[Hipster scouting: Bushwick apartment shopping]

Friday, September 19, 2008

It was a dark and stormy day when my roommate, our po-mo hipster real estate agent friend and I went to view a fine piece of Bushwick property: a two-bedroom railroad apartment with a nice view of some dumpsters and the JMZ. I was hungover and moody after pulling a blogging all-nighter and being woken prematurely at 1pm; we had no umbrellas to shield against the rain that freely assaulted us from above.
We approached what we thought was the right address, opened the gate and made our way across what would be a front yard if Bushwick had any kind of suburban charm or was capable of sustaining minimal plant growth. Lacking these things, what we actually walked across was a rectangular plot of cement covered in dead rats.

We reached the awning-less front entrance and realized the Realtor who was supposed to meet us there had not yet arrived. Desperate to get out of the rain, we yelled over to the apartment next door where a Hispanic teenage boy was perched on the porch and asked if we could wait there with him. He shrugged, so we dashed over and joined him.

We caught our breath (while simultaneously lighting cigarettes), and the journalist in me began to formulate questions to ask this young Bushwickian. He eyed our disheveled trio with skepticism and amusement. I started off asking him a few general questions to get a sense of his receptivity, and he told us he lived there with his family and he liked it well enough.

“Is this neighborhood dangerous?” I asked him.

“Over here it’s not too bad,” he replied. “But over on the other side of the train you’ll get mugged if you walk anywhere alone at night.” I glanced at the JMZ as it passed above the street of our potential new residence 50 meters away. Woo. We had landed in the Bushwick green zone!

Then I asked him something that would probably change his life forever: “Are there a lot of hipsters around here?”

“What’s a hipster?” he responded. He seemed confused and slightly embarrassed that he was unaccustomed to this term as he noticed our amused reactions. We laughed good-naturedly, although I was secretly disappointed because I knew hipster scouting would be much more of a chore in Bushwick.

“No really… what is it?” he prodded. I opened my mouth to explain, but knowing that this question often sends me in philosophical spirals, Dustin, the po-mo Realtor interjected.

“Well, a hipster is someone who… dresses kind of like me,” he said, showcasing his slip-on Pumas, V-necked shirt, and home-made khorts. (Note: khorts = kakhi shorts, a variation on the hipster favorite, “jorts”).

“Ooh!” the young local exclaimed with that satisfying realization that math teachers live for. “You mean white boys.”

Perhaps it was the knowingness in his statement that sealed my understanding of gentrification once and for all. “Yeah… I guess,” Dustin said.

After chatting about Bushwick hipsters for a bit longer, my roommate prodded me to double check the address. Turns out I had inverted two digits and we were at the complete wrong location. We bade our little friend adieu and started off to find the correct address.

As we passed underneath the elevated railway, I took comfort in the fact that I didn’t have any money in my wallet.

The actual apartment didn’t have nearly as must character as the rat graveyard. It kind of looked like something one would use for a stage set: a two-dimensional panel that I could have pushed over. The Realtor still wasn’t there, so we went across the street to a gas station, which I think is the first gas station I’ve seen in the whole time I’ve lived in New York.

Inside, my roommate and I entertained ourselves by examining a display of air freshener trees that would scent one’s theoretical car. I don’t know who exactly they were marketing to, since hipsters definitely don’t like driving, but we found one particular flavor highly amusing. Out of the 84 different varieties that all had their titles orderly printed on the bottom of the tree, this one had its title printed askew on the plastic packaging:

"Vanilla Pride."

To whom this company thinks it is marketing this item in Bushwick, I do not know.

Once inside the apartment, which reminded me of the movie Betelgeuse for reasons I can not verbalize, our po-mo hipster Realtor friend called the Realtor trying to sell us the place out on various faults and shadiness as my roommate and I feigned interest.

I’m sure by now you are wondering why I have been referring to Dustin in this manner. You see, Dustin is only a corporate-attire wearing real estate agent by day; by night he is a khorts-wearing, binge-drinking singer/song-writer/guitarist who performs at venues like Pianos in the Lower East Side. After discussing with him the state of his hipsterdom, he told me that he only started making an effort to dress like a hipster after he was accused of being one. By acknowledging the hipster condition and realizing its stereotypes in an over-the-top manner, he effectively claims the title of post-modern hipster. Also, Dustin’s secret dream is to be a model for American Apparel and siezes every available opportunity to conduct spontaenous photo shoots for practice.

