Monday, August 18, 2008

the campus life...

The hipsters, who have taken over the neighborhood where I now reside, have turned it into to a post college campus. People in my apartment building leave their doors wide open. Like we live in a dorm. And across the street, there’s the coffee shop that’s also a video rental place next to the Natural food store and deli counter. And on the other side of Campus, or two blocks up and one over there is another coffee shop, a bigger natural food store and another complex of warehouse loft apartments.

In college we got work study service. Now it’s hipster service.

I leave my apartment and go across the street to the coffee shop and order a toasted bagel and cream cheese. Seven minutes after I order, the barista notices that I am waiting for something.

Barista: Oh yea you wanted a bagel right? Toasted? Cool. Yea alright. And cream cheese? Ok. Right on. Yea.
Four minutes later
Barista: Can I help you? Oh right man. Here’s your bagel with peanut butter.
Me: Mine was cream cheese.
Barista: Oooh , I totally gave cream cheese to the guy who wanted peanut butter.
Me: It’s cool, I’ll take peanut butter.
Barista: Right on.

I take my bagel home to find that it is in fact cream cheese.

My street looks like a Broadway set for the musical Rent. The old brick buildings have been professionally graffitied with huge mural-like street art, in bright colors. If it weren’t for the occasional rat I would think I was in the Brooklyn exhibit of Disney’s Around the World at Epcot.

A few blocks away there is genuine graffiti and the kind of streets you don’t want to walk alone at night. But here, at the heart of campus, they’ve taken the look of the street and made it cartoonish and PG. We say we live in Bushwick and cab drivers roll their eyes, “One of those Urban Pioneers. Ten years ago I wouldn’t drive out there even in broad daylight.” But they take us there now. Our little community has smoothed over the grit, polished up the rough hew and settled in.

And we still get to say we live in Bushwick. There’s a certain ‘street cred’ with living so far out. We won’t settle for Williamsburg, that Satellite Manhattan. No. We are too authentic for so cookie cutter a spot as off the Bedford stop. We live off Morgan, that Satellite Williamsburg.

My boyfriend meets me late on Friday night when I finish my shift at a West Village restaurant. On the way home, we stop in Williamsburg proper for my favorite: bar burgers and beer. Spike Hill offers excellent both so we commandeer seats at the bar and commence to munch. When the second or third round of beers is gone, (somewhere between 2 and 3 AM) Boyfriend finds it difficult to get the bartender’s attention. Two girls with those busy, studded ankle strappy sandals and brightly colored sundresses come up and easily get service. They order very specific mixed Grey Goose drinks. Boyfriend, who just wants another Stella, begins to steam.

“These fucking girls. This is Bedford. They don’t even know what this place was ten years ago. It wasn’t SEX AND THE CITY.” He spits out the words with contempt but I am mid-bite and unable to remind him that recently I arrived home to find him knee deep in season 3 with my roommate. “It was crack dens and punk rock!”

I swallow, and say pleasantly, “Oh. So you were there?”

He ponders this for a split second and says, still indignant, “No. But at least I wish I was.”

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