The Tattooed Footie Pajama Set
Hipstes really need to get over their early life crises.
Mr. McNeil is one half of the lauded street-art duo Faile, known for its explosive swirls of graffiti art, wheat-paste sloganeering and punk rock. He wears his hair in a top bun and bears tattoos with his sons’ names, Denim and Bowie, on his forearms. His wife, Nicole Miziolek, is an acupuncturist.
“We were the we’ll-never-leave-Brooklyn types,” said Ms. Miziolek, 36.
But faced with overpaying for a Brooklyn home that would barely contain a life with two young sons, they decided to look northward. “When we checked towns out,” Ms. Miziolek recalled, “I saw some moms out in Hastings with their kids with tattoos. A little glimmer of Williamsburg!”
First, I don’t think the tattooed footie pajama set has started tattooing their children. Yet. Second, what is it with the Peter Pan syndrome? The focus is always on “man up,” and we all know that 40 year old who is doing it wrong, but the girls are just as bad. It’s just like that TV show “Downton Abbey.” Except in real life, everyone is like a character from “Girls,” only two- or occasionally three-dimensional, and they sip fair trade organic bourbon and soy milk while reclining in said footie pajamas and refusing to admit why they like “Downton Abbey.” In other words, same as it ever was, only with different accoutrements.
Young families have been moving to the suburbs for as long as there have been young families and suburbs. That many of the young families moving to New York suburbs should be Brooklynites, and that many of them should fancy themselves “creative types” and that they, like their parents and grandparents before them, should believe themselves capable of bringing their superior sensibilities to the land of compromises and comfort should come as no surprise. See:Revolutionary Road.
And yet, the New York Times has seen fit to print yet another style section feature on thesuburban exodus of Brooklynites called, what else, “Creating Hipsturbia.”
What seems to be entirely lost on these suburban pioneers (and The Times) is that despite their tattoos and their gluten-free baked goods and their farm-to-table restaurants, they are following in the exact same footsteps as their forebearers. The creative types who have long condescended to settle in the small towns of the Hudson River Valley have always carried their tastes with them, along with the notion that they may be in the suburbs, but they are not of the suburbs.
I didn’t think hipsters were generally religious, but apparently I was wrong. I should have guessed given the dogmatism shrouded in irony.
Indeed, the Brooklyn aesthetic is so ubiquitous and slavishly adhered to that it displays all the suburban hallmarks that we love to deride. The conformity, the dull sameness, the utter lack of imagination. In his excellent 2005 essay I hate Brooklyn Jonathan Van Meter quotes one of his friends on Williamsburg: “It’s not that I don’t like the culturati hipsters, but the last time I was in an environment where people only wanted to be with people exactly like themselves was in a fucking mall in Minnesota, which is why I left there twenty years ago.”
Like is attracted to like? That’s unpossible!
Indeed, the sturdy, retro, all-American character of the river towns fits well with the whole Filson/Woolrich heritage-brand aesthetic. People who set their cultural compass to the Brooklyn Flea appreciate the authenticity.
“Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way,” Mr. Wallach said. He added, “We are constantly hearing about the slow-food movement, the slow-learning movement and the slow-everything-else. So why not just go avant-garde into a slow-village movement?”
Is slow-village ironic or just painfully unaware? What about this:
Marie Labropolous recently moved from a one-bedroom rental in Brooklyn to a four-bedroom 1970s split-level in Hartsdale, about 10 minutes from her shop in Dobbs Ferry. She and her husband, Simeon Papacostas, now have space for a music studio in their basement, where they enjoy regular “pajama jams,” she said.
Footie pajamas, natch.
Honestly, I’d rather live amongst hipsters than some other subgroups, though I can do without the preening moralizing and facial hair can never be ironic–it’s just facial hair. What really strikes me is the closeness Hipsturbia shares to the rise of energy drinks.
Bear with me, I’m rolling.
The Millennials are afraid of growing up. They express it differently–some with tattoos and cultivated tastes and some with business casual and “coffee tastes yucky” uncultivated tastes–but they cling to youth as though adulthood equals death. It’s a bizarre thing, especially given the fact that they continue to age and seemingly remain alive. They may attribute it to the industrially faded Black Keys t-shirt or the Chuck Taylor’s, as though styles for the young are the fountain of youth, but the simple fact is that demography is destiny.
Embrace that shit. Buy a minivan and call it a minivan, not a swagger wagon. Get a haircut and a pair of loafers. Spend your weekend building a swing set instead of an urban rooftop worm farm. Learn to drink coffee instead of frappuccinos. Get drunk on wine instead of tequila shots. Look forward to senility and ample opportunities to mock the next generation, even as they remind you of yourself.
It’s the circle of life.