*Update: Vongerichtified's originator follows up with VNY
I was walking around the Village when I stumbled upon the Beatrice Inn. It's been there since 1926. I've passed it before, but never went inside. I took a couple pictures and made a note to go back for dinner sometime. But after an eye-opening Google session, I realize that I won't be going back to the Beatrice Inn, because I seriously doubt the bouncers would allow me inside.
Yes, the Beatrice Inn has bouncers. It's exclusive. It's uber-hip. A celebrity hot spot. But long before Lindsay Lohan started going there to make out with hunky guys, it was a family business run by Elsie and Ubaldo Cardia, and then their children, Aldo and Vivian. It was a neighborhood place where regulars dined nightly. As for celebrities, Jane Jacobs ate there, but today she'd never make it past the proverbial velvet ropes--she was not very fashionable.
The new owner, when he opened the new Beatrice Inn, said he would reserve Monday nights for the old regulars, featuring red-sauce specials and Scrabble. "The whole idea behind the bar-restaurant is bringing things back to NYC, like American and New York things." I wonder if he's honored this promise.
In 2005, when the restaurant closed upon the Cardia children's sale of the building, David Kamp in The Times wrote: "In a neighborhood that grows ever more fabulous, expensive and Vongerichtified, the Beatrice is one of the last vestiges of the nudgy, agitational, oppositional Village of yore."
I had to look up "Vongerichtified." Frank Kirkland at Hunter College says it's from the name of a glamorous, high-end chef and "a neighborhood that is 'Vongerichtified' would be one whose restaurants have shifted their cuisine, their ambience, and their prices in this high-end direction. sociologically this is quite interesting characterizing a neighborhood in terms of its restaurants. usually a neighborhood restaurant carries a kind of 'gemeinschaftlich' (communal) sense. a restaurant in a 'Vongerichtified' neighborhood does not appear to carry such a sense."
Maybe this is a solution to the problem of the word "gentrification," which isn't strong enough, and has to be replaced by something like "super-gentrification" or "hyper-luxurification" to really get at what's happening in this city.
Just think of how many neighborhoods, how many streets, how many places in this city have recently gone from gemeinschaftlich (common, shared, mutual) to Vongerichtified (aristocratic, exclusive, separate). We are moving away from democracy, from a city in which all kinds of people--classes, races, ethnicities--mix and mingle.
What, then, are we becoming?