Thursday, September 18, 2008

New York Magazine Blind to the Hotness

In yet another frustrating example of the mainstream media's blinders for all things Bronx, New York Magazine's September 22nd issue contains an article, "How Far From the Office Is Too Far?," which compares property prices of neighborhoods with their proximity to midtown's Grand Central Station.

Great idea right? Except they didn't even bother to include the Bronx in their fancy-ass travel time chart! This is truly insulting. The Bronx is insanely close to Grand Central Station! With MetroNorth's Harlem and Hudson lines slicing through the borough, Bronxites can be at Grand Central in 15 minutes. In addition, those straphangers who live and die by a monthly MetroCard can take the 4, 5, or 6 trains and be at Grand Central in about 45 minutes. There is also Express Bus service that gets you into midtown quickly.

I'm not sure if this is misplaced anger or not, because New York Magazine sites as their data source. Either way, it's just bad journalism to overlook such a key part of the NYC commuting puzzle. The Bronx has just as convenient proximity (if not better) as any other borough.

Don't even get me started on the fact that New York Magazine almost never, ever utters the word "Bronx" in terms of their other real estate reports, cultural event calendars, or restaurant reviews. But just in case you were worried that they weren't covering Brooklyn enough, you can calm yourself down... They did a huge feature on a dime-a-dozen Mexican "street food" joint, La Superior, which just opened up in Williamsburg. Now that's news! What a joke.

I'm starting to think that Brooklyn has some sort of a Heidi Montag/Spencer Pratt arrangement with the media...

New York Magazine: We realize that you are the Stevie Wonder of media outlets, blind to anything that is not Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens... Come with us and let BoogieDowner be the seeing eye dog that guides you to realize the splendors of our borough.

*Blind person photo courtesy of*



Anonymous said...

It Just goes to show the The Bronx is flying under the radar of the gentrifiers, which is a good thing.
As we see in Williamsburg or as I like to call it YuppyHipsterVille once it's on their radar it's all down hill from their. The Bronx is experiencing a revitalization that can be a bohemian utopia if we can keep the YuppyHipsters and greedy developers at arms length. There is a flourishing culture that has been developing in the Bronx since the eighties, yes The Bronx still has bad "hot" spots but those are decreasing while the "Good" neighborhoods are increasing. Let's just hope that with the with the downturn for the current economy we don't see anything near what happened to The Bronx in the seventies.

Anonymous said...

It's because The Bronx is the worst borough.

Everyone knows this except people who grew up there.

No one moves to the Bronx by choice.

Boogiedowner said...

Lots of people move to the Bronx by choice. My wife and I are counted among them. What gives the Bronx the "worst borough" designation in your mind? Is it the affordable housing? Great parks and green space? Maybe the easy access via public transportation?

Get out of the 70s. Howard Cosell's been dead for a while. Haters only hate on hotness. So, thank you for hating and confirming the hotness of the Bronx.

Anonymous said...

I think part of it comes from the fact that few NY Mag subcribers live in the Bronx. And it's not as if your average Bronx bodega carries the magazine. In other words, it's easy to ignore a borough in which few of their readers live (or know about, or care about). They do it with Northern Manhattan, too. Look at their restaurent reviews. "Uptown" is considered 59th St to 80th St.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the outrage. So you love the "hotness" and are a happy first wave gentrifier. Why do you need media confirmation to validate your choice? It's kind of sad, really. Do you want to live in an area with "great architecture and great parks" or are you actually envious of the hipness of various Brooklyn neighborhoods, and would be living there if you could afford it? A little schizo, from the way it looks.

Boogiedowner said...

Not schizo at all. Would you not be a little upset if the place you love was never covered in a positive light? That's what BoogieDowner is all about: getting the word out that the Bronx is hot. What is so schizo about that? Brooklyn's a very fun place, but it's different from the Bronx and insanely expensive. BD is letting people know that there is an outerborough alternative to $500K 1 bedrooms in Brooklyn. Keep hating if you like, or move to the Bronx and enjoy the parks and architecture. Or borrow some dough from your rents and move to Bushwick.

Anonymous said...

I would only be upset if lack of positive media coverage somehow had a meaningful impact on my life. If things are good for you over there, then what do you care about getting the word out? Unless you feel like there aren't enough people like you there yet, in which case you should be upfront - you feel like the Bronx isn't yet gentrified enough for your tastes.

If you bought, and are trying to raise real estate values, then that makes sense too.

Boogiedowner said...

We did buy in the Bronx, but that really isn't the only reason for BoogieDowner. We really are trying to be cheerleaders for a borough that has been marginalized and written off for too long. Believe me, there is no desire to see the streets of Bedford Park clogged with art school dropouts and unemployed hipsters. BoogieDowner would really just like to see the Bronx gets it due. If your sibling got all the attention and praise, but you were equally (if differently) successful and accomplished, wouldn't you be upset? The anger and outrage expressed is not at what the Bronx isn't, but rather at the negligence of the media in nor covering what the Bronx is (not what it might have been 30 years ago). Make sense?

