Often a reporter, with a small pool of key people to interview, will unintentionally produce a story that resembles one written by another writer. This phenomenon is at work in a Times article on the art scene, and again in one on the Broadway Triangle-child abuse fiasco. But it’s hard to ignore the similarities between the Brooklyn Paper‘s recent story on The Loom, which more or less lifts the one we ran two weeks ago and changes the words and paragraph order.
BushwickBK: Let’s start with the name Bushburg. An amalgamation of Bushwick and Williamsburg, the property management company’s name implies having one foot in two worlds: an ascetic manufacturing-zoned landscape pockmarked by artist lofts and a gentrified, retail-driven culturally dense neighborhood.
Brooklyn Paper: Hoffman is hoping that The Loom will spark the creation of a new neighborhood with one foot in the underdeveloped Bushwick and another in the gentrified East Williamsburg. This spirit is spelled out in the company’s name, Bushburg.
I have spoken to Joseph Hoffman. He doesn’t expect to “spark the creation of a new neighborhood,” he’s not an egomaniac — he simply plans to cash in on one that already exists. And describing East Williamsburg as “gentrified” and Bushwick as “underdeveloped” reveals the extent of the writer’s ignorance — either that, or his underestimation of the reader’s intelligence.
Finally, the addition of several stock mentions of gentrification are stirred in, some bordering on the offensive, such as “the new hipster destination might be the final nail in the coffin for the neighborhood’s local population.” If the reporter had visited Bushwick, he’d note the “local population” (non-white people, he means) is quite numerous. In fact, the addition of some 20 stores to a neighborhood of literally hundreds is no kind of “nail” in any “coffin” — several restaurants catering to Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Dominicans, and of course Puerto Ricans line Flushing Avenue, not to mention the ooooh so scary part on the other side of yonder Flushing Avenue (which constitutes 90% of Bushwick).
You can’t fault a reporter for not knowing every facet of a neighborhood they don’t live in the way a native would — that’s an impossible standard to hold. But the “doom” facing Bushwick’s many communities is a figment of the media’s imagination, augmented with the addition of quotes from the-sky-is-falling activist types.