All the Other Kids with the Pumped Up Rents

IMAGINE YOU’RE AT A BIRTHDAY PARTY IN THE LES and approximately six negronis deep. Beforehand, you may have also had maybe like three hits of the joint left back home as you were getting dressed and listening to Robbie Williams. Someone mentions Greenpoint, Brooklyn and you suddenly perk your ears out of sheer curiosity wondering what new restaurants manifest the area. Let’s face the music. Brooklyn is just as popular as Manhattan, if not more. (Is Baby’s All Right having another sold out show?)

I asked my Brooklynite acquaintance whom I had met only once previously at an art gallery show, “What restaurants are in Greenpoint?” I suppose it may have been a quick transition from discussing buying “purple drank” on Instagram but the question itched me. Bushwick’s Blanca is still on my list but I have to wait two months just to eat there. I haven’t made my reservation yet. (Does that make me pretentious?)

My friend pulled me aside and suggested that I had too many negronis. I sounded “pretentious”, he said. By all means, I didn’t intend to sound like a naive millennial who just shops at Opening Ceremony and bitches about Uber drivers being too late.

Carry on, Taylor…

So, I apologetically stated that I didn’t want to come off as pretentious and/or demeaning in any shameless notion suggesting that Manhattan is better than Brooklyn or that I’m mocking Brooklyn’s prevalent culinary world.

In response, my fellow Brooklynite replied, “There’s a new creperie that opened around the corner.”

“Well, we should go sometime,” I suggested, as if we were really close friends. That just made me feel even more unsettled.

Dinner was over. I walked away with a bitter taste in my mouth asking myself if I really did come off as pretentious. I know that people, especially my age, are on the fence about the move to Williamsburg, thinking it’s significantly cheaper than Manhattan’s downtown living. In some way, I suppose it’s possible to find a cheaper living arrangement but I chose to live in Manhattan because I’m closer to my friends. It’s not that I chose to live in Manhattan so I could live this fantasy world where I go out dancing every weekend at The Box or eat at Koi. Within this last year, I’ve sort of become this post-collegiate stoner cat person who writes, assists, and manages his own work at my desktop. I’ll go to Angelika Center and see the recent Woody Allen with a friend but I won’t buy a table at some club that has bottle service. Honestly, I really do enjoy the simple things and the convenience of where I live.

Do we Manhattanites or Brooklynites really pride ourselves on our living situations? It may sound silly but really…What does it mean to live in the time of living arrangement stereotypes? It’s not like everyone in Williamsburg listens to MGMT and everyone in Manhattan is bourgeoise and takes Uber. How does that affect the social landscapes and interactions in which we place ourselves?

I asked myself these questions and I couldn’t really pinpoint the frustration that seemed to be erupting within me. Much like the LA vs. New York debate that most of my NYU peers discussed when I had attended the university last year, this debate seemed to be surrounding me in real world settings such as the hair salon, bodegas, and coffee shops. It’s probably stemming from the constant exposure of such an argument that I’ve become that person who rolls his eyes. And here I am asking myself, “Does that make me pretentious?” Eventually, living costs will skyrocket (as they already have) and the debate will end. Right? Brooklyn and Manhattan will both be just as expensive. Where will that leave the millennials that pride themselves on living in New York, NY? Or Manhattan? Or Brooklyn? Whatever we settle for…

If Brooklyn does indeed become the equivalent of Manhattan in real estate price then I just hope that for all of us rent-stabilization is still a thing because we have financial challenges up ahead.

These Fendi Beachfront Dream Homes Could Be Yours

Along with Château Group, Fendi has set up camp along prime Miami waterfront, just two blocks south of the luxury shops at Bal Harbour. When it’s finished in summer 2016, the 12-story condo building’ll host 58 residences — and the residents will be setting down slightly more cash than they would on a Fendi bag, considering the condos clock in anywhere between $5 and $22 million. Perhaps some of your clothing budget can be reallocated? That spend’ll get you Fendi Casa fixtures and fittings, access to a private restaurant, a ballroom, beachfront pools, reflective pools, and an aromatherapy relaxation terrace.

