Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bobos on Bergen

In Brooklyn there's a block of Bergen Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, that wasn't there a year or so ago. The block itself was there, the street, the sidewalk. People lived on it. But today, almost overnight, it has become a tightly constructed microcosm of hyper-gentrification. Urban scholars should study this block. It's a New Urbanist dream come true.

It went up as quickly and completely as a Hollywood set and exemplifies everything that "White People Like." Which, as we know, is less about whiteness and more about "Bobos in Paradise." In fact, the entire 21st-century, urban, upwardly mobile, heterosexual reproductive cycle can be completed utilizing only the new businesses on this block.

Imagine a couple, let's call them Ben and Lauren. They are 35 years old, both of them "creatives" at a multimedia design "lab." They go on their first date at Melt, which they love for its "pure, honest and sustainable" food choices and "live off the land philosophy." They marry. For the wedding, Ben buys a pair of John Varvatos Converse at the men's boutique Private Stock, because he doesn't want to look like a total douche in his tux.

They try to get pregnant. Sex becomes tense. So they head back to Bergen to do some shopping at Toys in Babeland. They pick up a vibrator for Lauren and a buttplug for Ben. It works. In a few months, Lauren is shopping at Bump, right next to Babeland, for maternity fashion. While she's browsing stretch-waisted skinny jeans and calendula nursing balm, Ben heads next door to Bergen Street Comics, that "sleek clubhouse for the sophisticated fanboy."

Little does he know, while he's reading the latest Dan Clowes book, Lauren's in Eponymy charging a Gucci handbag to the house account. They'll argue about it later, down the block, while sipping fair-trade coffees and dipping kale chips into a bowl of "live" hummus at Sun in Bloom cafe.

In time, baby Cullen will be born. Ben will rent a rugged jogging stroller at Brooklyn Ride, and while he's pushing Cullen through the bike lanes of the Brooklyn he will inherit, Lauren will stay on Bergen, taking her Pilates Garage class at Lululemon, trying to tooth-and-nail it back to her pre-baby body. Lauren considers herself a devout "Luluhead." After their morning exercise, the whole family will reunite at "artisan chic" Bark for hot dogs smothered in baked heirloom beans and oak barrel aged sauerkraut.

"Did you hear," says Ben, between gulps of his retro-hip Foxon Park diet white birch soda, "That crummy bookstore down the block is going to be a store for tweens."

"That's great," says Lauren, patting her flat tummy, "It'll really come in handy when little Sophie gets big."

"Little Sophie?" says Ben, "Really? Another baby? I guess it's back to Bump!"

I stepped off the Bergen Block (after my own browsing through comic books and personal lubricants) and wondered how something so unreal-looking could pop up in such a short amount of time. It couldn't have been an organic process, I thought. All the signs are exactly the same. What condo developer engineered this so he could stuff his brochures with pretty pictures of nearby amenities? It's like Disney's master-planned Celebration, I muttered, passing by sheets of blue plywood and the skeletons of up and coming condos.

The Brooklyn Paper
reported that the engineering was done, indeed, by the Pintchik brothers of Flatbush fame. They carefully transformed the block, says the paper, "into a little slice of some small town Main Street in just two years."

I can't say what the ultimate goal is, but we all know that the Bergen Block will act as a fertile harborage for more of the same, that its commerce will attract, breed, hatch, and spread as efficiently as, well, bedbugs. It's biological class warfare--like introducing lady bugs into the garden to rid your prize roses of aphids.

Nantucket shops

Said one of the business owners on the block, "Coming here is like stepping off of Flatbush Avenue into Nantucket."

I guess if Greenwich Village has Little Wisco, Park Slope can have "Little Tucket."


Ed said...

I really have no problem with this if it is confined to one block here and there. Unfortunately, this crap is covering the entire city.

In the old days, there were parts of the city I avoided because the prospect of physical violence against myself was too great. There are now parts of the city I avoid because they are too crowded with slow moving people, and offer absolutely nothing I would want to go to or shop or eat or drink in, in fact what they offer is almost offensive. FIfth Avenue in Brooklyn and the surrounding blocks between Bergen and 9th Street is one example. Lets not get started on Seventh Avenue.