Taken in the hallway while waiting for me at teh Mr and Miss Williamsburg Pageant.

Work it...

If this doesn't make you want a gold headband, nothing will.

If this doesn't make you want a gold headband, nothing will.

These pictures were taken in a hallway of Supreme Trading while waiting for me after the Mr and Miss Williamsburg Pageant. So you see, Dustin has the ability to pose in the most chaotic of environments. Here are some of the highlights from his personal collection:

New Year's Eve chic.

New Year's Eve chic

Jock chic

Jock chic

Dramatic butterfly admiration

Dramatic Butterfly Admiration

The Owl Whisperer

The Owl Whisperer

And my personal favorite:

Sensual Penguin Harem

Sensual Penguin Harem


11 Responses to “[Hipster scouting: Bushwick apartment shopping]”

  1. al said

    you really can’t trust realtors who are under 40. seriously, what kind of young person gets into realty? shiver.

  2. Dresden said

    A young person who came from nothing and understands poverty you f*&king KNOB.

  3. Diego said

    We’ve never met and this will be the only one of your posts I’ll ever read, but please refrain from associating the word “journalist” with any writing you do that is of a similar fashion.

    It’s insulting to the profession.

  4. Hi Diego, and thank you for commenting. Unfortunately, I will not refrain from using whatever words I see fit to describe myself and others on this advanced literary platform, but I encourage you to share your grief over this encounter with other complainers in our profession: http://angryjournalist.com/

  5. al said

    “A young person who came from nothing and understands poverty you f*&king KNOB.”

    but doesn’t understand the inherent classism of charging the tenant the broker’s fee? i wasn’t trying to insult you man, i just find young realtor’s creepy. regardless of whether they make a lot of money or whatever. it’s rare a realtor here is really working for the tenant, but if you are, great. but that’s not anything i’ve seen, i’ve only seen realtor’s profiting off renters, but really working for the landlords.

  6. Paul said

    While I find this blog mildly amusing, I also often find it sphincter-clenchingly embarassing, in a way. I suppose it reminds me of when I was young and dumb, and everything was new, and I thought these things were relatively new to everyone else too. Such as seeing a gas station. Sure, there are no gas stations on the Northside of the Williamsburg, or in the wealthy areas of the Upper East Side for that matter. However, it must take advanced-level myopic self-obsession to not have noticed a gas station in NYC (note: there are even several around Houston St., not to mention there’s a bunch in Williamsburg, just not on Bedford). And why would you think a Bushwick gas station would be marketing “vanilla pride” air freshener trees to hipsters, as opposed to the 99% of NYC residents that do not fall into the demographic of young car-less artists or bloggers. Or have I failed to recognize where childish self-absorption ends, and intentionally clueless “irony” begins?

  7. Fred said

    Wait…this isn’t satire?

  8. meh said

    Wait is this satire?? I have no idea… its fucking awful either way though.

  9. Kelvin Perez said

    That was quite amusing. I happen to stunmble on this site and the address craked me up. I reacently bought a 2 family house in bushwick. And i cant understand why so many locals are against you guys, you dont bother anybody, you do your own thing, its your bussiness. I think its great to have more decent people in bushwick. And why do they all think youre ALL rich? funny… It’s funny how only the low lifes want you out. Mosly harmeless idiots. jejeje By the way I have a rental, if you know some one who is looking. sunny 1.5 bed, no view of a dumpster though..

  10. me said

    This shit was fucking funny

    Funny I say, funny!

    I laughed ok. Hard

    Also thanks for the pictures of Dustin, that made my day.

  11. Scallywag said

    My guide Steve, a local artist and I then proceed to navigate down Morgan st, the Bedford Ave equivalent of Bushwick, equivalent in the sense that even here in no man’s land you can find $10 pasta sauce where we come across a collective of hippy types doing hoola hop tricks, while managing to maintain the requisite American Spirit in their mouths.


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