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FENDI Chateau Residences 1

 

STYLE SCOOP: Marc Jacobs Is Taking Over The West Village, Mini Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne

Thanks to Marc Jacobs’ imminent takeover of Bleecker Street and beyond, other retailers are being forced out of their West Village outposts thanks to atmospheric rent increases. No more Gray’s Papaya on 6th Ave? You have Marc to thank for that.

There’s a new Fendi buggy in town, and it’s a mini Karl Lagerfeld. Cara Delevingne carried one down the Fendi catwalk in Milan this morning. Oh, and drones.

 

Farewell 5Pointz: Visit While You Still Can

The landmark factory building and world-famous “graffiti mecca” known as 5Pointz is officially on death row, having lost its latest battle against the landlord and developers who want to see it razed to make room for two luxury apartment buildings. Named to signify the coming together of all five NYC boroughs, 5Pointz encompasses 200,000 square feet of artist studios, galleries and walls covered in graffiti art.

“I made something special with the 5pointz—not me, but the artists,” Jeffrey Wolkoff, the building’s owner, told WNYC. “I created it, a vision, and we’re going to do something special on these buildings, something special by the time we’re finished with it.”

Marie Flageul, a spokesperson for 5Pointz artists, doesn’t see anything special about another luxury doorman building going up in New York, and in this case, she says it’s harming the creative community: “Long Island City is not Williamsburg. Long Island City is not Dumbo. Long Island City has been struggling from day one to keep an artists scene. And everything they’re doing in developing Long Island City is pushing out the artists.”

According the 5Pointz website, founder and curator Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti veteran mostly known through his tag Meres One, had “plans to convert the five-story, block-long industrial complex at Jackson Avenue and Davis Street into a graffiti museum.” He had been seeking a 501(c)3 certification for 5Pointz to receive tax-exempt status, which would have allowed tax-deductible donations. But instead, LIC will be getting two apartment towers, both more than 40 stories.

The site also notes: “Over the past decade, the striking, graffiti-covered warehouse has attracted several hip-hop and R&B stars, including Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Kaz, Mobb Deep, Rahzel, DJ JS-1, Boot Camp Clik, Joan Jett, and Joss Stone.”

A small concession has been made, however. Wolkoff, who let artists cover his building in graffiti since 2002—including a celebrated portrait of the one of hip-hop’s founding fathers, Jam-Master Jay—said that the new buildings will have an arts space “for some artists, not graffiti, but regular artists.”

Not sure what a “regular artist” is, but for fans and purveyors of aerosol-based art, it’s a sad day—and time to make one last pilgrimage to the place known as the “Institute of Higher Burnin’.” The apartment complex’s residents will have to get their art fix from nearby MoMA/PS1, a converted public school that does feature some works painted directly on its interior walls (like Richard Artschwager’s famous pill-shaped “blips“).

Historically, graffiti has generally been viewed by the ruling class as vandalism, but it has found a warm embrace within the confines of contemporary art. Curator and art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, for example, has been a strong defender, having been involved with graffiti and street art culture for three decades.

Deitch’s first show in New York following his recent resignation from MOCA opens today at Leila Heller Gallery and reprises “Calligraffiti,” an exploration of Middle Eastern street art and calligraphy that he curated in 1984. The exhibition is timely. Just this month, the Amman, Jordan-based news website Al Bawaba observed that “[g]raffiti, once the trade of thugs and unruly teens, is having something of a second coming in the Middle East.”

Indeed, while many see graffiti as a scourge, it has often proven to be a unifying social force, particularly for communities that have undergone periods of shared hardship. In her essay “Graffiti as Trash Rhetoric: Debating the Future of New Orleans through its Public Space,” Doreen Piano, associate professor at the University of New Orleans, notes “graffiti’s role in the city’s recovery, engendering a vibrant local writing culture.”

And then of course, there is the art form’s lighter side. “Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing,” wrote graffiti artist and street art provocateur Banksy in his book Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall. “And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”

For more information about 5Pointz, visit their website.

image: Ezmosis