Good for you for highlighting the role of developers in this. When we get the city back, one thing we have to do is to limit the amount of properties any one person or company can own.

Anonymous said...

I loved your post. I live near this block and have watched it evolve. Very weird!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Bummer for Brooklyn. Gotta love Queens. I mean this type of stuff has happened there, but not as lame is that. Different scene.

I've worked in a building in dumbo that is quickly getting overrun by "creatives" ie: Market researchers an web designer and whatever offspring they produce.

My floor is one of the few that still has a Metal Guy, Wood Guy, 4 Painters, A Lighting guy, Antique Chandelier Restorers and Apparel and that's some f'in creatives for you. BRING BACK THE REAL SCENE!

Anonymous said...

It's so true there used to be nothing on that block, and, as you say, until very recently. Pintchuk has been around a long time; they never struck me as being 'of the gentrifying mind set' - that store is pretty basic as far as hardware stores go - but apparently they are. Fascinating!


Jeremiah Moss said...

probably every property owner wants to see their values go up. but, yeah, this is a masterminded production.

and, you know, i like comic books and sex toys, too. some of those stores are cool. but it's like an orchestrated rewriting of reality, total and quick. and does anyone question it when they shop there? or do they just think this is normal?

Claribel said...

LOVED this! Both hilarious and disturbing. I kind of feel sad for Bobos. Even developers know that they’re a target market group. If the block does well, then it makes them a predictable target market too. So much for “I think, therefore I am.” Apparently today it’s “I have Pavlovian shopping triggers, therefore I buy accordingly.”

Claribel said...

Jeremiahhhh, did you not see the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"??? You don't question, silly. The pods (or bed bugs! ha ha!) were already left under your kitchen sink the night before.

just another one of you said...

But what's the problem here? Bright paint? Architecture that fits contextually with the neighborhood? Independent businesses? I live nearby and can say there are plenty other areas that are examples of bad gentrification.

Knowing the block, I find it funny you mention melt when it has a completely different facade. The furniture store at the end of the block, city subs, Bark, the hardware store, and even fish & sip look nothing like the stores in question.

I have no kids, no desire for vibrators, or hankering for organic glucose-free muffins but I much rather walk by that block then on 5th ave between Baltic and Warren.

Anonymous said...

places? FALSE. Are we saying that no other "ethnicities" are happy patrons of these establishments? Oh, OH, I know what you mean, you dont like "NEUVO RICH PEOPLE". Get your racist head out of your ass and know what your hating for you passive-aggresively BLOG about it.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Maybe it's time NYC infested little Nantuckets with its own seedy pods!

Anonymous said...

I can never tell what exactly people are suggesting as an alternative to what has happened on Bergen Street when they complain about it. Keep it the same? Maybe the same as it was when it was in the relatively recent past - a run-down, drug-ridden block populated primarily by people living off the public fisc rather than contributing to it? Maybe one of those master plans developed by the city that would include chain eateries, big-box retailers, and an "appropriate" number of people living off the public fisc (i.e. "affordable housing")? Maybe the commenter who works in DUMBO could sit on a board that would determine whether those who want to set up small businesses are "worthy" so that we can limit new businesses to those he or she deems authentic, a part of the "real scene," or true "f'in creatives." Or, maybe, the complainers could just recognize that their opinions on food, clothing, reading material, art, what one chooses to spend his or her money on is not the last word on the subject!

I helped a friend (who probably would even have been considered a true "f'in creative") move to Fifth Avenue and Bergen 20 years ago, and then helped her move back out a year later after both she and her roommate had been mugged. Though family issues forced her to relocate out of NYC a few years ago, I am sure she would be happy to see that the scum that used to fill her block has been largely cleared away. Add that to the fact that one can now walk through Central Park after dark and Union Square (and numerous other parks) is no longer an open-air heroin / methadone exchange once the sun goes down and the continuing whining over the emergence of a middle class in NYC just seems more and more ridiculous. I have watched a lot vanish from New York; much of it I have been happy to see leave. I also don't waste too much time complaining about what people do with their own money . . . I am happy if they have earned it themselves.

