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Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Restaurant Week’

The story is that 4 “thirty-something hipsters…including a well-known illustrator and designer, and a Vogue Australia scribe” bought a building on Bergen between 6th Ave and Carlton that is home to 5 rent-stabilized units. And the people who live there.

The law is that the owners can evict the residents for “personal or family use,” and that’s what they’re trying to do.

The new owners are artists, which has surprised some people:

“You’d think as artists these people would basically have better politics but they’re basically building their dream house on the backs of long-term rent-stabilized tenants,” [Brent] Meltzer [a lawyer for one of the tenants] said. “When they bought the building, they got it for that price [$866,000 in 2006] because it came with five-rent stabilized tenants.”

The comments on this Village Voice article aren’t too surprising – poor people have it easy, poor people have it hard, why would you think artists would have good politics? et cetera.

What seems interesting to me is the value or culpability that gets attached to “coolness”:

Yeah, those damn poor people. They have some nerve paying their rent, with regular rent increases, and living in a neighborhood that no one wanted to live in until Mr & Mrs Yuppie & their partners decided that it was “cool” and bought a building below market rate. And some of those tenants are senior citizens. How dare they not just move out onto the street because a greedy couple doesn’t have enough to satisfy them.

Coolness is a funny thing. Sometimes when something is trendy it is because it is a good thing that can really improve the world (the sustainable food movement?) or sometimes it is trendy because it helps people feel better than other people (remember bling?), and most of the time it’s some of both (um, like both of the above examples).

OK, but what I’m really getting at is the fact that every cultural convention we have started as some kind of cool trend… whether it became cool because it helped people not die as often or as quickly (hygiene, vaccinations, etc.) or because it helped people not be disfigured freaks (not sleeping with your cousin – what’s cooler than that?).

And right now, gentrification is cool. Thirty-somethings are coming of age who were raised by baby boomers. The baby boomers thought the coolest shit was to get rich and move to the suburbs. The thirty-somethings think the opposite is cool. And the baby who is raised wearing Sonic Youth onesies will eventually grow up to be a proper lady.

Gentrification clearly affects peoples lives in a much more serious way than baby fashion. And this type of gentrification is possible because of free-market capitalism and our legal system. The whole way our society is set up means that whoever has the most wealth will get to fuck the most people. And there are way richer people than these artists who have inevitably made these artists feel victimized before… but in this situation the artists are clearly doing the fucking.

And people who’ve grown up poor are obviously the ones who get fucked over and over again by this system. Councilwoman Letitia James was at a block party/rally to protest the attempted evictions. Which is great. Support your electorate.

letitia.jpg

Pic from Village Voice

But it’s hard to be totally into it when the most recent decision to come out of City Council is a ban on metal bats. Not anything about renters, eminent domain, or evictions. In a situation like this it’s really only a change in law that could keep these tenants in their apartments. Or in the next building that this happens to, to keep the tenants in their apartments. And so on…. And what happens when all those yuppie owners/livers are her electorate? That must be a scary thing about being an elected official in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood. Huh.

Because it is a trend, and it seems unlikely that case-by-case advocacy could change that. If it could, would we have ever seen another publicly fucked-up celebrity after 12 year-old Drew Barrymore finished rehab?

youngdrew2.jpg

No.

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From: xXGeorgieBushieXx@hotmail.com
To: KarlRove19283@yahoo.com

“OMG!1 Dude, man…Gonzo is being friggin’ ripped to shreds. They want to interview you man, but LOL I’m the pres-E-dent. LMFAO. I’ll show them !!one!1!!!11!. Hold on, I’m sending more troops to Iraq.”

That’s what I imagine the personal, secret, emails between the administration officials sounds like, since the Republican Party set up a private email server. Which sorta/kinda/mostly/does breaks a law. There’s this nice little thing called the Presidential Records Act, which is based on the idea that public/government work is public record, and that the ownership lies ultimately with the public. So it’s automatically saved. It’s part of the idea hoping for a “transparent” government. This is frightening for our current administration, because our president is scared of teh internetz and umm…accountability:

“I tend not to e-mail – not only tend not to e-mail, I don’t e-mail, uh, because of, uh, the different record requests that could happen to a president. I don’t want to receive e-mails, ’cause, you know, there’s no telling what somebody would e-mail me and it would show up as, uh, you know, part of some kind of a story that – and I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘Well, I didn’t read the e-mail’ – ‘But I sent it your address; how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about e-mailing.”BUSH (youtube)

Luckily, other people in the administration use email. Rove is on the cutting edge of science. And since they were not on the government’s email system, they have to give them up (no executive privilege). Except…drats Rove accidentally deleted his emails regarding congress’ investigation into the whole GONZO thing. It’s not his fault though, the whole White House was just really confused:

“…any deletion of e-mails from the Republican accounts was sparked by confusion over a White House policy…” – CNN

Awww, poor guys. The interweb is a big scary place, especially when you throw in laws and policies in the mix. Well while they get everything straightened out, can someone buy them this book?

 

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Saddam Hussein, in an elaborate ruse worthy of the Three Stooges, somehow managed to escape the execution that was legitimately captured on some dude’s camera phone. Or so says a gaggle of conspiracy theorists.

I would just love this to be true if it would mean a little more heartbreak for George Bush.

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Adding on to Recklesley’s wonderful Brooklyn Restaurant Week review, I’ve included a few more revelations from last night’s meal.

A la Brooklyn Skeptic Team:

4) No matter how fancy the restaurant, never shy away from taking real life experiences, and making them into dirty jokes.

Johnb: Our cable bill was $92.00 last month. We were charged for a porn we didn’t order. Then when I called the cable company, they didn’t believe me.  They told me they were going to have to investigate my box.

5) Never, never throw away extra wine.

Johnb: [Recklesley], do you want the rest of my wine?
Reck: Does it have alcohol?

6) When trying to relate to your French waitress, try to incorporate the “language of love” into conversation as much as possible.

French Waitress: How was everything?
Plainclothesman: C’est delicious.

Remaining Brooklyn Skeptic Team: Yayyyy!

This is a lie. Plainclothesman did not do this. However, the B.S. team informed him that he should, the next time he finds a French waitress attractive. But only if we can all be there to witness it.

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Last night, Brooklyn Skeptic hung up its dick jokes and aired out its potty mouth for an evening of fine dining courtesy of Brooklyn Restaurant Week. We chose to stuff our faces – elegantly – at Miriam, a “fusion Mediterranean” restaurant on 5th Avenue in Park Slope. Because it is Restaurant Week, we could actually afford to eat here on our proletarian salaries and thus we could escape from gruel for one precious night.

Some revelations:

1. Even in the dim lighting, with full glasses of wine and spicy scents swirling around us, the discussion veered towards why Derek Jeter won’t take his towel off in the locker room. It’s because of his vagina.

2. There is really only one way to describe Kofta kebab: by making dirty gestures to the waitress and repeating “is it balls?”

3. Despite essentially being a European, Plainclothesman has wine anxiety. He is a Cabana Boy connoisseur though.

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