Adrienne Jeffries of the New York Observer has just written a piece warning against the Portlandification of Brooklyn. A little silly and gimmicky to me but still an entertaining read. Check it out:
On a cold day in late January, Paul LaRosa, an author and CBS producer, and his wife, Susan, were shopping for cheese at the Park Slope/Gowanus Indoor Winter Farmer’s Market at Third Avenue and Third Street when they struck up a conversation at one of the stands with a tall, clean-cut yoga instructor who had just returned from studying meditation in Thailand.
He had discovered the most marvelous cocoa there, he enthused, and offered them a tiny, wrapped sample of stone-ground, small batch “virgin” chocolate, which he sells in four flavors including Blueberry Lavender and Vanilla Rooibos.
“I had just seen Portlandia,” Mr. LaRosa told The Observer, referring to the indie sitcom. “And as this nice guy began telling us all the trouble he’d gone to to make this chocolate, my head went straight to the first episode, where a young couple cannot order the chicken on the menu without knowing the chicken’s name and whether it had any friends.
“In his eyes it wasn’t a simple chocolate bar, it was this whole thing, it was all wrapped up in Thailand and meditation and yoga and beautiful paper,” Mr. LaRosa went on. “This is a guy you could imagine would be a young Wall Street exec or something but he’s making artisanal chocolate bars in Brooklyn.”
Earlier that month, Brooklynites were passing around a clip of Brian Williams riffing on the ironic glasses frames, homemade beads, shared apartments and gourmet grilled cheeses of their home borough, and the New York Times’s marveling at them. “I’m leaving here to get to an artisanal market that just opened up today!” the anchorman snarked. “It’s a flash artisanal market! The newest thing!”
How often the Connecticut commuter actually gets to the better borough is unknown, but the bit killed. “It was dead on,” said Eric Cunningham, a Carroll Gardens-based comedian, who was inspired to start a website calling on Mr. Williams to run for president.
Heroic though it was, Mr. Williams’s intervention may have been too little too late. Brooklyn’s overwrought mustaches and handmade ice cream in upcycled cups are now well-established facts of life. It’s as if the tumor of hipster culture that formed when the cool kids moved to Williamsburg had metastasized into a cluster of cysts pressing down on parts of the borough’s brain. Around the militantly organic Park Slope Co-op, for example, or Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, where you can buy rings glued to typewriter keys as well as used, handmade, vegetable-dyed, vintage Oriental rugs for $1,000. Brooklyn is producing and consuming more of its own culture than ever before, giving rise to a sense of Brooklyn exceptionalism and a set of affectations that’s making the borough look more and more like Portland, Oregon.