Southern Brooklyn Says “Meh” To Hipsters, As NY Times Discovers That Southern Brooklyn Exists


The hipster DMZ line. (Source:

Breaking news from the New York Times: there are hipsters in Brooklyn. Oh, and Southern Brooklynites exist, and, shucks, even have opinions.

The Times recently sent a reporter out to Brooklyn neighborhoods on the hipster-less side of the Die Hipster DMZ line to find out what we really think of the unending waves of trust fund-fueled square-state rejects redefining Brooklyn chic.

The verdict from our neighbors? “Meh.”

Or, as the New York Times puts it:

To many longtime residents in some of the borough’s unaffected corners — in the rough-edged and timeless Brooklyn that has endured in places like Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay, Brownsville and East New York — the renaissance is still being watched with amusement, nervousness and even dismay.

Among the many yuppie-hipster trends sneered at by those in our area, supermarket politics earned considerable ire:

They cited the idea of boycotting products as a political protest, a proposal that was heatedly debated by Park Slope’s food cooperative in regard to Israeli foods.

“You’d never see anything like that here,” said George R. Broadhead, head of the property owners association of Gerritsen Beach, on Brooklyn’s south shore.

Ms. [Jennifer] Avena [of Gerritsen Beach], 35, said the greater availability of organic vegetables or sustainable, grass-fed beef in a place like Park Slope holds no appeal. “If they think it’s healthy, it’s fine with me,” she said. “But it’s not for me.”

But it’s not just diets that have some local residents looking at their Northern Brooklyn counterparts with raised eyebrows. Though the reporter appears to have wondered aloud if Southern Brooklyn folk are a little jealous of quaint coffee shops and sidewalk cafes, local leaders set  them right, noting that we’ve got more important concerns – like getting our share of the city’s services.

 Greg Borruso, president of the Marine Park Civic Association, said the residents of his south shore neighborhood “are constantly reminding elected officials we’re here, we’re a voting area, we take care of our homes and of each other, and we want to make sure you don’t forget us.”

“What happens when you’re not in the paper a lot and on TV, you’re kind of forgotten,” he said, “so when we ask for something we don’t always get the same response.”

Meanwhile, Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo cut to the core of the difference between our side of the DMZ line and the hipster’s side:

“Here, everything remains the same,” Ms. Scavo said. “They don’t want Trader Joe’s. They don’t want sidewalks crowded with cafes. They want a residential, suburban lifestyle. We’re not looking for innovative ways to do things. I have a hard time setting up a DVR.”

Most residents, Ms. Scavo said, shrug off Brooklyn’s glossy new neighborhoods and are not interested in emulating them.

“When people hear about the new Brooklyn, they say let them have it,” she said.

That sounds like a polite way of saying the “new” Brooklynites are a bunch of attention hungry try-hards; down in our end of Brooklyn, we’re just trying to live our lives.


  1. I would LOVE having a Trader Joe’s in Mill Basin – it’s really my favorite store, and I would do most, if not all of my shopping there – we certainly have room for one in these parts…

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  6. I would like to see an all organic supermarket in Sheepshead Bay. Yes there is organic produce available there, but the selection is limited and you can’t get everything organic, only some things. I’m not crazy about Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I currently frequent the Flatbush Food Coop and that is better than either of those stores, and you don’t need to be a member either.

    I’d also like to see more vegan friendly restaurants in South Brooklyn. I usually end up somewhere in hipsterland when I eat out because I’m vegan.

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  15. Dont worry about the hipsters, they fold when you scream BOO! We need to worry about the squatters that follow them. I’m sorry, I meant the 99 percent. These dirtbags think they,re entitled. You cant miss them, pastey white, dressed in black, full of tattoos and in desperate need of personal hygiene.

  16. Nuts and dried fruits. TJ’s buys large amounts of staples that our supermarkets sell as specialty. Breads and pies are good and reasonably priced, less than roadside country markets. Meats and vegetables are high. They do not sell these items in 2 price ranges. Very disappointing that they all do not sell wine. They had some real buys on 14th St.
      I was told the employees (cashier,stock) have no med. insurance but are paid much more than the minimum wage. I could be wrong.

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  18. Cheaper.  Take an item like Cheerios. Trader Joe’s brand is considerably cheaper, and the quality is just as good. There are many other examples. Olive oil, mustard, really too many to mention.

  19. People keep talking about Trader Joes. I’ve never shopped there. What’s so special about it? Is it cheaper than the local supermarkets?

