Cities around the world have stopped hoping to be the “Paris of (insert city here),” and now want to be the new Brooklyn according to the Daily News. Julia Cosgrove, editor of AFAR travel magazine, tells the paper she “can’t bear to read another story about it.”
What are the cultural signposts for what makes a place “the new Brooklyn”? Tired cliches like beards, fixed gear bikes and farm-to-table food, explains the Daily News, which succeeds in reducing all of Brooklyn — a borough larger than Boston — to hipster-ism. In reality, only a few neighborhoods have been overtaken by this homogenous lifestyle; if Brooklyn were its own independent city, it would be the fourth largest in the United States.
What the trend piece is really pointing out is that certain neighborhoods in cities around the world are being improved, converted or gentrified by creative people — which is certainly happening in parts of Brooklyn, but that’s not really what defines it. Brooklyn also has a tradition of mom and pop businesses, Coney Island, incredible old brownstones, botanical gardens, a thriving hip-hop scene, and on and on. It’s been such a ripe cultural zone that this list of 100 greatest Brooklyn-ites might, at first glance, look like a list of the 100 best famous people of all time.
Artists will take over neighborhoods, and people with tons of disposable income will do annoying things everywhere, but it’s best if we don’t follow the Daily News’ lead and think of our own Brooklyn as New Brooklyn, either.