A Times editor ponders the best cultural reference to insert into a story about Brooklyn

In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge opened, in 1898 Brooklyn was incorporated into New York City, in 2012 the Nets came to Brooklyn and in April of that year borough’s first artisanal mayonnaise store finally opened. But none of those matter because the real marker of a new era of Brooklyn came two years ago when HBO dropped Girls into the world. At least that’s according to the New York Times, who have found the need to use the show as the defining cultural benchmark of modern Brooklyn, in stories about abusive landlords, political intrigue, bar reviews and last week’s story on middle class newcomers being priced out of Brooklyn. Despite the fact that Girls has only existed for 29 months, the show has popped up in 15 articles the Times has written about Brooklyn, proving that you can’t spell Brooklyn without G-I-R-L-S.

THE CROWD Decisively North Brooklyn, but less monochromatic than the cast of HBO’s “Girls.”

– Tender Trap review, May 2, 2012


The dazzling hotel and night life complex, a staple of the Manhattan circuit, has finally washed up on Brooklyn’s hype-friendly shores, bringing with it the kind of crowds eager to finally explore the Next Big Thing. And what are they finding across the river? Communal tables, artisanal beer, saltwater pools and a cast of characters right out of the HBO series “Girls.”

– All Roads Lead to Wythe AvenueJuly 18, 2012


Greenpoint, a low-rise neighborhood in a high-rise market, is having a moment of on-everyone’s-radar flux. Not for nothing did Lena Dunham, creator of the much blogged-and-blabbed-about HBO series “Girls,” headquarter her slacker/strivers in a tacky but affordable walk-up here

– In Brooklyn, Greenpoint Ready To Follow In Williamsburg’s Footsteps, July 20, 2012


To the extent “Brooklyn” now designates more than a mere landmass, it means: small-batch production, urban husbandry, period facial hair, a fixed-gear bicycle, “Girls.”

– Brooklyn, The Brand (T Magazine), March 24, 2013


I wanted to see what the demographic behind nanobatched chervil and the continually cited show “Girls” could teach me about life and craft cocktails.

– How I Became A Hipster, May 1, 2013


On a recent Sunday — the busiest day for Green Village, which is closed on Saturdays for the Sabbath — the actor Alex Karpovsky, better known as Ray on the HBO show “Girls,” was mulling over some mugs

– At Green Village in Bushwick, Goods Both Mundane and Strange, June 6, 2013


It was only a matter of time, after Bushwick was given a featured role in the HBO show “Girls,” that the young creative types who established this gritty Brooklyn neighborhood as an artists’ enclave began to be priced out.

– Costly Rents Push Brooklynites to Queens, August 16, 2013


That name doesn’t get much traction anymore, now that Bushwick has achieved its own cachet, with an assist from the HBO series “Girls.”

– The Williamsburg Divide, September 25, 2013


Today, Ping-Pong can be found at art galleries, trendy hotels and private clubs. It even makes a nudity-filled cameo on HBO’s “Girls,” the closest thing to being declared the official sport of disaffected young adults.

– New to the Brooklyn Scene, The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, January 22, 2014


Mr. Calero and Ms. Corea, immigrants from Nicaragua, moved into their two-bedroom apartment in the early 1990s, when the neighborhood was plagued by poverty and drugs and was far from the enclave of artists, students and now young professionals that makes recurrent appearances in shows like HBO’s “Girls.”

– Tenants Living Amid Rubble in Rent-Regulated Apartment War, February 24, 2014


Nowadays, Brooklyn is represented on television by “Girls,” in which it figures as a playground for the ambitious but not quite disciplined, broke but not really poor, mostly white, college-educated young

– Tracing Urban Change from ‘Kotter’ to ‘Girls’, March 28, 2014


(Even HBO has jumped on the bandwagon, setting “Looking” — the gay man’s answer to “Girls” — partly in Oakland.)

– Oakland: Brooklyn by the Bay, May 2, 2014


But forget about Lyons’s real employees for a second: what would Hannah Horvath think of a J.Crew moving into Williamsburg? (Lyons famously played Lena Dunham’s character’s boss at GQ on the most recent season of “Girls.”)

– A J. Crew Grows in Brooklyn (T Magazine), July 21, 2014


There is also the risk that Brooklyn could come across to a national audience as a progressive parody, more closely associated with the fictional world of the HBO series “Girls” than with the realities of everyday Americans.

– Clinton’s Support de Blasio’s Push to Bring Democratic Convention to Brooklyn, August 8, 2014


Yet Brooklyn was still emerging from its postwar slump, and the borough felt new to many, including the young couple. It was five years before the first episode of “Girls” aired on HBO.

– Life After Brooklyn, August 22, 2014

Follow Dave for Brooklyn references without Girls at @DaveCoIon

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