Friday, February 22, 2008

The Great Park Slope Hating Debate, Part 134

We wrote this on Wednesday night, then posted some of it on Curbed at lunchtime. It was on Gawker later in the afternoon, which added a poll about whether people would live in Park Slope. (67 percent of the votes so far are for moving to Park Slope and 37 percent are for moving to Hoboken.) What started the latest "Park Slope Hating Discussion" was a journalist's posted question on the Park Slope Forum on Brooklynian:
I'm the writer who wrote the Time Out New York Kids article last spring about why people hate Park Slope. (I wrote the penultimate draft of the article, anyway; it got edited rather beyond recognition -- without my OK -- and wound up snarky, which was not my goal.) Anyway, humbly/-ed, I'm back, now writing a similar, but more in-depth article on the same topic for New York Magazine (interesting, as they've fueled some of the hate themselves). The difference will be that this one will focus not just on WHAT people say they hate about PS, but also WHY the hate seems to have become a meme of its own. Why PS and not other gentrified, Bugaboozled parts of Manhattan? Why has Park Slope become shorthand for all that is evil and twee? Why is the hate so virulent -- WHERE (beyond anonymous blog posts) is it coming from? Envy? Rage against the suburbanization of all of NYC, with PS as ground zero? Simple cooler-than-thou-ness? Something else?
We left it alone for 24 hours to allow the discussion to ripen, if not marinate. And now it it is ready. Here are a few choice samples, with the first one being a brilliant summary of things that would definitely seem to be pressing some hot buttons:
Off the top of my head, people hate park slope because of stroller wielding nazi-moms that clip your ankles and baby talk their children about how rude you are to be in their way. People hate on park slope because they will go on for DAYS, nay, WEEKS about a boys hat. Well, how _do_ you know it is a BOY'S hat, you misogynist pig? People hate on park slope because they post stupid questions about why they should have to pay for their nanny's ticket to Europe, after all, she would never be able to go to Europe without them, shouldn't she be chipping in? People hate on park slope because the guys wear stupid pants. People hate on park slope because they go on for days about whether they should be allowed to bring their strollers into bars, nevermind the foregone conclusion of the children. People hate on park slope because there is a MINORITY there that seem to have lost touch with reality, and they do stupid things as a result. Think Tom Cruise. Everyone loves a car wreck.
Although, we also like this analysis:
In my long-term view, Park Slope was at its ideal before 1980 when it really was laid back and diverse when other parts of the country really weren't: bus drivers, legal aid lawyers, librarians, artists, teachers and bankers all hung out on stoops and talked to neighbors passing by. But, there were only a few restaurants back then too. People would sit around saying, What we need is a good bookstore/bakery/chinese restaurant...and soon one would open. A smart friend once told me that Park Slope was described by Marge Piercy, the writer, as a place where old radicals from the 60s went. (btw, I've looked for but never found the quote, so it could be bogus). It certainly felt true.

Once people - Wall St types - starting moving in, primarily because they could get better rents/real estate deals than in Manhattan, things started getting sharper, more ugly. I still love Park Slope in all its expanding borders (a woman couldn't go safely south of 3rd St or west of 7th Avenue back then and there were frequent gang dust-ups at Union and 5th) but hate what money has done to it. Nothing except realtors and banks are left on 7th Ave. I am so sick of hedge fund scum moving in and immediately gutting their new "investments." Every summer my quality of life is ruined by some nearby construction project only inches from my outdoor space, kicking up noise and toxic fumes...Finally, as much as I dislike what the Slope has become, I still love living here among the beautiful architecture, near the great cultural institutions and the park, and, yes, even the smarty-pants people.
And we must say we also enjoy this comment:
What people are really talking about when they say, "I hate park slope" is that they don't like a few people they know who live there, or met there, or had a bad experience there. Hell, I was hit by a motorcycle in Naples, and I can't stand the place because it's indelibly linked to a bad memory. Doesn't mean Naples is a horrible place. The bottom line is, Park Slope has an enduring, eclectic population and an incredible conglomeration of personalities.
The entire thread now extends over five pages, not counting the commentary on Curbed, Gawker, et. al. We know that more will follow.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Park Slope because there are too many people there who look exactly like me: white, upper-middle-class, over-educated. It gets taxing to be constantly confronted with your own entitled reflection and think, my god, is that what I've become?

In more eclectic neighborhoods -- politically, socio-economically, ethnically -- there's some escape.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

People hate on Park Slope because that's what people do. Hate on stuff. Where's the fun in espousing the positive of something or of some place? Hating makes for good reading. Just look at Joyce or Bukowski. It's not just Park Slope either. People hate on every single neighborhood in this city. People hate no matter what city they are in. This is not news. You have to admit that reading all the hate is just as much fun if not more than reading the police blotter.

At least it snowed today. I know all those god damn babies will be out in snowsuits and sleds in place of carriages running over you on the sidewalk.

Where can well live???

2:16 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

My sister lives in Jersey. She says they hate the Staten Island and Brooklyn trash that move to their neighborhood. Ohhhh the irony.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Park Slope because the newer immigrants want a neighborhood without struggle. They won't work to make schools good and they won't work to make the streets safe. They want it handed to them and as a result they have no real feeling of community.

They're also selling 7th Avenue to the highest bidder and it will soon look like Montague Street- all franchise and very dull.

11:20 AM  

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