Crime is UP – in Williamsburg. I had this whole entire convo with my pops on Sunday regarding this very subject. “My friend said they’re attacking white hipster boys on bikes” quotes the article.

Ask any local. We all saw this coming.

Before I even go any further, I definitely do not condone beating up hipsters or any one for that matter – unless of course they deserve it. But just cause you’re a skinny tattooed white boy on a bicycle, that doesn’t mean you deserve a beatdown or to get robbed. But that’s what’s happening and it’s simply because of sheer ignorance of the new influx of people moving to neighborhoods that they naively think are safe.

Just because your real estate broker calls it Williamsburg, don’t mean it’s the sunny Northside. Just cause it’s off of Bedford doesn’t mean it’s near the Bedford L and just because a place seems ok during the day with families and friendly folks doesn’t mean there aren’t thugs and criminals strolling the streets at night.

I don’t think it’s right but come the fuck on, you’re almost asking for it! And then you’re all upset that your iPhone got snatched out of your hand. And filing police reports and getting all crazy because YOU moved to a neighborhood that wasn’t whitewashed enough for you. Almost everywhere in the country, no matter where you’re from, I’m sure there’s a ‘hood near you that you wouldn’t go to at night. An area that everyone recognizes as unsafe. Hey guess what? We got those areas, too and you’re moving to them!

Now don’t get me wrong, these areas are changing. And have already changed quite a bit. When I was a kid the Kent Avenue stretch was a haven for prostitutes and drugs. I can remember riding in the backseat of my parents car and seeing DOZENS of hookers walking the strip. That was only twenty or so years ago.

But in the haste to afford a cool spot near all the new hot places, young whitebread kids from suburbs around the country are figuring, what’s one more stop on the L? What’s a few more blocks from train? What’s the big deal if all the others places on the block look like they’re abandoned except for my condo? THINK about it.

I’ve heard things even going on in Greenpoint. And more so on the side of Gpoint I grew up on – McGolrick area. Gossip around town is the Poles are taking to beating up and robbing hipsters. It’s not funny, but it’s almost ironic how we used to beat up the Poles and now the Poles are beating up the hipsters. It’s like neighborhood initiation! The locals and Poles have stopped attacking each other and have turned their sights to the new kids on the block. It’s almost touching to see the Polish kids all growns up and becoming little thugs and badasses themselves.

But then you realize that there are always some thugs and badasses who take it too far. And people are getting seriously hurt. But these people feel threatened. Locals, Poles, Hispanics, Blacks. We all feel threatened. Things are changing and a lot of families are being forced out. And so now we’re not fighting each other anymore – we’re fighting what we feel is our collective enemy. And they call thy enemy ‘hipster’.

All the anger and frustration – however displaced it is – is put upon that moniker and all the blame and hatred is aimed directly at the new people in skinny jeans and big sunglasses. It’s the new prejudice.

When I talk to someone who I’ve grown up with in Greenpoint, the conversation always turns to ‘the fucking hipsters’. I’m almost shocked at the animosity sometimes because I’m not like that. I don’t hate them with every fiber of being like some people around here do. But then my family moved from Greenpoint on their own accord. Before the ‘boom’. Maybe if my family stayed longer and my sisters grew up in the same neighborhood I had, I might feel differently. I might feel more like I ‘own’ this hood. I can understand where they come from, but to me, sometimes it’s just a little too far over the edge.

But that doesn’t change my point – if you’re not from here, you have to watch yourself. Just think of when ‘new’ people came to whatever town your from. A new kid moves into Podunk, TX and starts the first day of high school not knowing anyone. Imagine if they came in acting like the owned the place and sat at the cool kids lunch table or gave the head cheerleader a dirty look? Ok maybe my imagery of the rest of the US is like a John Hughs film but you get the point.

NO ONE is nice to the new kids who act like assholes.

Join the Conversation

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  1. Your last few lines are spot on, and those are the type of people I mean when railing against “hipsters.” Not every transplant into the city is a hipster — hell, what makes New York great is its tapestry of immigrants, both international and domestic, and natives — and hipsters don’t understand that they can be a part of something larger because they’re too busy not conforming.

  2. Right on! This isn’t hipster central where you move into your hipster community and all is well and hipster happy. This is a huge, diverse city – thus the basis of it’s appeal – and recognizing that others were here first should make you appreciate it more. You want fresh bread and mozzarella? Graham Ave L stop for the Italians. Puerto Rican pride? Montrose L stop. Brooklyn is so authentic which is why the “artsy” kids are coming in. They’ve just gotta realize it’s not quite theirs. At least not yet.

