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The Great Brooklyn Hipster Civil War of 2006

I guess this should put an end to the stereotype that all Brooklyn hipsters are alike:

Brooklyn Civil War: It’s North vs. South, Ratner Against Ledger

John Flansburgh, of the band They Might Be Giants, was on the phone. "I have mixed emotions about 'fabulous' Williamsburg," said Mr. Flansburgh, 47, who has lived in that neighborhood for over 20 years, watching as bars and boutiques began to choke Bedford Ave. "It’s quickly becoming a life-size replica of St. Marks Place, and honestly, I’ve never wanted to live on St. Marks Place."

I loved They Might Be Giants back in the 90s, but someone needs to tell Flansburgh that the music types are now living out by Bushwick. And a "St. Marks Place" slag! How low can ya go? But the article goes on:

None of the elite streaming out of Manhattan and over the pretty bridge to the mirror world on the other side want to live on St. Marks Place. But what do they want exactly? Brooklyn isn't a united front. The North Brooklyn of do-it-yourself fashion and vinyl siding (Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick) just feels separate from brownstone South Brooklyn (from Fort Greene to Park Slope). South Brooklyn is rich and pretty; North is rougher-edged and moody. "I’m firmly committed to the notion that there’s an unbridgeable divide," said a 27-year-old Bushwick resident, who explained that he even feels this way about "literary-minded, quasi-hipsters" like himself who live in the nether regions of the Hills and Slopes and Heights. "I’ve always felt deeply uncomfortable in Park Slope. And for everything that’s hateable about Williamsburg, I have this feeling that they’re my people."

South Brooklyn is more rich and pretty than North Brooklyn?! That's like saying Coke and Pepsi are very different. But then the article has this other nasty little jem:

While the North sees the South as moneyed squares, the South frowns on the North as poseurs—intellectual lightweights. "In Williamsburg, everyone's kind of illiterate. Relatively," said Christian, a 29-year-old Williamsburg transplant who moved there from Park Slope and regrets it. "One time I was on the L train, and the girl sitting next to me was reading Women in Love, and I said, 'That's good—have you read The Rainbow?' And she said, 'No, this is my first Lawrence—is it all so deep and philosophical?’ And I was like, 'Yeah … it's literature.'" On another occasion, he said, "I met a very bright and literate girl in Williamsburg, and we immediately started having a conversation about James Wood. It turned out she lived in Park Slope."

But the article goes on to make the point that there's more to being a hipster than being well read:

"No question about it—it's hipper," said Michael Brooks, 30, over the phone, of North Brooklyn. He's a project manager with the Developers Group, the company that's bringing high-rise condos to the McCarren Park area. "If there's a hipness meter, Carroll Gardens is not on the same end of the scale as Williamsburg," he continued. "There's a lifestyle in Williamsburg. It's become a place that people want to identify themselves with, being in a place that feels like everything is happening. It's just a moment—there's a moment in Williamsburg right now."

...of course having a real estate developer tout your hipster qualities may be a sort of proof that you aren't that hip.


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