Unknown said...

As a "Ben" who moved to Prospect Heights on the other side of Flatbush two years ago and whose daughter is now a year old...what am I missing?

Bark makes great food and sells great beer. The guy who runs Private Stock is swell, he rotates stock frequently and isn't overpriced. Bump sold my wife some killer pregnancy jeans. And Pintchik serves all of my hardware needs.

Beyond that, doesn't Pintchik get credit for managing a property well, with many unique retailers? Or would we prefer to more like Manhattan and have a bank and a Duane Reade with maybe a Gap thrown in for good measure?

Anonymous said...

I loved this post. You nailed it. But I have lived in this neighborhood for 17 years, through muggings, drug dealers and even the arrest of a murderer in the building next door. He killed his girlfriend and went to visit his granny. So it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to walk down this block, for I will never see Nantucket. So much pleasure that I no longer get off the train on Atlantic Ave, which is closer to my house.

Now I shop on Bergen when I can. I thought Lululemon was pronounced Lulu Lemon when I bought leggings. I congratulated the vegan woman working at Sun Bloom on her pregnancy when I tried a cold pressed juice. How could I know there are overweight vegans. I mean what is the point? I bought all the men in my family Michael Jackson T shirts from Private Stock, which my dad thought odd, since he listens exclusively to Waylon Jennings. I sent my husband to Babe to buy a vibrator. He came home with the strangest thing that I could not bring myself to use. He was too embarassed to return it, not because it is a sex shop, but 'Ben and Lauren' were there that day, along with a very conservative looking lesbian couple. He just isn't used to uptight sex shops.
So let me enjoy the tasting menu at Melt and fantasise that I am in some strange parallel universe before I stumble home trying not to trip on the broken sidewalk,

Anonymous said...

i like that street, is real & reminds me of the old west village. little private owned businesses. kind of creative & individual. whats the problem? would you rather see a walmart city circuit duane reade verizon burger king subway sandwich kentucky fried payless? thats where the poor like to shop. or the corporations developers would like them to shop, rather than mom&pops. or a jcrew, bananna, marc jacobs for the upscale group? a large saks? @least this is for the people by the people. maybe for educated white young people, but they are people too. the old west village was basically for whites as well. make up your mind. jeremiah whats up??? (i remember bergen st subway stop, decades ago. i took the wrong train by accident. got off & i called my parents to pick me up. i was so scared, i waited down on the platform w/a raving drunken black girl, drinking a bottle of whisky- who was wearing an acrylic leopard skin coat. this was better than going upstairs on the street. im not from the mid west & never got off on that stuff even @ 16yrs old. this was shit we avoided as i grew up in brooklyn).

Jeremiah Moss said...

i think we can get easily caught up in the debate about what's better--small up-market indie businesses or chains, and that gets us into a false dichotomy--and then we can't see the forest for the trees.

this block is an example of New Urbanism, which is about manufacturing neighborhoods for a particular clientele. it did not arise organically. that's the main point i am making. and it represents another kind of monoculture that is very powerful. and it's all over the city.

it's worth thinking about critically, even as we buy our buttplugs and Dan Clowes books.

hartford said...

J, i know what you mean. it didnt just evolve like the old west village or the old east village or early 70s on columbus ave. people moving in & opening little shops. right? some one "else" put these stores there? did the new "leasers" buy franchises? or is it theyre own stock? im confused. still its much better than what we have been getting. who is behind this, how does it "work"? i think your saying that theres marketing corporations etc behind all this. & THATS the scary part.

Anonymous said...

jeremiah, the more i think about it the more i "get it' i was an advertising major in college & studied sociology copy writing etc. (before i quit to take photographs). theres alot of "research & development" that goes into lifestyle branding. (new word). we used R&D to make ads to sell products to the target market. who would think that it would go into this direction? funny, but i cant relate to much of the products they sell there. i hope they have a nice bookstore & vegetable market.

