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May 15, 2008

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Noel. Dude.

Persian food on Main Street and 64th Ave.
I took you and Ivan to the Flagship.
Also, remember Woodside - best Thai ever (cash only).

Right! Exactly!

Am I saying what I think I'm saying? What do you think I'm saying?

Props to Queens: Brooklyn like it used to be. And still is, in some parts, just not as many as before.

Cool, I'm famous!

At one point in college I very much wanted to visit Brooklyn. It seemed wildly glamorous and exotic to someone who had grown up in increasingly-cookie-cutter Northern California suburbs.

Following the links: Complaining about Park Slope stroller mayhem is actually retro. I've been hearing about it for years. Personally, I love the abundance of little kids in the neighborhood. It makes every season spring.

On the other hand, Knipfel is legally blind, so he might not be kindly disposed to moms tooling their suburban assault perambulators as if the sidewalks of Seventh Avenue were time trials at Talladega. (Knipfel is also from Wisconsin. With a name like Knipfel? of course he is.)

Since my preference for Brooklyn is well-known, and predates the current generation of hipsters, I feel the really important question isn't the Brooklyn versus Queens debate -- which will extend into the 2020s now that Long Island City, Astoria, and Jackson Heights are being colonized by the next wave of proto-yuppies -- but why is the dude's blog called "Girl in a Cage" when it has a real absence of, you know, girls in cages. I'm disappointed.

Because the key protagonist in his novel "Donorboy" identifies with the statue of the girl in a cage in a Boston-area graveyard.

http://www.brendanhalpin.com/girlinacage/what-the-hell-is-girl-in-.html

I admit I'm not familiar with *his* familiarity with anything New York. But many of his novels are set in the parts of Massachusetts where I spent my first few years, and he was an English teacher, and I learned quite a bit about how to deal with my own high school clientele from his book "Losing My Faculties."

Mm. There should be a symbol for "tongue in cheek", which I should have used, having read the explanation for the name before I posted.

I think Noel overstates how the different boroughs appeared in the American cultural imagination. Queens was Archie Bunker and Fran Drescher land, bigoted and annoying. Brooklyn was the home of the Sweathogs and the Beastie Boys and the Warriors and Tony Manero. The Bronx, that was a burnt-out Fort Apache (which even its worst days, was never the whole of the Bronx). But Cleveland, um. The river started on fire, and it claimed to be the home of rock and roll.

Anyhow. Hipster/yuppie immigration to the New York area has classic elements of chain migration. It's not all about rents. There was an attempt to hipsterize Hoboken in the late 1990s, which didn't work. Same thing with Astoria. Park Slope got the young professional writers -- who are, alas, not exactly hip -- and I think I can trace that chain migration to individual personal networks of Park Slope kids who went to distant universities in the 1980s, the neighborhood never having experienced complete suburban flight.

I think you meant to write "understates," Carlos. I suggested that in the national imagination, Queens had no image, except perhaps as Generic White Ethnic Suburb (e.g., Archiebunkerland), while Thebronxandbrooklyn shared two contradictory images: Tony Manero v. Carlito Brigante. Or, if you'd prefer, Lords of Flatbush v. Fort Apache. "Still like the good old days" versus inner city disaster, white flight, burning rivers, and all that standard stuff.

But thinking about it, though, you're certainly right.

Hipsterization is strongest in Williamsburg, of course, flowing out now over Greenpoint and Bushwick. It might not have been the rents, but I do remember at least one, "You do realize that you're gonna get mugged at some point if you move there" conversation in the early 1990s.

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