God Save The Hipsters! (Maybe)

True Story
Summer 2003
Brooklyn NYC
A young, one-year-out-of-college graphic designer moves to New York from Washington, DC with about $2400 and a few more unemployment checks on the way, some furniture and an “in” on a great share apartment in BK. She’s fresh, talented and in about five months, she is flat broke. She contemplates getting a normal (read: retail) job but knows she has one last resort-Mommy. Mommy has paper, Mommy has a nice house in DC, Mommy has food…maybe she should actually move back with Mommy? She doesn’t, she manages to turn that $300 into $3000 in about four months and manages to survive until the winter, ultimately asking for the Mommy-bailout when she really needed it six months later after her evil landlord sold her apt.
I’m not the typical “dollar and a dream” New Yorker, but that is my little story. And I’m not ashamed to admit that the five-figure (major typo: 4-figure) check, the only major check, my Mom wrote me was gold from heaven, and even though she told me never to ask again— I always knew I could, but also inherited my thick pride streak from her that stopped me from doing so. So when I came across this article in the Sunday New York Times about how the national economic shift is hitting home, literally, in the oh-so-hipster-gentrified-trustafarian ‘hood of Williamsburg, I found myself laughing to the point of tears. It seems that parents “back home” are no longer cutting those checks to their 21+ year-old “I live on my own” kids anymore. Really? Can you just imagine the looks on these kids faces? Like “What do you MEAN you aren’t paying my rent anymore? I haven’t found my calling yet DAD!Here is the breakdown:

National Recession > Businesses forced to layoff/cutback > Households forced to scale back spending, etc > Spoiled Brats who have decided to “find themselves” in Williamsburg have had their monthly allowances cut-off and have to get “jobs” > Condos, businesses who were thriving from said brats are now losing money > Rinse & Repeat.

Parents! Billyburg needs you to start cutting those checks again, the small businesses can’t afford the turnover rate – help save New York! My fave clip from the article:

” Luis Illades, an owner of the Urban Rustic Market and Cafe on North 12th Street, said he had seen a steady number of applicants, in their late 20s, who had never held paid jobs: They were interns at a modeling agency, for example, or worked at a college radio station. In some cases, applicants have stormed out of the market after hearing the job requirements.

“They say, ‘You want me to work eight hours?’ ” Mr. Illades said. “There is a bubble bursting.” “

OK, seriously, I am still in my twenties and don’t get it. You move here, and you have to hustle to make your own-it’s the NYC way! I know that this isn’t just restricted to New York—some of the “trustafarian” contingency of Berkeley (Nor Cal), The Mission district (San Fran), and just about most of Seattle are also feeling the heat. I just know it—someone had to pay for that fancy fixed-gear bike that you still can’t ride that well. (LMAO! Because I almost crashed one last weekend -Steely D!)

This entire situation reminds me of a convo Steels, Mahogs and I had about how lazy interns are these days (Bobbi not included because she’s AW-Mazing). In our biz (media/advertising) you have some kids who just bounce from spot to spot, stealing rolodexes and faux-rsvping their way to the “the top”—and for what? To be know as “that kid” by your peers? Meanwhile, they live off of their parents, who are essentially “throwing money” at the problem. Maybe this recession will actually have some unexpected cultural benefits, like and increase in morality and work-ethic, two things that could really benefit us all one day.

29 year-old rant=done. with love, J.Baker

Read: Parental Lifelines, Frayed To Breaking {NYT}

Last 5 posts by Shannon Washington