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Did you bother to read what I wrote while composing that post? Do you read what I write at all or just set out to prove me wrong?

 

My point:

 

Right now, hipster driven gentrification walks hand in hand with a rapid improvement in food quality due to, annoying as it may be, the hipster ethic/ethos/whatever. This is not common among other recent forms of gentrification and is a pretty consistent thing across cities worldwide (see taion's point about monoculture)

 

What my point is not:

 

1) hipsters have a monopoly on good restaurants;

2) all hipster (and hipsterish) gentrification leads to better food (Sneak's history of Brooklyn and Wilfrid on downtown is compelling);

3) All young people who open restaurants are hipsters;

4) All food improvements are due to hipsters.

 

Corollary point to 2) - at some point, hipsters became very concerned with good food/restaurants/coffee and now bring that with them.

 

I know it's popular to disagree with me, but please disagree with what I say.

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Some serious revisionist history here. Ten years ago there were no places worth coming to Brooklyn for ethnic and PL aside.

There are two responses to this:

 

1. Just because the scene got better as it developed doesn't mean it isn't the same scene, and that the development hasn't been continuous.

 

2. In a large sense, the reason the Brooklyn scene is more "destination-worthy" now than it was at inception is that it's bigger. Obviously, the more places there are, the more of a chance that some of them will be excellent rather than quite good. But also (as I've ruminated about in the past), the "destination-worthiness" of Brooklyn restaurants is now based more on the sheer density of the scene than it is on the inherent quality of any specific constituent. I can't think of more than a few Brooklyn restaurants I'd individually call "destinations"; it's the scene that's a destination.

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Some serious revisionist history here. Ten years ago there were no places worth coming to Brooklyn for ethnic and PL aside.

Here's what Sneak and I said 3 years ago. We've been consistent.

 

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Jan 19 2010, 07:18 PM) 1068923

 

QUOTE(Wilfrid @ Jan 18 2010, 05:14 PM) 1068581

I usually sign up to the proposition that while there are many good restaurants in Brooklyn, few offer dishes which can't be matched in Manhattan.

 

 

I agree with that.

 

 

So do I. Actually, I don't know anybody who doesn't.

 

That doesn't mean that there haven't been profound changes in the Brooklyn dining scene. When I first moved to brownstone Brooklyn in 1979 there was a total absence of quality restaurants (excluding the Italian places that Sneak mentioned.) When I returned in 1990 the situation wasn't much better.

 

It's different now. You can dine well in areas like Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens, and Park Slope. (OK, I'll throw in Prospect Heights to make Sneak happy.) That said, what we're really talking about are good neighborhood restaurants, not destinations.

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Another way to put all that is that, as far as I'm concerned, Franny's/Marco's are still at the very peak of Brooklyn restaurants. And they're in no way "hipster"; they're part of the pre-hipster wave -- but you can't say they're not part of the same "scene" (and line of development) as the "hipster" places.

 

And I have no idea whether they're "destinations".

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1. the way in which Adrian is using "discourse" is absolutely familiar to anyone who went to grad school in the humanities in the 90's. There's nothing obscure about it. (with that said, the humanities would probably be better off if every professor and grad student in the 90's had been shot...but that's a different discussion.)

 

2. it's absolutely true that many many neighborhoods gentrify without a corresponding increase in food quality (except that higher quality chains move in). hipster neighborhoods really are different. but whether it's a hipster qua hipster thing or rather that hipsters coexist with Richard Florida's "creative class" (remember that 2000ish buzz word?)...I'd actually postulate that the latter is what drives better restaurants...and it just so happens that many of those hoods are also "hipster hoods"....

 

3. there are multiple types of gentrification (including with reference to food)...and there's a noticeable difference between cities that always had dense urban culture that gentrify and gentrification that happens after "urban blight"

 

4. Adrian's critics are right to point out that you can find roots of the culinary changes predating hipsters....indeed...it's no coincidence that the Food Network is exactly 20 years old now (and it's historical role is much larger than some now realize....it was not always the network of Paula Deen and Guy Fieri....)

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1. the way in which Adrian is using "discourse" is absolutely familiar to anyone who went to grad school in the humanities in the 90's. There's nothing obscure about it. (with that said, the humanities would probably be better off if every professor and grad student in the 90's had been shot...but that's a different discussion.)

 

2. it's absolutely true that many many neighborhoods gentrify without a corresponding increase in food quality (except that higher quality chains move in). hipster neighborhoods really are different. but whether it's a hipster qua hipster thing or rather that hipsters coexist with Richard Florida's "creative class" (remember that 2000ish buzz word?)...I'd actually postulate that the latter is what drives better restaurants...and it just so happens that many of those hoods are also "hipster hoods"....

 

3. there are multiple types of gentrification (including with reference to food)...and there's a noticeable difference between cities that always had dense urban culture that gentrify and gentrification that happens after "urban blight"

 

4. Adrian's critics are right to point out that you can find roots of the culinary changes predating hipsters....indeed...it's no coincidence that the Food Network is exactly 20 years old now (and it's historical role is much larger than some now realize....it was not always the network of Paula Deen and Guy Fieri....)

Thanks (and I agree with the comment about "discourse", though I shouldn't have assumed that this philosophy and literature degree heavy crowd would operate using that definition).

 

Points 2 and 4 are the interesting ones. If you take Sneak, Wilf and Lex's point about pre-hipster (at least "hipster" as we know it now) gentrification, there does seem to be a change insofar as the artisanal/local ethos has become an integral part of first generation gentrifier culture. This seems to be a new - last 15 years - thing. I think the Florida crew often drives demand, but they're not the ones actually doing the doing and they seem to come after the first few better places that open in a gentrifying area. Part of it is that hipsters make places safe, but part of it is also that hipster projects don't just include bands and performance art, but urban farming, bean to bar chocolate and restaurants in minimally re-purposed spaces.

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you know before the rise of the hipster...the standard argument in these discussions was that often gays/lesbians made a neighborhood safe and thus drove gentrification. but I'm dating myself.

 

but certainly urban farming and expensive pickles (that taste like other pickles) are associated specifically with hipsters

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you know before the rise of the hipster...the standard argument in these discussions was that often gays/lesbians made a neighborhood safe and thus drove gentrification. but I'm dating myself.

I remember the waning days of that argument as well. In reality wasn't it also the proto-hipster class of artists, musicians, left wing activists that helped to make these neighbourhoods "safe"? Sneak's going to eat me for this, but there seems to be a straightish line between ABC No Rio and the Market Hotel* even if people don't like the ideological change.

 

*hell, the slicked up hipster complex (Kinfolk, Roberta's) owes a debt to these places

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The only one I'd say for sure is hipster driven is Williamsburg. Maybe Bushwick but I don't know the population breakdown there between normal young people and hipsters.

Bushwick definitely hipster driven. Plenty of stirrings in Bed-Stuy as the ripples spread.

 

Queens, maybe? To the extent it's changed?

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