Monday, October 22, 2007

Dumb(o): loathe vs. love


building
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

For all its beautiful views of Manhattan and its lovely parks, Dumbo is really a horrible neighborhood. I went there both Saturday and Sunday, to buy baguettes at Almondine, an awesome French bakery on Water Street. It is believed to have the best baguettes in NYC, and while I am no expert, I do believe it. However the neighborhood sucks. It is filled with RWBs, as I call them: Rich White Boring folks. Dumbo is an artificial neighborhood, one that was created all at once by a few real estate developers. The artists who once inhabited the loft buildings are largely gone, with only a stubborn few hanging on. There was no gradual gentrification, and there is no diversity as a result. The apartments there cost a fortune. So there you have it. A lot of wealthy families with kids (the apartments, lofts mostly, are large) and some Eurotrash sprinkled in for a little variety. I feel very uncomfortable there. It is not the New York I love. It is the "new" New York, which I am beginning to loathe. So I went there, bought my baguettes and pastry, and fled home. Compared to Dumbo, even Brooklyn Heights looks like "the `hood."

2 comments:

she said...

rwb's: -made me laugh. never heard that one before.

and cheers to stubborn artists!

but i'm convinced, even financially wealthy people hunger for art and authenticity; change for the sake of change; contrast; beauty, music, poetry, passion

the saying "starving artist" is a popular one,

but i see just as many "starving bankers"; accountants, developers, doctors, lawyers, etc. -just starving in a different way; hungry souls

i like believing we can all join together on thanksgiving day

feed each other

love, ~s.

medusa said...

I think part of the reason it feels so strange is that, other than the fleeing artists, it never had a real "native" population, but was just warehouses and factories. I'm thinking of the difference between that and Cobble Hill, which while it has been gentrified, still has its core Italian-American families (the young teeenage girls working the bakery counters, the old men who wait tables at their family restaurants, the young moms who share the nail salons with their yuppie counterparts.)

You know, as I wrote this, I was thinking of Red Hook, not Dumbo, but I guess it's similar, although Red Hook isn't that gentrified yet. Red Hook feels to me like a ghost town with a few high income squatters, surrounded by empty lots and garbage. You're right, though, there is something about Dumbo that is very false, almost like a Hollywood set.