Everyone knows that it's the artists that precede the speculators and developers in the makings of a hip neighborhood (Read: Soho, Williamsburg, Dumbo) . In the spirit of this process, the Times intrepidly set out to find the next Williamsburgs, and their journey led them to Ridgewood/Bushwick in Brooklyn, Washington Heights in Manhattan and even into Staten Island's artist's enclave of Stapleton. The close proximity to like minded individuals, cheap rents, and transportation (apparently it's fine even in Stapleton) are the obvious and legitimate draws to these neighborhoods, but how are these newcomers changing the areas they colonized? At least in their opinions? Well, all Staten Island residents should know that “Stapleton is where the art kids hang out.” And in Ridgewood, they're at the Gottscheer Hall, a bar that's been open since 1924 and has finally been freed from the shackles of lameness. Now “it’s cool because we make it cool.” Finally, our Washington Heights crowd has somewhat oddly noted the newly classy laundromats and hardware stores. Less oddly, more people "like themselves." And we know what that means.
But, alas, it's not all beers and fancy laundromats. There's the dark side to life on the edge. Among the complaints? “Coffee is a major problem,” “And there are no local bars that serve craft beer," and “It’s not yet the cutest."
· Follow the Drips of Paint [NYT]