Sure, Williamsburg is an easy target, but what does that make journalists who earnestly attempt to enlighten you about Williamsburg’s blue-collar underbelly? Would you believe that, behind the glitz and the glamour and the skulls and the antlers, there are “the modest houses of Polish blue-collar workers”? If not — in other words, if you’re either contemplating a move to NYC from afar or have the memory span of a goldfish — head right over to AM New York, which is dispensing some hard-earned sociological wisdom. (Also, Houston is pronounced “Howston,” even streets go east, etc.) After the lede that mentions haircuts twice in one sentence, the Michael Y. Park piece drops the bomb with the panache of, say, Pravda writing about Harlem circa 1979 : “Wander away from the center of the hipster universe … and another Williamsburg is revealed.” Poor people! Puerto Ricans! Jews! (And not the media-owning ones — the other kind, with the hats!) A couple of rent-hike and tenant-eviction scenarios round out the article, leading the author to conclude that the neighborhood’s diverse social fabric may, in fact, be in danger.
Fine, you may reasonably note, so it’s silly and boilerplate; why pick on it? Because it’s an unintentional milestone. Park’s article provides the exact point where the gentrification narrative gets supplanted by the “other Williamsburg” story. Now, newcomers will turn to such texts with the same awe of watching Roots for the first time. So read up, before more new condos make stories like this required reading about a lost civilization.
Clarification: Michael Y. Park also writes restaurant reviews for this website.