Look, I’m kind of sick of Brooklyn too. Or, wait. I’m sick of “Brooklyn.” I’m sick of the “Brooklyn” that people in Manhattan tell me is actually Brooklyn. Fuck, I’m sick of putting Brooklyn in quotation marks. It’s not an idea! It’s a place. A place where people live! And I like that place. But, apparently, Kim Hastreiter of Paper magazine does not like Brooklyn at all. No, she fucking hates it.
Hastreiter, who is co-editor-in-chief along with David Hershkovitz and founder of Paper, declared today that she is “sick of Brooklyn the look, Brooklyn the cool and Brooklyn the aesthetic” and that “Brooklyn the brand is becoming a monochromatic cartoon of itself.” A brand that makes Hastreiter want to “throw up.” You see, kids, Hastreiter came to New York because of “its toughness, breadth of diversity and opportunity.” Brooklyn just doesn’t offer any of that! No, Brooklyn is soft. Brooklyn is all about home-made marshmallows and beards—both of which are very, very soft things! And while Hastreiter admits that Manhattan has changed since she came so many decades ago, she still thinks it’s for “ambitious fighters who live to wake up every day, roll up their sleeves and attack their lives.” Gentrification? Fifteen dollar burgers? Four-thousand-dollar-a-month one-bedrooms? That just makes Manhattan more of a fun struggle! That just makes life in Manhattan more authentic!
The problem with Hastreiter’s screed against Brooklyn is that it’s kind of clear that she has no knowledge of Brooklyn other than short forays into Williamsburg and what she’s read in the New York Times. Brooklyn isn’t all artisanal pickle making. It’s ok (though ridiculous to me) to hate artisanal pickle making without hating Brooklyn. The diversity and toughness that Hastreiter came to New York to experience? That exists in Brooklyn! As do those fifteen dollar burgers and four-thousand-dollar-a-month one-bedrooms! We’re a fucking rainbow, here in Brooklyn. We’ve got it all. It’s probably futile for me to defend Brooklyn against someone who hates something that just represents a fraction of all the diverse things in Brooklyn. And it’s fun to hate Brooklyn now, and to make fun of it. But, unfortunately, Hastreiter just comes off sounding a lot like Delia Ephron did in her rant against Citibikes. Basically, she sounds like an older, set-in-her-way person of a certain socio-economic class who hates that the changes taking place around her contribute to her increasing irrelevance. And it sucks when that happens! It really does. But hating change doesn’t stop it from happening. That’s what progress is, after all.
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