Anonymous said...

i really liked this post and i think what J is trying to show is - this just feels so 'moneyed' to me if that's the right way to say it. older mom & pops - i mean, it seemed liked there was a greater leveler/opportunity for a greater variety of social classes to possibly own a store (tho that is something my parents would never be able to do, still, in their lower working classness) - and providing goods and services that just seem more 'real'- i'm sorry, i'm not s sophisticated sociologist/popculturist writer who can espouse on this topic perfectly. (tho luc sante does it for me in a real person way..) as a person who looks working class or lower working class, i walk into these places and am not greeted very warmly. that doesn't happen at oldskool bakeries, laundries, hardware shops. and as i've said before even tho i participate in the art world, the money i make at office/nonprofit is way beneath the norm. i can't articulate this any better than it just seems a bit snobby to me compared to other blocks of moms&pops. maybe someone else can express this better. - stef

City Of Strangers said...

Jeremiah - the Pintchik brothers? Man, too funny. I used to loathe going in that store. It was like the slowest, most depressing hardware store ever. Even when they put the popcorn vending machine at the entrance to cheer things up.

I used to know that block very well. All too well. But I haven't been down for awhile. I'll have to go down and have a look. The 'new urbanism' scares me . . .


Marty Wombacher said...

When did buttplugs go so mainstream?

Jeremiah Moss said...

yes! lifestyle branding. marketing to the moneyed. stealthy exclusivity. it's all there.

buttplugs, too. are they mainstream? maybe they should be.

Unknown said...

It's so strange to see an increasing number of pieces of what had once been a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-class city turn into places as undiverse, faux-'quaint,' and unthreateningly whitebread-y as downtown Rye NY. Albeit somewhat updated to include a cutsie sex-toy store and high-end overgrown kid food for the tastes of a later generation of the near-wealthy.

Not that there's anything particularly wrong with Rye. It's comfortable (although not for all) and safe, but it, and places like it, are more like a idealized suburban simulacrum of a small town than anything that resembles a real big diverse city.

And the evident loathing for the poor and working-class shown in some of these posts just shows how undiverse some folks would happily like to remake this city.

Despite the incomprehension or laughs I get from some quarters, there's a damn good reason I left Park Slope for the pan-ethnic wilds of Queens.

Carol Gardens said...

I have a hard time being more than amused at the way this block of Bergen has turned out. Coordinated signage and one landlord equals an extra dollop of cuteness, yes. But the stores are independent and small (not Lulu, of course, which IS like a cult) and I strongly prefer this kind of commercial development to that over dere at Ratner's Mall. Somehow you find Jones Street to be so far superior because it developed "organically". Listen, there were still landlords/owners involved and economic pressures. Perhaps the reason both street have successful small businesses on them is that they have decent relationships between landlords and tenants. I HOPE the stores are Bergen last long term like the ones on Jones. (And people can afford to spend money on Bergen...a comic book, a condom, a grilled cheese sandwich, it's not like an entire stretch of Marc Jacob Stores.)

Laura Goggin Photography said...

What bothers me is turning parts of the city (or the whole thing) into stage sets of other places. At first glance, I should really like this block, but it makes me feel manipulated and that just alienates me. There is a fakery about it, although the businesses are real and I'm sure they have all the best intentions and just want to succeed. But, to think that this entire stretch is just a big marketing campaign for a particular lifestyle is creepy.

Good post, Jeremiah. I like the discussion.

Anonymous said...

I love reading these comments. They never fail to deliver. I can't help it: it never ceases to amuse me, the pretzels people twist themselves into, led by Jeremiah, of course, to express just what they don't like about this (or any number of other developments in the city.) Most of the time, we rant about chains on this blog, but these are small, independent stores. So what's the problem? It's really so simple: Jeremiah can't stand "Ben and Lauren" and all their aesthetic choices. So even while confessing that he likes some of these stores, the fact that *they* like them too means that what's going on here must be "problematic." First we already have the conclusion, and then we need to find a suitable theory. Here, the culprit is the developer who happened to renovate a bunch of storefronts with matching signing. And so out come the $15 dollar grad school words and memes, so much "nuance." But in the end, anything that caters to upper middle class white people is bad. It's really just that simple. And that's okay - people are entitled to their opinions I guess. But seeing the attempts to make it seem otherwise, like there's a theory behind it, "false dichotomies," "monoculture", "new Urbanism" etc, well, it's definitely worth the price of admission.

