I’m pretty in love my with New York Magazine subscription. I mean, who doesn’t adore their high brow/low brow Approval Matrix? And while I’m feeling a little sick to freakin’ death of Brooklyn being slapped on everything, I was nonetheless intrigued by Mark Jacobson’s front cover piece:
In a way it feels like five articles in one with Jacobson waxing poetic about everything from borough president Marty Markowitz being easy to impersonate to his own grandmother’s love of sweets, but stick with him. It’s definitely a worthwhile read about this ever changing borough.
One of my favorite parts of the whole article is when his (white) daughter, who has recently moved to “historically black” Bed Stuy (after a childhood spent in predominantly white Park Slope) tells him it’s a place where “people like me live these days.”
“But what kind of person was that?” he asks.
“You know. A hipster. A Brooklyn hipster,” she replied with the firm matter-of-factness of someone who had at long last accepted a self-evident truth. “I wear tight jeans. I like indie bands. I enjoy locally sourced produce. I have a degree that may turn out to be useless. I live in Brooklyn. What else am I supposed to call myself?”
It was a stunning admission, this utterance of the H-word… I’d rarely heard anyone voluntarily describe themselves as such, certainly not my own daughter.
He goes on to hang out with one of his old school buddies, Adam, who’s been working on the Coney Island boardwalk long before it became retro-hip. Adam goes off about how terrible the place is now 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.
The bold emphasis is mine. I love that he spends a big chunk of the article basically telling nostalgics to shove it. Not because I (and he) don’t respect the history of neighborhoods. Quite the opposite! But more because it’s important to remember that everyone always thinks the world is ending, everyone always thinks they’re the first to have ever been young, and everyone always has their panties in a twist about something.