Remember the famous "West Bushwick" item from last year? It started as a post by Doree Shafrir in response to a story Cornell student Erin Geld wrote for the Daily Sun, the littlest Ivy college's student paper. Geld stayed with friends in a nonexistant neighborhood she referred to as "West Bushwick" for the weekend and was overwhelmed and intimidated by her perceived coolness of it all. She marveled at the big lofts, the "spooky lots and the occasional shady passerby," and the fashion parade of Bedford Avenue. She came to the conclusion that she wasn't sure if she would be able to handle living in such a crazy place after graduation! Well, guess what: now you've gone and done it. In Newsweek, the same writer blogs that because of the response to the "rather neutral" item on this website, her column was "TORN apart" in our commenting section, a "New York hipster club." This "hipster attack" from commenters "managed to chase me to California."
The day my Brooklyn column ran, it was picked up by the notoriously nasty Gawker.com, where it was TORN apart in its commenting section, a New York hipster hub. (You have to be pre-approved just for the right to comment, making it a bizarre online club.)
A brief, rather neutral note about my piece was followed by an explosion of scathing retorts, such as: "Gag. Please DON'T move to BK. We don't want you either." It hurt. I took every mean comment to heart. In two years of writing easygoing columns about local demolition derbies and ratty old hotels, I had received a steady stream of sweet e-mails but never really made any waves. This tsunami of attention was utterly insane.
I recently reviewed the comments, and as far as I can tell, what pissed these readers off was: 1) "West Bushwick," as I had called my friends' neighborhood, is apparently just some real-estate/hipster-neighborhood-renaming conspiracy that Insiders otherwise know as "East Williamsburg," which, according to said Insiders, sucks. 2) I had, without a smidgen of irony, announced I was moving to Brooklyn because it was cool. Which is, obviously, a very uncool thing to do.
Anyway, she moved to San Francisco, and it's so much better! Screw you, Williamsburg, Gawker commenters, and hipsters:
"I eschewed the Ithaca-to-Williamsburg trend and went west to San Francisco. It is, surprisingly, almost more packed with bandanna babies than Brooklyn. They lounge in Dolores Park with organic sandwiches and two-buck Chuck as if it were stale bagels and PBR on Bedford Avenue.
They are similar: name-dropping obscure bands, writing novels "secretly" and being endearingly vain. But in the Mission's sweet-smelling cloud of tolerance, hipsters are relaxed and just a bit more lovable. Being from somewhere else is a good thing. It's expected, interesting. There's no convenient Internet venue through which to pick on people, as they lick their own outsider wounds. Instead, people comment on restaurants and farmers' markets. They're usually nice. Helpful. Memories of 1967 still linger in the Bay Area, and people are a little goofy for my East Coast taste. But, thank God, they don't take themselves very seriously—they're way cool with being cool.