Anonymous said...

The Pintchiks ARE "old brooklyn".
They've owned those buildings FOREVER. And now you're punishing them for renting to small, independent businesses and creating aesthetically-pleasing storefronts?
Come on, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. No need to go off on a sociological rant.

Anonymous said...

This is a dumb post and a silly block to select as an example to try to drive your point. I think you should try a Bark dog as your buttplug.

ttorrison said...

I don't see a problem with property owners making a street more attractive, walkable. Will people on public assistance suddenly feel unwelcome? That's paternalistic nonsense. Let's not consign our cities to a uniform shabbiness simply because it offends a few reacionaries who hate the idea of cities becoming 'nicer'.
The nicer we make cities the more people will want to live here and stop destroying all the open space to make more anti-urban sprawl and McMansions. A point of clarification: New Urbanism is a movement and it's been falsely equated with the retro style of SOME recent 'New Urbanist' development. The real crux of what it's about is a return to cities as the cure for the common suburban sprawl, unwalkable nowherevilles that constitute most of American development for the last six decades or so. It's against 'towers in parks' and other failed experiments of the Modernists but not every modern style is anti-urban. Far from it. No true New Urbanist would oppose a row of Richard Meier white townhouses. Especially if they had retail on the ground floor.

Anonymous said...

Your description of these 35 year olds is dripping with barely disguised contempt. What did these hypothetical people do to you? They just buy things (thereby providing jobs) and have children. Their lifestyle is definitely not suburban. Do they listen to the wrong kind of music?

esquared™ said...

man, hope(?) you'll be receiving free items from all those stores that you mentioned. and ev grieve only get to have free ugghhs.

Claribel said...

Crime is horrible in any neighborhood and afflicts all classes. I used to live on Eastern Parkway near the Franklin Avenue station and when I did, I didn’t spend my time wishing that the residents there could get thrown out because the entire neighborhood should be accountable for whatever criminal activity occurs there, nor did I assume they were all on welfare and therefore undeserving of a neighborhood. Or deserving. But elsewhere.

Gentrification is an uncomfortable topic. We can all agree on its positive attributes, but are hyper-defensive about the fact that it is capable of displacing communities that had an affordable place to live, only to discover their neighborhood changing and becoming less affordable. Does gentrification breed monocultures, or do classes and cultures really mix? I ask sincerely, as I’m unsure of the answer these days. Are we ok with monocultures? I’m personally uncomfortable with living in monocultures, regardless of class or ethnicity. However, I’ve never heard of non-affluent communities moving into affluent communities to change it over time and defend the change by insisting that their lifestyle is a vast improvement over what used to be. NYC is a finite space. Do you want to live with other classes and communities or do you want to keep moving in their affordable neighborhoods and make them less affordable until the only affordable place is outside NYC? Is that even what gentrification really is? I don’t believe that was its intention. (Sidebar: Harvey Lichtenstein is my hero. When he conceived of BAM, his vision was that it was a center for everyone in the community. An amazing creative and social space open to everyone! I loved to hear him speak about it.)

