The first sign of weirdness came more than three years ago via an article in the New York Times about food trucks in France: “Among Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than ‘très Brooklyn,’ a term that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality.”
For a person who–shocking disclosure–grew up in the Midwest envying anyone lucky enough to have been born French, a people seemingly imbued on a molecular level with grace and skinniness, the thought that young French people were now envious of me, living in highly informal, creative, but still semi-truck filled Greenpoint was amusing. What a world we live in!
But by that point, “Brooklyn” as an international export had seeped into the farthest away corners of the globe—even into coffee shops in Asian airports. And, today, Gothamist reports, what started as a sort of charming catch phrase (because, try it, it is a lot of fun to say “C’est très Brooklyn” in a French accent) has evolved way beyond that, and has now firmly latched itself onto Parisian Metro ads, and on French clothing, and interior design.
Photographer Sai Mokhatari captured images from all around Paris that chronicle how successfully Brooklyn-as-brand has infected Paris, an interesting phenomenon that should feel flattering. But we have to admit, the moment we saw pretty young Parisians wearing Brooklyn sweatshirts and French bagel shops named after Kings County, we realized how uncomfortable it is to be the one obsessed over rather than the one obsessed.
When a city abandons what makes it great in favor of adapting another place’s charms, it is a sort of sad thing to witness. Worse, we are forced to ask ourselves: What was it that made us so into Paris in the first place?