New York


New York, USA

As I ascended the subway stairs at the Bedford Avenue stop on the L Train otherwise known as the "Hipster Express", I was expecting all of my senses to be commandeered. I wanted to see people that looked like they had stolen their parents clothing, to smell the edginess, taste the disdain, hear the word "fundamentally" used to start each sentence, and I kinda wanted to touch the facial hair (just a little bit).

But nothing. Just a square with people rushing about. Brooklyn was just like Manhattan, and not the good part.

So I assumed what I saw was a red herring, and that what I was seeking was never going to be that easy to find. So I stopped to ask a passerby, who possibly thought I was a beggar on crack as I was so friendly, and asked where I could find a bookshop. Surely that would be a natural habitat for hipsters? They must also be believers that actually going to a bookshop and picking up and smelling the books was so much more authentic than ordering online?

I found myself in Strand Bookshop, with a selection like I had never seen before. But it was not overtly hipster; in fact, the facial hair I saw was a smidgen half assed, almost as though it was grown by students incapable of cultivating substantial whiskers. So I purchased a book and on my way out asked the man behind the counter where he would suggest I go for a coffee and to do some work on my computer. He suggested a place around the corner.

More students, but still no hipsters. I ordered a coffee, and it was just a coffee: not a latte, no cinnamon, no internet access, and get this, it was part of a chain store. Not Starbucks, but close. The very foundation I thought that Williamsburg was built upon was crumbling before me. 

But as I looked at the address on the cover of my new purchase I realised I had spent the past two hours in Union Square, which being right around the corner from NYU (when I had seen the NYU signs earlier I just assumed that there was a campus in Brooklyn, even though it had never been mentioned on "2 Broke Girls") explained the lack of facial hair. Alas, it was too late in the day to head to the real Brooklyn, so I waited until the next day.

This time I checked I was in the right place before I left the train, but there was no need. I could sense it as the warm dirty air of the subway blasted me in the face as it now had that tang of aforementioned edginess. 

This time my ascent of the stairs in Bedford Avenue was just what I had hoped for. Hipsters were everywhere. Aesthetically, all the men resided on a spectrum between Rick Moranis and Clark Kent, but both sexes channeled a Hippie / Yuppie hybrid with an Emo heritage. . 

For many of these people, the office is a trendy cafe where they work remotely, critiquing and disparaging the rest of the world online, which is where I am writing this from right now. They drink cocktails out of jars, but not just normal cocktails, "craft" cocktails. Actually everything is "craft" and "organic". Especially the beer. Craft, organic beer. If something is not labelled as "craft" then clearly the creator is not taking it seriously and is setting themselves up for a world of pain and cyber ridicule.

People go slower in Williamsburg – still a cracking pace but paling in comparison to Manhattan – and everything is described as intense. Even the sandwiches. I literally heard someone say, "This sandwich is so intense". I cried #hipstertears of joy as I opened my Mac Book Air and started writing about it. 

At first I was disappointed with Brooklyn, but that was because I was in the wrong place.