I grew up in NYC in the 70s & 80s, have terrific childhood memories during a time that a lot of people consider dark, and feel blessed because of the mixing. Equality—whether you define it by class, ethnicity, sex, etc—was not something I learned in school, I experienced it just by living in the greatest city on this planet. The Bergen block is serving a new community and several residents who’ve posted here like and support it, which is great that a community would come to the defense of the local businesses. But I definitely agree with Jeremiah about the false dichotomy. It’s a weak defense on both sides, because either/or is not what this City is about. It’s the melting pot, people. The mixing isn’t supposed to happen just on a subway commute. So let’s mix more, be it Jeremiah’s blog, on or off the Bergen block, or wherever. We’re not going to understand each other’s perspectives if we keep to ourselves, right? Thanks Jeremiah :)

Jeremiah Moss said...

excellent points, Claribel. i love when people actually bother to think, rather than react.

it's true, we are all in it, and those of us with any "disposable" income contribute to it, in ways either large or small, so we'd better think about it, grapple with it.

i was just reading this quote from Susan Sontag: "in the end, all I am really the idea of seriousness, of true seriousness." i am no Sontag, but in the end, all i am really defending is thoughtfulness, true thoughtful analysis. (though it needn't always be serious.)

so thank you for your thoughtful analysis, and i'm glad to see this post got some folks thinking and debating, even if i don't always agree.

Anonymous said...

about the white person 35yr olds monoculture yaddayadda: this kind of thing also happens "organically". i lived in boston for years. the same kind of stores popped up in my area which also gentrified. not from one developer, but just individuals who WERE 30ish & catering to the new home buyers. in additional some stores from the really exclusive areas would open a second one in the new area. (of cause i myself dont have a clue of what all those products are on bergen street. or even on my street in boston 15 years ago). i know what a stroller is, but its all weird- sodas, kale chips, ridiculous exercise, lulu smoofoo what ever. or yoga smooga, same thing. i get that its the ONEMAN band developer that jeremiah objects too. yes, white people do have strange taste. (even older whites like my brother from seattle, dont get me started. it was my generation who invented all this craziness. & no i dont want drug addicts or slums). IM white, w/VERY upscale tastes (which i cant afford). & I MYSELF dont get it!! its un sexy, very un creative. & something sooooooo college-gy. (& no pregnant girls should be wearing skinny jeans)!!!

Anonymous said...

I lived on Bergen Street for 6 years in the early 00s. When I moved
in there was City Sub, The Haitian Women's Clinic, and a small diner
called Silver Spoon. I loved it there. After 6 years I got a letter
from the Pintchik Brothers. I had to vacate my place at lease end
because they were rehauling all the buildings with the intent of
raising the rent by 3x per apartment. One of the brothers referred to
what would become the entire block renovation as his "swan song". I
miss that apartment and that block (in it's then shabby state) more
than anywhere I've ever lived. (and from the looks of it-- my
apartment still lies empty)

It was so sad for me to leave that block and hood. When I walk down
that block I am awed by the transformation. All that said--- am I
outraged? Or am I just envious that I'm not on the block now. Hell, I
could have used some organic coffee and conveniently buyable sex toys
at the time. So I'm torn. But please-- please leave Dan Clowes out of
all this. His stuff is brilliant and you can't blame him for bobos on

Signed a very wistful and nostalgic Bergen alumn

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks Anon for that insider info. and, for the record, i'm a Clowes fan, especially his new book. what would Wilson say about Bergen St?

BKDolceVita said...

Love your blog and I loved this post.

I think you need to visit Cortelyou Road in Ditmas Park-you'll have a part 2 to this post.


Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks B&T, i will check that out.

Sun In Bloom said...

I'm not going to try to imagine how you will receive my comments, but I feel it's important I share a part of my story in hopes you might consider introducing yourself to your neighbor before you script the story that assumes who they are.

I am the owner of Sun In Bloom. I opened Sun In Bloom 9 days after I put my proposal on the Pintchik's desk. They were impressed by my vision, took a risk, and invited me to open my business on Bergen Street.

I came "home" to Brooklyn several years ago (I say "home" because when my family arrived in America generations ago, they settled in Brooklyn. In fact, Joralemon Street was named after them and I've always felt home in Brooklyn) to manifest my dream. I opened my restaurant with my own money; money earned teaching 1000+ classes. I designed my sign. I chose the colors for my storefront. I created my menu. And, I am an independent small business owner running a restaurant by myself.

In addition, I am very human. I've dealt with extraordinary levels of anxiety and stress, minimal sleep, endless work. Yes, 16+ hours a day, 7 days a week. I have not had a day off in 10 months. So, today, I'm far from the poster child of a healthy vegan experience. My life is not in balance.