  20. Prices for Trader Joe branded items are cheaper, and the quality is as good or better than most of what you can find in supermarkets like Key Food / Metropolitan et al.

  21. I’ve rarely seen such prejudice and stereotyping as I’ve read in responses to this article. It’s quite shocking to read here.  If such things were said about another group of people, the posts would be assaulted, then deleted, not promoted and agreed with. 

        I had occasion to make the occasion of many Park Slopers in  the 90’s and 2000’s on a steady basis. To be sure, their politics was repulsive to me. Aside from that, they were little different from me, whether young or old. We enjoyed the same types of restaurants, talked about the same things, laughed about the same things, felt the same things (of course the usual generation gap existed with the young ones, but no different from normal). If a weirdo like me could fit in, then I can’t imagine what this enormous divide is about. They’re far from aliens.

      Last year I invited an ex-coworker, about 25 years younger than me, to Coney. He lived in one of the “hipster” areas.  I spent the entire 3 hours trying to figure out if he was a hipster or not, even  while talking about hipsters sometimes. I doubt if he knew himself. I think he was too intelligent to be bothered wondering about such a label, the dude was bloody close to a  genius in my opinion. I doubt if “hipster” can even simply be defined.

        I suspect that what is behind this whole thread is one issue: the prospect of higher rents should that DMZ line move south. Or else youth jealousy, I don’t know.

  22. Trader Joe’s isn’t inexpensive what attracts customers is all the yuppie hype! You pay a third less out of the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Park Slope. Even the Park Slope Coop is a joke with their restrictions and policies. I want to shop not be held to a contract. So many have dropped out of the coop due to their demands. Bring in Trader Joe’s and you will attract the very people you don’t need. The type that move to your neighborhood on the pretense ” family oriented environment” then look down their noses at long time residents.

  23. Flatbush Depot on

    I appreciate Trader Joe’s because it tends to have better quality products, a wider selection, and better deals than most commercial grocery stores like Key Food, and I never viewed or heard any advertisements about the place, neither have I witnessed anybody raving about the place incessantly..

  24. Gravesend Boy on

    Maybe we should end this hipsteriaphobia and be generous to our neighbors to the north.  They have McCarren Pool and a pop up cooler at Brooklyn Bridge Park that opens at 10:10am.  We have adult lap swim that starts at 6am (see photo)

  25. The line is somewhat south of the map’s division. I think the old LIRR Bay Ridge tracks is the true demarcation line.

    It does seem to me that the hipsters would get swallowed up among our diverse population. Nobody would really pay much attention to them, and they would slither away to where they can be appreciated and disparaged, they seem to desire both to be happy.

  26. Pepsirunner262 on

    I live in marine park I would love to see a trader joes here they have great deals and great products plus I like some pabst blue ribbon and schaefer beer the hipsters our okay to me

  27. I don’t see the evil of the hipsters. I like the culture. I wouldn’t like to see our neighborhood change totally, but a little hipster culture here would create some nice diversity here. I think it’s slowly coming to Coney.

  28. former Park Slope resident on

    I just noticed the similarity between the words “gentle vacation” and “gentrification!”

  29. former Park Slope resident on

    The worst thing that can happen to a neighborhood is to get discovered by the media. I lived in Park Slope in the 1970s paying a nice, low rent. Then “New York” magazine published an article about the delights of life in Park Slope and titled it “Park Slope, a Gentle Vacation.” I remember having a sinking feeling. Then up went people’s rent to ridiculous amounts, and middle class and working class people got priced out.

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  31. Exactly.
    I’m old, but not that old.  In fact, i can teach Ms. Scavo to program a DVR…

  32. sheepshead hand,  our end of Bklyn has ALWAYS had outdoor eating places, only they werent called ‘cafes, they were social clubs – check out old pics of the boardwalk before the russian restaurants.  and the bay was full of FISH SHACKS, even lundy’s was just a fish shack back in the beginning..where you ate your seafood outside :)

  33. trader joes is so over-rated and whole foods isnt as ‘whole’ as one might believe them to be… its mostly ad hype, seriously  :)

  34. you would be surprised about how many smart bright hip accomplished arty movers and shakers choose to remain in our end of bklyn where they came from and ‘commute’ to hipsterville…  do their thing and then be able to return to a real life lived without having to be HIP 24/7. and we do have all the amenities the other side of BKLYN has only we don’t consider it trending, it just is.

    and whoever said we dont have art galleries, we do.  we have all of it BUT the transplants from tribeca are afraid to venture past the tip of Prospect park… I think they saw “warriors’ one to many time… as for me I say GOOD :)

    We took a ‘hipster’ to the ballgame with us on july 4th…  impressed him with our ‘box seats’ and spent the entire time pointing out local landmarks and letting him know what he doesn’t have on HIS side of Bklyn that we casually take for granted out here… then we watched the fireworks… took him for a hot dog at THE ORIGINAL Nathans and sent him on his trainride back to hipsterville while WE headed over to L&B for a spumoni before heading HOME.

