Oh no. It's happening again. The New York Times is discovering that Brooklyn is a popular place, and it's running trend pieces about how hipsters love the Williamsburg neighborhood therein. But this latest edition is more trollish than the others. It's called "Will.i.amsburg," and it should be noted that the musician and one-time hologram Will.i.am is not even mentioned in the text of the story, to be published in Thursday's paper. That said, the trend in Williamsburg trend pieces is years-old and not really worth revisiting completely, though it's important to remember that the Grey Lady's pulled some sort of Williamsburg-related stunt every year for the past five years. In fact, the last one hit newsstands just six weeks ago! Obviously, there's more to be said about this little corner of creativity.
And creative is exactly how The Times went about it. Rather than a strict look-at-all-the-skinny-jeans story, the paper recruited longtime contributor and occasional humor writer for The New Yorker Henry Alford to do a sort of George Plimpton-style piece of participatory journalism, including a slideshow on "Becoming a Williamsburg Hipster" and a video filmed in front of a graffiti-covered wall. In other words, unlike its laughable predecessors, this one is supposed to be funny. And it is — probably not in the way that The Times intended it to be, though. The phrase "Dad jokes" goes a long way in describing the humor.
Anyways, you should give it a read. If you live in Brooklyn, you'll chuckle and cringe at the same time, but it's not so bad. If you can't muster the strength, these seven quotes pretty much say it all:
- "When a scruffy, ponytailed salesman in his 20s approached, I told him: 'I'm going for a Mumford & Sons look. I want to look like I play the banjo.' "
- "While waiting at the cash register, I picked up a pair of argyle wool socks from a nearby wicker basket and asked, 'Are your socks local?' The salesman self-consciously said no."
- "I said, 'Well, it is sort of like having a small, hairy new pet in the home.' Rich counseled: Enjoy the 'stache. Honor the 'stache."
"To get the true Brooklyn experience, it became clear I needed to do some of my visits while riding young Brooklynites’ vehicle of choice, a fixed-gear bicycle. … I later happily switched to a nonfixie or, as I think of it, a swingy."
- "It was, as the kids say, totally ridic."
- "Roberta's has the ugliest entrance of any restaurant I've ever seen, barbed wire leading to heavily graffitied concrete cinder blocks: gulag in da hood."
- "Today's twentysomethings are self-respecting, obvi."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.