However, I feel my sacrifice is worth it every time I meet extraordinary people within our community who are NOT vegan, but open, flexible and express their astonishing joy eating our food. Many of our guests return day after day because of the high their taste buds experience and also because they feel fantastic after eating.

So, I am grateful to have a business on Bergen Street. And, I am grateful Michael and Matthew Pintchik gave me a chance to open Sun In Bloom.

My intention for sharing here is just to invite you into the real story of one store on Bergen Street. Even though I sometimes imagine my life would be easier if I was a Bobo, I am far from the comfortable life of Brook's definition of a Bobo.

And, if you are ever curious to know what is really going on at Sun In Bloom, please stop by. Take a chance. Experiment. You might just be surprised how delicious a gluten free vegan muffin is. In fact, most people cannot taste the difference. And, you might discover a weakness for our Bella divine... a massaged kale salad. We have many guests who are addicted to the Bella divine and did not think they would ever consume kale! Or, discover there are abundant options you never knew existed.

Thank you for being open to reading my post.

Aimee Follette
Sun In Bloom's owner, founder, visionary

lsr said...

if its "gluten free"- im in!! (allergic to gluten it causes me to have infections). but massaged kale?? have to investigate that one!

Anonymous said...

claribel is wrong (in the later post). people of lesser affluence HAVE moved into more affluent areas. look@the history of the east coast cities! im not going into a whole long post of how it starts, but they called it block busting. everyone sells & it becomes a poor drug infested ghetto. i can name several areas where this has happend. (in the 1950s). then in the late 90s & after 2000, these areas had a renewal. i was one of the people who bought into an area that once was jewish & irish middle & upper middle class. 80 yrs before there was an elegant hat store on my corner. some residential pockets remained but for the most part it was a mess. it went from jewish/irish upper to black welfare to combodian to west african working class, &working class irish remained. then white professionals moved in as well in the late 90s. now its encompasses all of the above, each block & pocket is different. my block was very mixed, most people were ok even the project on the far corner on the end of the street. but i had an entire building of people evicted who lived next door!! they had years of warnings to shut off the boom boxes. they were on public rental assistance & were from the west indies. no one except ME could change this. i went directly to the owner, who was just happy getting the govt. to pay the 3 rents. i told him what i paid for my condo. in 30 days the building was vacated, & the renovation started. yes poor people do take over & make their culture more important. & some have NO graditude for what they are given. & yes dirty, dangerous & i fought back!!

Anonymous said...

to add to my post: look@ arizona, & the south west. get your head out of new york & see how mexicans& other immigrants have taken over the culture in those areas. they behave the same way as the animals outside the bars in the EV.

Claribel said...

Anonymous, thank you for your post. I can only speak from my own experience, so I'm glad that you shared yours. As for your second post on immigrants, I don't want to turn Jeremiah's blog into a site for debating current political hot topics, but I hope you'll visit these links:,8599,1717575,00.html

I've traveled to New Mexico and Arizona and have family in California and I haven't seen the animal behavior you describe. Again, only speaking from my experience. I don't claim to be an expert on what goes into the sociological and economic changes in a community. But I would agree that it's important for every culture and class to have respect towards each other and it's a shame that we don't find that in some neighborhoods.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Aimee, thanks for writing. i understand my post could be taken as criticism, but my main point is to see the forest, and not focus on the trees. to look at the city-wide phenomenon and not the individual businesses. like i said, i like the comic book shop and the sex toy store, myself. it's still important to think about what it means in the larger scheme--and to examine our own roles in that scheme, at least to ourselves.

Grand St. said...

Anon 10/17 -
You wouldn't be from Hartford, would you?

If not, why don't you tell us where you waged this heroic battle of yours?

Anonymous said...