  3. While NYC is not as dangerous as it used to be, it still isn’t the middle of Kansas. While I do not advocate the robbing or beating up of hipsters, they are getting a bit of a trial by fire. Having grown up here I keep my wallet in my front pocket, always lock my windows, etc… These people moving in still think they are in the suburbs. They run about flaunting their mp3 players and cell phones, they leave their bags unattended, they chain their bikes up overnight, leave their car doors unlocked and a lot more. Unfortunately for them NY is a real city where this cannot happen and they are being taught lessons for their carelessness.

    They seem to think that since NY is diverse that people will let you go about your business no matter how you look. this is true to an extent. The hipster look is synonomous with easy mark. Frankly with no muscle and no clue as how to even walk down a street you are easy pickings to people who are poor or pissed off about something.

  4. Folks, you need to face reality. Gentrification is gonna happen, and it’s not all hipsters. I walk to Vernon Jackson every day, now there’s some real gentrification. You’ve got to figure that hipsters are just the first wave, and they’ll get pushed out just like the previous tenants, probably more quickly. Just look at what happened to Hoboken. That’s probably Greenpoint’s ultimate endpoint: a new Hoboken. I don’t think anyone would look forward to that, but we need to accept it and move on. Gentrification is driven by bigger forces than fashion trends, and it will ultimately affect everyone, not just the folks who were born in Greenpoint.

  5. I totally agree with you about gentrification! It’s happened and continues to happen throughout major cities across the country. I’m not a hater of gentrification myself, this post is really just talking about some of the effects. It’s the growing pains.

  6. You make a lot of sense but I was attacked at 7am in the morning. I am not a hipster, do not have skinny jeans, do not have tattoos and I am not an asshole. I am one of the people that got “seriously hurt.” I’m writing to warn everyone to be careful at all hours not just at night. It’s scary.

  7. Thank you Justine. I would also like to add that I am a native New Yorker. I do and have always respected and appreciated the other types of people around me and the neighborhoods they live in. Unfortunately, this did me no good while I was heading to work and was attacked from behind without warning.

  8. I got my iPhone snatched out of my hand in broad daylight right in front of buffalo exchange on driggs. (I was lucky enough to get it back when someone drove after the kid down the street.) I am not a hipster, i am a native new yorker, and just a regular person who happens to really like living in the neighborhood. I was not being reckless or naive in talking on my phone on the street, just acting normally on what still seems to be a relatively safe spot. I’m sure the anti-hipster trend is real, but please don’t generalize by dividing these neighborhoods into Poles (or whichever ethnic group), locals, and hipsters with tattoos. I’m sure if someone wants to rob you they don’t care about the tightness of your jeans or the size of your shades.

  9. David, I think it goes without saying that other people besides hipsters get robbed in the neighborhood.

    I also think it goes without saying that not every single person can be lumped into a category or generalization – there are exceptions to every rule. But the reason generalizations and stereotypes exist is because they represent the ‘majority’.

    I like to think that people who live in NY already know those basics without me having to post a disclaimer or tutorial in every post.

    With that said, I feel awful that your iPhone was snatched out of your hand while you were talking on it but it’s New York and shit happens. As a native NYer you obviously know this.

    I was mugged right in front of my Junior High School when I was 14. A couple of guys came up and snatched my gold nameplate right off of my neck. It doesn’t matter whether someplace seems safe or not – if someone wants what you have, they’re gonna take it.

  10. If you were to walk down the street with three or four hundred dollar bills, would you be surprised if someone tried to snatch it from your hand?

    Of course, no one would do that… they’d know it’d be a dumb thing to do.

    So what’s the difference between that an easily-sold electronic device that’s worth the same amount?

    That really struck me the other night when I was in a bar in the neighborhood and a group of three guys went outside to smoke, one of them leaving his iphone on their table. Surprise, it was gone by the time they came back in. Personally I wouldn’t leave even a few dollars sitting plain sight in a bar while I went outside. The bottom line is that if you want to carry expensive stuff around you have to recognize the risk. That has nothing to do with Greenpoint or Williamsburg; it’s universal.

  11. That really struck me the other night when I was in a bar in the neighborhood and a group of three guys went outside to smoke, one of them leaving his iphone on their table. Surprise, it was gone by the time they came back in.

    I can’t even imagine someone would be moronic enough to do that.

    And I agree with everything you said in your post.

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