From The American Scholar:
Brooklyn’s always been the overlooked sibling among the boroughs. Founded several years before New York, it was swiftly relegated to a role as Manhattan’s unglamorous adjunct. First farms and then factories provided its economic basis. Now back-office space does the same. Until recently, Brooklyn was strictly second choice for residence. Beatniks who couldn’t afford Greenwich Village crossed the river in the ’60s, and yuppies who couldn’t afford Soho moved to Park Slope in the ’80s. Now hipsters who can’t afford the East Village have filled every cranny between soon-to-be evicted bodegas and auto-repair shops with cafés sporting lava lamps on the tables and old record albums tacked to the walls. Inside, a horde of latte-swilling sensitives sit in mismatched chairs and tap at laptops and can’t imagine why they’d ever want to cross the river again. They interpret their migration born of economic necessity as a hegira of moral virtue. Self-righteous sour grapes define their attitude to Gotham.
In short, they’re young.
Update Matt Frost adds:
The generational handoff is almost too clean and explicit to believe. Almost overnight, the boomers’ favorite narrative – that of the withholding father who comes, perhaps too late, to appreciate the importance of love for his child and for youth in general – has been supplanted by that of the hyper-literate latchkey child, fending for himself in a world fraught with emotional and even historical portent.
The really fun part about this sea change in kitsch is that you don’t even have to read novels (which I’m told are, like, really long – way longer than blog posts or even Salon articles) to watch it happen. Indie music is full of narrators who sound as if they’ve wandered straight out of the pages of a Brooklyn Book of Wonder themselves.
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