly as in insult for an extreme stereotype – it’s not widely excepted, like many modern sub-cultures, by name (how many chavs refer to themselves as chavs?). The term is also used very flippantly – a Hipster could be anything from an ironic trust-fund kid to an artisan bike-seat stitcher who makes his living tending a bar (whilst wearing a full beard). I’d even describe Cory as a Hipster. Last he mentioned he even lives in a Hipster part of town.

      It’s really no different to people a few decades back pointing and laughing at Beatniks or Mods or Hippies – except that lines are getting a lot blurrier in the youth culture world and we likely only label the extremities.

      So sure, we don’t all have handle-bar moustaches and wear Christmas jumpers in June – but then there probably aren’t many people that do that anyway – like there weren’t many hippies in the 70’s that wore head-to-toe tie-die and flowers round their neck. Sure the hipster extremes exist, but they’re not the only people buying fixed-gear bikes and leather satchels.

      On the most part the comments surrounding ours just remind me that I’m likely at least 10 years younger than a lot of people around here. Of all the subcultures that could inhabit my town I can’t think of a more harmless one to be honest. It’s like getting annoyed about Hare Krishnas – except ones that open interesting shops and comfy looking eateries.

      Incidentally I’m not cool enough to be a hipster – but even if I was I probably wouldn’t know it.

        1. Sure, that’s an issue worth tackling – we’ve done a lot to minimise such effects in the UK through social housing projects and ensuring that there aren’t ‘poor areas’ to begin with.

          Is your solution ridicule and foot stomping?

      1. “we don’t all have handle-bar moustaches and wear Christmas jumpers in June – but then there probably aren’t many people that do that anyway ”

        Clearly, you do not live in Portland.

      2. I always wonder where the “trust fund kid” stereotype of hipsters comes from. I lived in Williamsburg for 5 years in its hipster dawn (early to mid 90s) and then San Francisco for the last 15 years, always in super ground zero Hipster dwellings (i.e. warehouses), and I’ve met someone with a trust fund exactly once. And everyone else has been pretty much always broke, unless they were good with computers. I guess its just a way to heap more distain onto “hipsters”?

        1. Warehouses are super ground zero hipster dwellings? I lived in gay, anti-Imperialist collectives in the Mission! And of the people whom I’ve known who had trust funds, they were pretty much the opposite of hipsters.

  13. ‘He needed more convincing. “Nicole brought me up here kicking and screaming,” Mr. McNeil recalled. But he was won over once he saw a rambling three-story, five-bedroom Victorian with a wraparound porch for $860,000. There was even space for a basement rec room. And it was only a 40-minute drive to his Brooklyn studio.’

    An artist and acupuncturist can afford this?  And the guy is going to drive to the city, wasting gas and etc?

  14. I really don’t get the hipster hate.  Just don’t get it.  Who gives a crap what people do as long as they don’t hurt other people?

    And people on a particular income can end up in expensive houses if they managed to be catapulted by the real estate boom – which tripled the value of our crappy little condo in a few years, allowing us to buy a decent house in a cheaper market.  Pure unadulterated luck, but I’ll take it and many others have also.

    But all the hipster hate – what’s the point?  People are into stuff, they must be posers!  Boo hiss don’t do anything unique or you are only seeking status.  It’s just boring.

    1.  Because in NYC, most brooklyn Hipsters are irritating 20-30 somethings who moved here from the midwest. Now they say they are from Brooklyn, are loudly opinionated on all things New York, insisting they are better informed than ACTUAL native New Yorkers, instagram picks of their homemade sauerkraut etc etc etc etc…… Basically they are irritating, self-satisfied ignorant supposed know-it-alls… and since rounding them up and putting them in camps might prove difficult, it’s nice to see that they just might be removing themselves.

      1. Sure, because if you aren’t born somewhere you never really belong and can only degrade what was initially perfection before all the posers came along.

        1.  OOOO, I hit a nerve didn’t I ? If people want to make artisinal Saur Kraut out of locally grown cabbage, go for it! Just don’t be so smug when you talk about it, and don’t smugly talk about being a New Yorker when really you moved here 2 years ago.

    2.  The hate is because the people hating are also hipsters and desperate not to recognize that fact.  Just another incident of cognitive dissonance.

  15. I grew up in Hastings during the 70s and 80s. I forwarded the article to my father, who moved there in the 60s to raise my brother I, and this is what he had to say:

    “The article appeared in today’s Times, and although we were not hippies [sic] by any definition, still we moved to Hastings for the reasons mentioned, including children and schools.  At the time it wasn’t as cute as it is now; in fact the downtown was run down, the VFW was active in their own building there and lots of elderly veterans on the benches, and the waterfront was derelict.  Still there was Hillside park, second rate but improving schools, and a house with a fireplace.  Which I miss.  But we also missed the city and came in often – baby sitters were only 50 cents an hour then.

    And I was working lots of hours.

    A different era with similar intent.”

    Interesting that he read “hipsters” as “hippies”, I guess they were the big bugaboo of the era. I wonder if hippies were always complaining about hippies too.


    This VICE mini doco set in Williamsburg could have come straight from Portlandia. Amazing

Comments are closed.