Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back in Brooklyn - Rant

I'm back in New York after what felt like an over-long trip to Los Angeles. Over-long because I have become irrevocably attached to my Red Hook coven; feel naked without my office, feel incomplete without the routine lunch break, afternoon break, view of my garden...

But now I'm back and can't get up before 10am. What's more, I was up all last night finishing a book I was certain would end on a dark note, when much to my dismay everything got wrapped up like a neat bow. I invested all that emotional energy feeling terrible for the characters, ready to tell their story like my friends had just been through the ordeal, only to be told they won their case and lived happily ever after.

It's just as well I would complain about any of that. It's a sure sign New York has infected me. Also, that I'm spending too much time alone in here.

So today, I went for a bike ride, and guess what...


And by that I mean there are no independent stores as such. Just places that happen to carry a few things to tide us over in case amazon won't ship some bougie start-up their Buddha Lounge cd same-day. (Warning: BIG chip on Anne's shoulder. Long bike ride to no avail.)

Previously, I had been inured to this in the West Village. As a matter of fact, a friend ran a bookstore/record store on Bleecker at Christopher ages ago, and all kinds of people hung out in it. The neighborhood association politely kicked him and later, Kim's Records out of there because the wrong kind of people were hanging out there - poor people/teenagers.

Now, I'm not saying South Brooklyn is too stuck up for its own good...but I am.

See, eventually, the West Village let Kim's back in, but only after the store became exclusively DVD-trade. People like their up-and-coming neighborhoods to cater to very specific loungers - older spenders. Up-and-coming neighborhood associations want their 21+ upwardly mobile adults at the bars, and 30+ baby-pushers at baby store A to Z between Atlantic and 1st Place alone. Seriously folks, I started counting the baby stores on my way back, and had to stop at 12.

AND IN ALL THAT MADNESS, NO RECORD STORES???!!! No record stores because local after-schoolers would loiter long afternoon hours without spending any money. Practically no bookstores (one great but tiny one) for essentially the same reason. Clothing stores with egregious price tags and the Y is on the busiest section of a main thoroughfare so if you go you won't hang out outside afterwards. In other words, make your neighborhood retail and hangout experience one that costs a lot and you're guaranteed no kid loiterers.

Remember when teenagers had a place to go? Record stores, arcades, comic book shops (to be fair, there is Rocketship in the 'hood- great comic bookstore), stationery outlets, etc...Where do Brooklyn teenagers go? And is the market for baby shit really so prescient that an entire HALF of the population can be excluded?

All at their own expense. Does South Brooklyn realize how much money I'm ready to drop on cd's and books? Let me at 'em. Someone, please, tell me I don't have to go into Manhattan to browse for music and books...

BTW, the mosquitoes continue to reign terror over my apartment. Does anyone have any advice that doesn't involve my smelling like Pledge 24-7?


Anonymous said...

Oh, should have gave you a whole can of Karori Senko while you were in L.A....


Assholier Than Thou said...

the lack of recordstores speaks more to the collapse of the record industry rather than any sort of gentrification conspiracy. those selfsame kids who used to hang out at the stores are now hanging out at stereogum and pitchfork online and downloading all their music. its sad but true.

and you think you have it bad, my only music choice these days is to take an hour subway ride from flushing to the virgin megastore and pay their exorbitant prices for anything with a halfway decent broad range of selection (good luck in finding anything mainstream in other music or other hipster record stores these days...also, its hard for me to spend any time in there without wanting to punch someone). anyways the days of those few independant record stores are numbered...soon all of us who still love the physical recording package will only have the interent as our only recourse.

also be glad its mosquitos and not the spot of poison ivy i picked up in taiwan..

morelikespace said...


ill iterate said...


I just crapped myself.


Someone just made the argument that there is actually that much demand for baby stuff.

It could totally be worse. You could be buying cassette tapes one-off's in Chinatown.

Assholier Than Thou said...

sadly, babies dont sound as good when you put a needle to their foreheads while theyre spinning

but on the plus side, babies are much easier to buy both in flushing and chinatown