The Self-Loathing Gentrifier

Dear SLG,
So, hey, I grew up in Bay Ridge. I recently moved to Williamsburg and I’m getting all sorts of grief from old neighborhood friends about being a yuppie-scum gentrifier. What should I tell them? Are they right?

Thanks, Bay Ridge-iamsburg

Let me tell you a story: once, a long time ago, I loved a woman. It lasted a little while and then it ended. We parted as friends. She was a singer. She went on to date a guy who was a musician. After they were together about a year, she had a minor success providing the backing vocals for a song written by another artist, a man who wasn’t her boyfriend. She was successful because her vocals were beautiful, and also because she herself was beautiful: she was in the video for a moment, and people had to catch their breath when they saw her.

Her boyfriend, who had previously respected her, started to carp and complain. He told her that she hadn’t done a good job with the vocals. He told her that the performance was thin, that it was lacking in real passion and fire. He was complaining from envy, of course, pure and simple, but she couldn’t see it. She felt terrible being criticized this way by the person whose approval she depended upon the most. She fell into a mild depression and stopped singing. The second man, the artist who had hired her to sing backup, started being more supportive, because he sensed that she needed his support, and slowly she vacated her relationship with her boyfriend and entered a new relationship with him.

They got married.

They moved to Williamsburg, where they live upstairs from a bar; for a while, they ran a blog where they tracked all the new Mexican restaurants. I think it was called “Holy Mole.” They bought a Saab. At some point, she stopped talking to me because I made fun of the way she would only buy organic produce. So, in short, yes, your friends are right.

Dear Self-Loather,
I’ve been hearing all about this new entrepreneurial Brooklyn economy… How can I get in on that shit?

I can’t disclose the answer in print. You understand, right? Everyone would want in. Once I hinted at the answer on Twitter and people just went nuts. So here’s what I’ll do, just for you. Put $50 in an envelope and send it to me, care of Brooklyn Magazine. When I get it, I’ll send you back a tip sheet that will tell you everything you need to know about breaking into Brooklyn’s new economy.

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