  35. I read that article and I am disappointed at hearing Brownsville and East New York residents saying, “I want to see gentrification here.” If that happens, these would be the same people crying out, “the rise in rent is killing me, I’m ready to move out.”

  36. Henryrollinsrocks on


    To be fair though, I’m friends with a major administrator at the Park Slope Food Co-Op and the political/Israeli food debate was not fueled by any of the issues this article addresses. It was actually a really serious threat from pro-Palestine activists that threatened people’s lives over their agenda.

  37. I read the article in today’s New York Times that this posted topic alludes to. It was written by Joseph Berger (who it seems, the Times always uses as their outer Borough expert and maven!) a reporter and writer, who once claimed, without any supportive evidence, that East New York nutured as many elevated and talented people, as Bensonhurst, the old Borough Park, Flatbush, and Sheepshead Bay have! He is as clueless, as the rest of the rable, who now write about Brooklyn, and especially the Brooklyn, south of Prospect Park! I found the article both amusing and sad. Amusing, from its’ first false and stereotypical paragraph, and Sad that the old gray lady, once considered the newspaper of record, seems to be joining many other parts of the media, in defining and making the news, rather than responsibly reporting it. We folks in Sheepshead Bay and its’ environs are supposedly dismayed and disheartened, that such areas as Park Slope and Williamsburg have come to define the cool and real Brooklyn ( Though when GQ a few months back, dubbed Brooklyn the coolest place in America, the headline did not specify what part of Brooklyn!) as compared to those areas south of the Slope. Right! We are dismayed that we don’t live near a Superfund site! Right, we are disheartened, that when we come out of our homes, and apartments, we are not bowled over by the so called hipster mommas pushing their strollers in the vicinity of the Barnes and Noble and Mehodist on Seventh Avenue! Right! We are dismayed that for many of us, we can practically walk to our Bays and Ocean, and take in the delights of a Brooklyn summer evening, rather than tripping on the crooked sidewalks on the way to Prospect Park! Right! We are dismayed that we live in areas that historically and presently, have always been the safest parts of Brooklyn! Ironically, I would think that it is the southern parts of Brooklyn, that conjure up the warmest memories, for those who not only grew up there, but those who still call the place, home! Also, if anyone has bothered to look, we are booming too! To be fifteen minutes, closer to the City, they can have it!!!  

  38. Yesterday I saw an old old jeep driving on the belt like there was no one there besides that jeep. Cutting people off , speeding, stopping , going left then right..   then he took exit 8 going towards brighton.. and as we passing it by my wife goes like..  lets see who is the asshole driving this junk..  I looked.. guess who? Bunch of unshaven, in glasses from 70th with 
    Fedora  Hats hipsters ! wow There goes brighton I told her.

  39. heh, Trader Joes is not verified distributor of “organic” foods and there for can not be considered as Hipster store .

  40. Old Sheepshead Hand on

    The article isn’t just referring to “hipsters”. Hell I got called a hipster by friends just for liking bands that made their start after the late 1980’s…and I’m from Sheepshead Bay all my life, dammit. One man’s interest is another man’s hipster bull. See?

    The article was trying to see how the overall gentrification of Northern Brooklyn is playing with the natives in Southern Brooklyn. You know the run by now – first some the artists, then come the hipsters (defined as trust-fund types who don’t work and latch on to artistic hubs), then come the yuppies (who work), then the yuppies become parents…

    I’ve ranted my share of rants aimed at Yipster Gentrification. The valley girl accent, the not-so-subtle dislike of old things in New York, their terrible ways of raising children, etc etc…but the article makes a certain section of the natives look worse. Guess which set? Sheepshead/Gerritsen/Marine Park AKA Working Class Ethnic Whites With A Enough Money That It Shows But It’s Not Exactly Thurston Howe Around Here.

