you fuckers don't know when you've got it good, do you? I'm talking to
you residents of Williamsburg and other "edgy" neighborhoods
experiencing what I call "gentrification guilt." I'm a negro,
no wait, I'm a negro that was born in a really bad part of Brooklyn and
have lived long enough to notice a sort of Renaissance in the borough
of Kings, so I feel entitled to a few observations. Know what I observe?
A lot of whiny art-dinks talking up a storm about how the neighborhood
used to be cool, but now it's TOO arty, and TOO hip. They feel like they're
living in a theme park.
Fuck you. Complaining that Williamsburg is becoming too hip is like eating
at a fried chicken joint and complaining about the grease. Some people
will never be satisfied. They remind me of those annoying people in High
School that would drop a band just because they got popular. They play
just as well, they're music is just as meaningful if not more, but heaven
forbid, more than your group of freaks know about them. Can't handle that,
can you? Don't feel so special?
Some people like the idea of living in a "hoody" kind of place.
They want to feel like a strange part of the community. But I've got bad
news for you: "You never will be, so give it up." It's not as
if Mama Wollenski is going to come by your apartment with a steaming plate
of pierogi because you've resisted the temptation to eat at The Pod for
the last few years. They know who is really from the area and who isn't
so give it up. (Hint: You're probably not originally from Williamsburg
if you own a studded belt. Hell, if you've even looked at one for any
extended period of time, the same holds true.)
Listen, you don't really want to come from the ghetto. The ghetto sucks.
The ghetto's boring, and the stores only carry 40s and decades-old cereal.
If it just so happens that in your quest for cheaper rent your neighborhood
got more popular around you, then congratulations. Yeah your rents will
rise, yeah posers will start moving in, but fuck it. The way I put it
is this "I don't like the Backstreet Boys, but I can't stop people
listening to them either."
And if you so desperately want to live among the natives, then I suggest
you take yourself out to the end of the L and get a nice little apartment
above a crackhouse. I said an apartment, not a loft you trust-fund-having
bitch. Live there for a bit, get to know the customs, and when you're
on your eighteenth mugging, shut the fuck up and move back to West Brooklyn.
Gentrification just happens, and I'm not for some seedy bastard moving
poor families out of their places or destroying a neighborhood's character,
but please, know what to complain about. There are laws to stop some greedy
business school dropout from turning somebody's street into Disneyland,
but we do need much tougher ones. And in many cases, I don't exactly feel
sorry for the residents of these changing neighborhoods. If the only cultural
institution that's existed on your block for years on end is the local
liquor store, then your shit's going to get bought up. Simple as that.
Half the people that lived there were probably talking about moving in
the first place anyway. If a bunch of crazy Midwestern college kids want
to live there now, what's it to you? If you're really fighting for your
neighborhood, though, that's a whole different thing.
Perhaps being forced to live in Long Island with the friggin "Sopranos"
extras gives me a different perspective on things. Yeah, that's where
my family moved when I was real, real young, so I didn't even know of
a nice part of Brooklyn until 2 or 3 years ago. When I found it I was
like "Hmm, this shit nice." Then I saw the apartments. I said
"This shit REAL nice. I wanna move here." These new neighborhoods
opening up are like the East Village with decent sized apartments. I like
that, I'm a fan of that, I'm jealous of you fucks.
So in closing, APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE! Is almost everyone you know
there now a hipster? Boo fucking hoo, you can move in with my parents,
and I'll take your place.
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry
Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
| November 2001 | Issue 20
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