“I think this is it,” says Sarah Nitts, a graphic designer who first moved to Williamsburg in 1999, back when Kokie’s was still a thing and Kent Street was just “a barren, terrifying wasteland filled with tumbleweeds and not awful tourists licking Smorgasburg stick off their fingers every weekend.” She continues: “I moved to Bushwick to get away from it, and then I moved to Crown Heights to get away from it. Now I’m in Bed-Stuy. But the Urban Outfitters post-grad douches keep coming in, pushing us out. It’s like triple gentrification or something. I’m moving back to Manhattan.”
It’s a sentiment that was shared by many, a visceral response to Catey Shaw’s “Brooklyn Girls” video, that has since caused rents in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas to plummet over the last two days as its current inhabitants have had to come to grips with the fact that Brooklyn has officially lost all credibility, and is about to be increasingly filled with the very people they were trying to escape when they moved away from Manhattan years ago.
“You know when someone comes back and tells you that your favorite uncle was actually a serial killer chopping people up into little pieces on weekends, and you’re like, ‘No, don’t say that about my favorite uncle! He was my favorite uncle!’ And your world is like this crumbling mess of confusion and sadness. That’s how this video made me feel,” Nitts says. “I don’t think I’ll ever look at combat boots or nose rings again. Not even septum rings, which is a shame, because I really liked those.”
With graffiti, skateboarding, crop-tops, green hair, shaved heads, neck tattoos, trees, aluminum siding, and shoes hanging from telephone wires now officially uncool by proximity to this song, Williamsburgers fleeing the neighborhood are heading towards the Upper East Side like it were a refugee camp. “It’s clean there,” says Nick Bates, a studio musician we caught making the trek over the Williamsburg bridge, suitcase in hand. “There’s no irony, no one knows what normcore is, people don’t pretend to not be rich like they pretend to not be rich here. They’re just rich. If their parents pay their rent, they own up to it. Everyone here just wants to look poor. I’m just looking for some honesty, man. There’s honesty on the Upper East Side.”
Note: No real people were actually interviewed in the making of this article. Rents in Williamsburg are still overpriced and the chicken is, and will always be, free-range and organic.