1) grande street: i evicted the carribians in dorcestor mass, 1999. all the people on the block were upset w/them even other 3rd world people. these 3rd world neighbors of mine loved me for this. they would hate your white jewish stalinist axx. most people dont want your ideas they want the same peace & quiet jeremiah wants in the east village. i know how to get things done, & its not calling the community police. im sure these evictees were placed into the project on the other far corner. birds of a feather flock together. i know hartford & hes a man of great intellect, experience etc. not sure if hes from conn. 2) as for claribel: go to or something like that. new york does not have much of the problems that the So.west has. & yes the entire USA has been invaded. i deal w/this & am not a visitor to these areas. ask any decent mexican citizen, they are on my side of the fence. when i lived in manhattan etc i knew nothing of the world. anyway YES other cultures do come & take over, you are lucky you have been to the better places during your travels. & not seen what i have. when you live the special east coast/seattle/oregon culture you are in your own little conceptual world. 3) & grande st: no holocaust talk, ok? apples & pears. what happens now is not 100 yrs ago. 4) anyway the bottom line in NYC is development. (actually the mexicans are from pueblo & blend right in. you cant fool around in new york, so its ok being a santuary). 5) to both of you: these outmoded ideas support the "new world order", & yes DEVELOPMENT, & all the off shore payoffs which is funding most of this.

Grand St. said...

You don't know anything about my 'white Jewish Stalinist axx,' f*ckwit.
What I know about you is that you're a semi-literate, racist dolt.

Funny how you knew nothing of the world when living in N.Y., but you figured it all out in Dorchester (which you can't even spell). Here's hoping that you and your alter-ego Hartford stay in N.E. and remain on your anti-psychotic meds.

Stop trying to explain the world, you freaky paranoid. The best plan for you going forward would be to achieve more modest goals.

Best of luck with your neighbors. Don't worry about ours.

Anonymous said...

grand st: you are a carbon copy of my mother. you're both in the same age group, i should fix you up! roosevelt is no longer president. both of you are absolutists. thats a mental illness, like sweeping generalizations. if a person lived somewhere in say 1999, in your mind they are still there. the world is not exactly like "you". thats narcissist. (elderly are very narcissistic worse than 20somethings). you havnt budged off grand street in years. i do international business in real estate, i travel. also my mothers impressed w/big words. she would think you are "verrrysmart". why not give it a try? & yes i do live in new york. except "I" have i world view.

Grand St. said...

You take on noisy neighbors AND sell real estate? You are a real asset to the community, Fritzie, and congrats on flipping your Dorchester apt. into a NYC address.

As to your mom, no thanks, but it comes as no surprise that a loon of your caliber would be offering her up. Why don't you call your boy Hartford, or one of your famous writer friends, and see if someone else can the take the battle axe out for a spin?

...and listen, man, have the last word if you need it, but I'm through wasting time on your garbage. Good luck with the remedial English classes, and watch out for black helicopters!

Anonymous said...

dont flip, dont need too. & dont do mitchell lama.

Olive said...

Manufacturing neighborhoods is exactly what is the crux of the matter, and it is happening everywhere. Alas. The irony is of course that the very same people who want local, organic and REAL, are very willing to just BUY it, manufactured, as opposed to really allowing it to happen organically. We will end up with a thin layer of fake reality over tons and tons of layers of artifice. Just like what is happening on Atlantic Ave, where we now sport an Urban Outfitters, and a branch of Barney's....

lauran said...

almost everyone on this blog (anti bergen st., this includes jeremiah) can eat their words. ED: you should only be so lucky to have this concept thru out "the entire city" since its all high rises, chain stores etc, i would be very happy to see more brownstones preserved. these buildings are beautiful. too bad most are torn down thru out manhattan. as for "manufacturing a neighborhood" well thats always been done. just that, "this" is less subtle. where elderly move to retire (like florida) i see blood labs, medical supply stores, physical therapy, yes travel agents whatever.... where college kids move you see the bars, young professionals gyms, etc etc. i dont think anythings been "organic" (as jeremiah puts it), for decades. things today are really "in your face" subtly & slow evolution is a thing of the past. right now i would be thrilled if pinchick bought EVERY small building i new york. the way things are going, im afraid of large menacing skyscapers & box stores.