Look, even us here in the sticky, stale-beer-smelling heart of the Brooklyn blogosphere have grown weary of reading story after trend piece after think piece dissecting this whole “Brooklyn” thing, so we can only imagine how sick of it the rest of the city, country and world must be (Field and Stream is probably planning its own centerpiece story at this moment). But the latest one that everyone is talking about, New York Magazine‘s cover story by Mark Jacobson this week comparing “new” and “old” Brooklyn, is worth a full read, in that it neither condemns gentrification nor consigns Brooklyn to a future entirely constructed of beard trimmings and artisanal mayonnaise.
Jacobson, a Brooklyn native and the father of two self-identified hipster gentrifier daughters, looks at what the Nets arena means for the changing borough, among all its other new elements. He reaches a conclusion that it’s perfectly OK for young people to make Brooklyn their playground, because it’s better than living in Miami on the “Jell-o shot diet.” Read his succinct defense of the youngs:
Jacobson writes, after a run in with a Coney Island freak named Adam, who decried that the new Brooklyn was “horrible!”because of “Hipsters, fucking hipsters!”:
Didn’t like to disagree with Adam, whom I love. But these were my kids we were talking about, them and their friends. They weren’t the ones building high-rises in Williamsburg, the big arenas. They were just looking for a place to be young. Who knew why perfectly normal-seeming people get tattoos, drink so weirdly much, make fetishes out of various food groups like cupcakes, and adopt the diffident poses of actors in Wes Anderson movies? Youth occurs in a time of its own, immune to criticism from those claiming to have had better youths. As idiotic and privileged as it might seem on the surface, growing up remains no easy thing. Every passage to adulthood is a hero’s journey, to be respected, in its own way.
So it was a good thing these people lived here now, sold their overpriced sodas at Smorgasburg, downloaded from Pitchfork. What else were they supposed to do? Work on the docks, like some Arthur Rimbaud figure? Fly off into space? Brooklyn, of ample context, was a good place to spend a youth, better than South Beach, on the Jell-O-shot diet. Besides, most of them would soon be gone, back to wherever they came from. The ones who stay would be subsumed into the giant swirl of time and place that is the true Brooklyn Brand.
So if you’re one of the ones who stays around for awhile instead of fleeing back to the Midwest (a smaller group than you might think, actually), you earn some cred, at least in his eyes. For the record, we would totally take a job in space, if only they were freaking hiring. Until then, we toil on through this Brooklyn youth. And somewhere in their deep underground volcanic dungeon, the curmudgeons at DieHipster are frothing at the mouth with rage.