Anonymous said...

I guess. It's just that usually "anger and outrage" at the media is generally warranted when the media's negligence directly leads to some unjust result, as in, why is it that when a white girl is kidnapped, it leads all the major networks, but when black kids are shot down in shitty neighborhoods, it gets no play? This kind of negligence downplays the problems of urban crime in the public's mind, and leads to fewer resources being devoted to areas that need it most etc etc. But what is the downside of the media not paying attention to the Bronx's "hotness"? Well, for one, it probably keeps rents low for all the people that have been there for decades and are renting. Why is "outrage" justified? You may not want the area to be "clogged" with hipsters, but the first step to "clogged" is "sprinkled with" which is certainly what you are helping to usher in with your PR campaign. Giving your neighborhood more exposure will cause it to change - this will be a direct consequence of your actions. It follows then, that you are not satisfied with the neighborhood the way it is. That's fine too, but why not be straight up about it?

Or maybe you hope that your blog can be the next "Brownstoner" and make you money on the side. Nothing wrong with that either.

Anonymous said...


My take on it is that if you lived in a place where family and friends don't visit because they simply do not have the facts and have an outdated and unfair image imprisoned in their brain, then you too might want to be doing all you could to get the word out that the 30-year old stereotype is clearly misquided, unfair and a THING OF THE PAST.

Of course, any newbie with a conscience will continue to wrestle with (and hopefully guard against) the negative economical, social, psychological and moral implications of "gentrification" but things are happening very differently in the Bronx than say -in Harlem (where clearly "progress" and development cut a very quick and unkind path through many areas, with racial tensions being an expected outcome). Hit-and-run, greedy developers (without roots, ties or emotional investment in the area) are to blame. Most people I meet here in the Bronx(from old-time renters to newbie owners) all seem to have the same result in mind when they hold out hope for the Bronx - a return to a safe, clean, friendly and beautiful borough. I also will add that, in my opinion, the type of person that moves to the Bronx at this stage in its "renaissance" is markedly different from one who would flock like sheep to the Williamsburgs of today. Who's to say how that will change once the Bronx truly becomes hot, but right now, people are really cool, easy-going, open minded, community-oriented and able to live easily and happily among others outside of their socio-economic or racial "class".

I invested here two years ago and love it! Do I want to see my property values rise? Of course! Do I want to see unbridled gentrification and class stratification - no! But mostly - do I want people to think they can come here to visit friends, to eat at our many wonderful restaurants and to visit our lovely outdoor spaces without having to worry about getting shot or mugged or eaten alive by boogeymen once they cross "the border"? Of course I do!

Simone Davis

Boogiedowner said...

Amen sister Simone...Amen! Well-put...

Hey anonymous, if you're so skeptical of why BoogieDowner reps the Bronx so hard, I ask you why you have such a strong opinion about or interest in the image/reality of the Bronx? If you're free to question our motives, please divulge yours.

Anonymous said...

My motives are that I have a massive short position on the Bronx! If you fail, I make millions!

Seriously though, I have strong opinions on everything, and the tone of the protest, the outrage, just struck me as misplaced.

One reason is due to my personal experience. I grew up on the deep LES, where Chinatown and the projects border the middle class co-ops. I used to get mugged on the way to elementary school, but I also used to love buying fireworks in Chinatown and playing in East River Park. In the mid-to-late nineties, my college years, I was cheering on gentrification, because hey, everyone I went to HS with thought I lived in the projects, and nobody ever wanted to go hang out where I lived. I was (and remain) in the target demographic for all the things that gentrification brings. I like going out late, interesting restaurants, art galleries etc. And boy was I thrilled in those heady years, when I saw that the place where I grew up and continue to live was turning into everything I wanted from a neighborhood - a real place with a real, diverse population, but with the amenities that I like.

And now, as the wave is sweeping deep into Chinatown, I wish it could just stop already, but I know that it won't. I own, too, so it's not like I'm bitter or priced out or anything. It's just that, I like it the way it is, and quite frankly, when see articles in the Observer or whatever, about what awesome shit there is to do below Grand street, it makes me sad. Media coverage gets results, and I feel as though the area has plenty of upscale things that I like, and that the next step will be Duane Reades and bank branches, like the East Village.

So, for me, there has been enough gentrification (though my opinion is irrelevant - neighborhoods will develop as they do, and there is little anyone can do about it) and when I see a blog like this raging against not getting enough trendy pieces written about their neighborhood, I naturally infer that for you, there has not yet been enough gentrification, which is what such coverage will bring. This is how I felt about the LES in the nineties. There is nothing wrong with that, but let's just call a spade a spade.

That's my motivation - nothing more and nothing less than an opinion shaped by personal experience.