Hipsters want to be into The Next Hip Thing before anyone else finds out about it. Because when everyone else finds out about it—well, it isn’t hip anymore.
Journalists share this hipster quality (especially if they work for Vice). Part of their job, after all, is to be good at predicting trends, to be aware of what’s coming down the pipeline before other journalists…to be on the ground floor of a movement to get the scoop.
The predictive aptitudes of Hipsters and Journalists have perversely combined to create the race to find The Next Williamsburg. For anyone who has been living under a rock for the last decade, or is over the age of 35, Williamsburg is hipster-central, the self-ordained coolest place in the universe.
Or was…you see, too many people found out about Williamsburg, so it just isn’t hip enough anymore. Hipster-central has moved farther into Brooklyn, to Bushwick. But THAT won’t do for long. The word about Bushwick is already spreading, and it’s right next to Williamsburg anyway…real original.
So the next Williamsburg is going to have to be far enough away from the original neighborhood that non-hipsterfolk trying to belatedly cash in on the Williamsburg trend don’t accidentally land there and dilute the place.
Journalists have seemed to select The Hudson Valley for this honor. It started with a vaguely-insulting New York Times article three years ago entitled “Williamsburg on the Hudson,” wherein north-bound hipsters are compared to Henry Hudson, which I guess makes us the Indians that died of smallpox.
I guess I can see how like, Beacon (NOBRO—North Brooklyn, the article calls it) could be compared to Williamsburg, with its art scene and its somewhat-urban environment.
But another New York Times Article, “90 Miles Upstate, A Brooklyn Feel,” goes way the fuck off the rails. It throws Rosendale, that minuscule blip between New Paltz and Kingston, onto the Williamsburg train. Allow me to draw some quantified comparisons between the two, courtesy of US Census records.
- Population Density of Rosendale–305 people/sq. mile
- Population Density of Williamsburg–57,896 people/sq. mile
- Median Age in Williamsburg–26.8
- Median Age in Rosendale–42.8
- White people in Rosendale?—90.5%
- White People in Williamsburg?—35%
- Most Common Occupation in Williamsburg?—Sales and Office Occupations
- Most Common Occupation in Rosendale?–Electrical Equipment Mechanics and other Installation
I guess the NYT didn’t look these up, or they did, and therefore decided to rely on more colloquial data. The entirety of their research seemed to be collected from a single café in Rosendale—Market Market.
Market Market is admittedly pretty hipster. The owners are from Williamsburg, and names are literally spelled “Jenifer” and “Trippy.” My buddy Mike Hollis from Secrets hosts a night of music there once a month, and the vibe and garb is very Williamsburg-esque. That being said, I know a lot of the cats in attendance, and they’re not from Brooklyn.
The article takes a vague stab at the other 99% of the town, admitting there isn’t an actual supermarket, but triumphing the “surprising number of restaurants—four on Main Street alone!”
My conspiracy theory about all this is that one of the New York Times editors owns a house in Rosendale (that’s not part of the conspiracy theory—that part’s true) which lost a lot of its value in the housing crash, and he’s just attempting to raise the profile of the town to get his money back.
This may not be the case (though I would feel pretty smart if it was), but it’s something weird, because the notion of Rosendale being the New Williamsburg is just PSYCHOTIC to someone who used to live in there. Rosendale? What does it have on WILLIAMSBURG?
The Hudson Valley is not some pale, wanna-be Brooklyn. It’s something completely different. Williamsburg has smog, trash everywhere, constant street-noise, no sunlight, nothing green, too many pretentious narcissists, too many angry people, obnoxious clothing trends, social status-climbing, miniscule apartments, sky-high rent, stop-and-frisk cops, no animals, too hot in the summer, too windy in the winter…
Rosendale is the opposite of all that. And guess what? I’d rather live here. ‘Cause the Hudson Valley isn’t just different than Williamsburg—it’s better.
Which is why I created this site.
One thought on “IS The Hudson Valley the next Williamsburg? ”
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For dispelling this pesky Hudson Valley + The New Brooklyn nonsense. I lived in Park Slope just as Fifth Avenue was becoming the new frontier and realtors were waxing rhapsodic about DUMBO. I was very happy to leave Brooklyn far far behind so when I started seeing these articles about the Hudson Valley becoming the new Brooklyn I saw red. It’s intellectually lazy writing that assumes one can transpose a community into another by virtue of some people suddenly “discovering” that maybe the Hudson Valley is civilized after-all and then trying to relating to their own experience- “Hey they have coffee shops, and music and Thai food just like we do!” (Ugh!) I moved here because I wanted to be a part of a community, not to colonize.