It seems like the Scandinavian influence is everywhere in Brooklyn these days. With restaurants like Williamsburg’s Aska and the upcoming Greenpoint Danish beer garden, Tørst, and the love of Scandinavian design—be it Arne Jacobsen or IKEA—and the, I don’t know, prevalence of really great ski sweaters that people are wearing, it’s pretty obvious that Nordic culture is having a big impact in Brooklyn. But what about Brooklyn’s influence in Scandinavia? What about that? We’re so used to being envied by the French and their whole “trés Brooklyn” thing, but the French are easy. They’ll emulate anything. What about those more discriminating Nordic types? Do they like us? Do they really, really like us?
It turns out, they do! New York Magazine explored the Brooklyn-Swedish connection and found out that, “Brooklyn is the center of cool for Swedes right now,” and that, “in Sweden, Brooklyn the brand is far-reaching: cocktails named after neighborhoods, blondes in Brooklyn cycling caps, and the ubiquity of Brooklyn Lager.” Well, so, what spurred this interest? What cultural trends were behind Sweden shifting its interest from Manhattan to Brooklyn? It turns out that “a renewed interest in farming, handicrafts, folk music, and local food was born during the financial crisis.” That’s right, “banker chic is out, farmer chic in in.”
But, wait! I thought that all of those things’ popularity in Brooklyn was due to Nordic influence. Now I’m supposed to believe that those things are popular in Sweden because of Brooklyn? Not the other way around? I’m so confused. Who are the real hipsters and who are the posers? Or all we all just pretending to be something we’re not? Who is really authentic? Are any of us? And what does this have to do with the bleak existential loneliness that I think Scandinavians and Brooklynites possess in basically equal measures?
I don’t know. I have no answers. None of us do really. Or we won’t until death comes for us. But until then we can raise a beer to our Swedish admirers. And they can raise a beer back. And it will probably be a Brooklyn Lager because Sweden is “the company’s second largest market after New York City out of the 21 countries where it is currently available.” There does appear to be some backlash though. At least one Swedish restaurant owner refuses to serve Brooklyn Lager, believing it to be too trendy and overdone. So what does “Jon Widegren, the owner of Flippin’ Burgers, an American-themed restaurant in Stockholm” serve to his clientele? Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Which, yes. Clearly that’s the less “Brooklyn hipster” choice. The Swedes really get us, I think.
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen