Rest in peace, Effed in Park Slope

A classic FIPS post from ye olden days.
A classic FIPS post from ye olden days.

Today an era of Brooklyn blogging came to an end: Fucked in Park Slope, which brought a poison-tongued vitriol to the borough just when it needed it most, is closing up shop. FIPS shined because it was antidote to the pall of yuppiesm that was creeping over the neighborhood. Think back to seven years ago when it first launched (nine decades in blog years): The Atlantic Yards project was still in dispute as Freddy’s dug in its heels to be the last bar evicted from the site that years later would become the Barclays Center; Union Hall was just two years old; you could still go to Southpaw for The Rub dance parties and Googamooga sounded like nonsense words uttered by someone who had just spent too long at O’Connors, squinting to watch the Mets through grainy, antennae-tuned TVs. Brooklyn was still a brand, though a simpler one.

And our stereotypes were neater back then: Williamsburg was hipster Disney World, Crown Heights was a little dicey, Cobble Hill would offer up bits of old-world Italian Brooklyn, and Park Slope was the den of progressive parenthood, where the hottest topic was which bars would accommodate those double-wide strollers while parents drank away the troubles of their coop shift. Amy Sohn was the closest we had to Lena Dunham. Now all the neighborhood stereotypes tend to run together like Frappuccino vomit onto condo windows. What do we lose now that that era is over?

FIPS brought a necessary skepticism to counterbalance the over-preciousness, micro-soiled, cobblesmoked attitudes that were taking over the hood (spoiler: they lost that fight). The flood of sometimes savage commenters showed the blog wasn’t alone in its snark. Even the crass name was a challenge to decorum: it dared you to talk about in polite company or in front of children (though a few years in, founder Erica Reitman modified the name to “Effed in Park Slope,” a change that came about from frustrations after landing neighborhood scoops, only to have outlets like the New York Times be too delicate to give credit back to the source).

Remember the great Gorilla Coffee wars of 2010? Erica wrote then:

Did Gorilla operate a sweatshop in the basement and exploit little Park Slope children, paying them well below international minimum wage? Did the the owner threaten to remove the leather-bound copy of the Communist Manifesto from the window display?

This was in a way the underbelly of Park Slope life (and by extension, all of yupster Brooklyn) as it grew into a machine. The Ballers vs. Breeders battles fought for the soul of the nabe, and FIPS became ground zero for the babies in bars debate, where tensions ran high:

If I’m in a bar and you’re sitting off in the corner with your baby who is quiet and well behaved, I wouldn’t even notice you. However, if you are sitting there with your double decker, penthouse bugaboo stroller and a screaming kid (and or one who is running around, yelling, and spilling my water all over my fucking lap, true story), then I’m going to get pissed.

FIPS’ content has fizzled a bit in recent years as its talent went elsewhere, but also probably because the neighborhood’s charms — both real and in the tolerability breach — have drifted away too. O’Connors, that old-maniest of old-man dives (which I wrote about for FIPS), cocooned for a long time, emerging last year as a generic sports bar that looks like a projectile turd flung from Murray Hill. Gorilla Coffee survived its staff insurrection and opened a second location specializing in excruciatingly slow pour-over coffee last year; Cheeburger Cheeburger came and went, Patrick Stewart came into the Slope, Bill de Blasio left. Our favorite dive bar, Jackie’s Fifth Amendment, closed and Old Carriage Inn reopened but may be on the ropes. Pioneering anti-laptop squatter warriors S’nice is s’no more. Barclays opened and now a walk down Fifth Avenue after a Nets game feels like wading through the effluent of Times Square, flat-brim-hatted bros stopping us in the street to ask “yo where are the fucking BARS around here??”

Hipster Wolverine, the star of the BK Meat up, cohosted by Brokelyn, FIPS and Brooklyn Based.
Hipster Wolverine, the star of the BK Meat up, cohosted by Brokelyn, FIPS and Brooklyn Based.

This isn’t a lament for Old Things, because if I ever become a person who writes laments that my Brooklyn is gone, you can cover me in cement and install me into a pillar of the inevitable 10-story Hard Rock Cafe/Starbucks/FroYo fortress that will open on Flatbush Ave. Change happens and we’re all a part of it but it’s not always for the bad: Great Lakes and its great jukebox are long gone, but at least there’s a new Two Boots Pizza in its old spot. The Slope still beats the suburbs anyday.

Pardon us for using another blog’s shiny headstone to check our own wrinkles, but we were friends with FIPS back in the day (co-hosting both the first BK Meat Up and the first No Office Holiday Party, along with Brooklyn Based and the skint), so their exit reminds us of the early days of that late aughts blogosphere. And what fun those days were when we started in 2009, trying to carve out some internet real estate for ourselves when it seemed like a new blog popped up every week. This reporter’s very first assignment for this blog sent me to the Gowanus-side BKLYNYard (RIP) to talk to folks at the Score! Swap meet (RIP). You’d tell people you’re from a blog then and they’d roll their eyes, because the idea sounded so insubstantial.

This was before “thinkpiece” was a pejorative term, before Brooklyn had an eponymous magazine that wedged its unskeptical head firmly up the borough’s twee ass, before Buzzfeed and sharebait, before the Times rushed to label everything either the “new Williamsburg” or measured developments in inches related to Lena Dunham, as if the borough and its rich history failed to register on cultural radar before millennials came along.

Out of that class, a few blogs survived, and we’re all competitors, but we’re better for the struggle: count among them Greenpointers, the skint, Brownstoner, Brooklyn Based, Bushwick Daily, all following Brooklyn blogging grandpappy FreeWilliamsburg. It feels like the tide of blogging has subsided since: there ain’t much money in this game, and no one is rushing out to start the millionth food blog covering local small-plate craft-smuggled whosits now (what are even the food trends in Park Slope these days? FroYo? Swedish espresso? All things Talde?).

Perhaps it’s symbolic though that the blog is folding on the heels of the Tea Lounge, that most Park Slope of places, filled with lactating mothers, Apple-tapping freelancers and sencha-sipping acoustic music nights, also calling it quits. So we’ll leave you with Erica’s words of advice of how to survive Tea Lounge for non-breeders which we think is advice that can help you navigate the parts of the borough that you sometimes find annoying, but still mostly secretly love. After all, even venerable rock n roll dive Trash Bar is going “mom-friendly.”

 I don’t care what time it is, order yourself up a cocktail. Nothing else says “fuck off” to a parent quite as effectively as a hipster with their macbook drinking a beer at 10:30am.

RIP, you fuckers.

Follow Tim for more Old Man Brokelyn nostalgia: @timdonnelly.


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