    Ms. Scavo in particular came off badly. Gerritsen Beach hasn’t changed in 30 years (and remains a wonderful poster child of white hypocrisy when bad things happen in non-white neighborhoods) but Sheepshead Bay? What do you call the last 25 years? There’s a lot more former Soviet languages, foods, and cultures around here than yesteryear. The sidewalk cafes she’s poo-pooing…what do you call that extension on El Greco? And the cafes all over. To quote my own Bronx-and-Brooklyn raised sister – “The Russians…they like sitting outside at cafes a lot, don’t they? Pfft” (true story). 
    So please, lady. 
    A lot of what she said came off as just grouchy old timer, which can be cute if perceived right, but in print and in context, it came off very bad.

    Also curiously – Midwood and Bay Ridge were left out of the article. Perhaps the demographics in those neighborhoods were too complicated for the reporter. They were going for a basic summary: In Still-Native Brooklyn, Minorities Want a Slice of the Gentrified Pie While Non-WASP Whites Like Alienation and Look Towards Long Island.

    Anyway none of it matters. To quote the old BSG…”all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.”

  41. ScarlettOhara777 on

    I so wish we had a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in Sheepshead Bay.  I would be their number 1 customer…

  42. Gravesend Boy on

    The NYT elitism was on full display in the article.The article is so full of gibberish that only a hipster would believe. Scavo’s answer to the reporter was inane.  The reporter doesn’t represent me but Scavo does as she often says “they” meaning “we”. And I bet the reporter selectively quoted her to make his hipster point.  I hope so. Otherwise it is not too cool to be proud that you’re a moron. But face it. Hipster creep has reached the Kensington and Ditmas Park neighborhoods.  Check their blogs and the skyrocketing rents in Kensington.  You can always tell hipster creep in Brooklyn when south is added to a neighborhood like South Slope and South Prospect Park.  But we need to be innovative and smart and we need bright, young people in our community and on the Board to challenge old tired assumptions.  Change is inevitable.  We should embrace it on our terms rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

  43.  see i think our area is better then the other side of the dmz…. the hipster side had this north korea type of feeling where they are happy and good… but if you look… its fake…

    our side isnt suburbanas Scavo said… we are a city, and most of us can set up a DVR with little issue… unless you have optimum… thats another store…

    out side of brooklyn, the real brooklyn, where the world went to play, where the beaches are. were the realest people you can me are from…

    and in the term of arts.. we have plently. we dont need galleries… we have real art all around and those of us who are artists… are true to the craft..

  44. Good point. We don’t have any lack of organic stuff or even artisanal stuff. For example, JoMart has been making handcrafted chocolates for decades before Mast Bros. showed up; we’ve got the most authentic Georgian and Armenian breadmakers, we have restaurants that make their own wines, some that make their own cheeses. 

    The difference between these guys and the twerps up north is that down here, they don’t pull any of the “look at me, I’m an urban pioneer” bullshit. They just keep their heads down, do their work, and, in the end, will outlast any of the scene-sters once daddy’s money runs dry.

  45. this notion that because someone lives in southern brooklyn they are grumpy old farts who don’t want any change and can’t even operate a dvr player is really dangerous. I am born and raised in marine park and now live in sheepshead bay and hate this divide. I get as annoyed with gentrification as the next person, but that does NOT mean that I want this area to rot into forgotten oblivion which is exactly what will happen if nobody embraces any change at all. I DO want a trader joes here and I think it would do really well in this part of Brooklyn. Its an inexpensive alternative to insanely overprices supermarkets like Key Food.
    why don’t we deserve it? Who’s to say that just because this is southern brooklyn we shouldn’t have anything new? 

  46. Henryrollinsrocks on

    Yea Sheepshead has all of the good things the north end of Brooklyn has (organic produce, sustainable meat, nice cafes, great restaurants) without any of the pretentious crap or trendy branding. I’ll take my pickles from Russians and Italians long before I take them from one of these trendy Williamsburg pickle companies.

  47. MarineParkMommy on

    I’ve lived on the “unhip” side of Brooklyn all my life, but I would love a Trader Joes or Whole Foods in the Marine Park area. It would save me train fare going into the city to shop for that stuff. They can keep the little cafes and stuff.

  48. I dont know bout you alls, but i wouldnt mind a trader joes in the area. And in Sheepshead bay we do have cafes with outside seating… 

    We just dont have transportation that runs efficiently.

  49. the Hipster side of Bklyn is settled by people who can’t afford to live in Manhattan…so they try to bring Manhattan to Bklyn.  Fine, if that is what they want but please don’t try and bring Manhattan into SOUTH Brooklyn.. we like our side of the ‘DMZ” line just the way it is…  we dont want or need your gentrification and urbanization.