Park Slope Hate Reaching Critical Mass
So yesterday the Times weighed in on everyone's most detested yuppie mecca, Park Slope. Today, the new issue of Time Out New York piles on! "Websites like Gawker and Curbed crackle with anti-Slope invective, hurled at the twin bugaboos of the 'Stroller Mafia' (pushy, indulgent yuppie parents) and the bleeding-heart 'People's Republic of Park Slope' (headquartered at the Food Co-op)." Update: Via email from Maureen Shelly: "Hi Ian. I'm the EIC of Time Out Kids. Just wanted to point out that the Park Slope piece you turned up is from last year — not the upcoming June issue. Our piece was also by Lynne Harris, who penned the Times story. I guess she felt she had more to say on the subject."
Slope-bashing hit the big time last February, when The New York Times' David Brooks pegged the 'hood as ground zero of the "hipster parent moment." He wrote: "Can we please see the end of those Park Slope alternative Stepford Moms in their black-on-black maternity tunics who turn their babies into fashion-forward, anticorporate indie-infants in order to stay one step ahead of the cool police?"
Some of this sentiment, to be sure, springs from the area's transformation in recent years: Trendy boutiques and bars have replaced bodegas on Fifth Avenue; and the neighborhood's nickname has gone from nice, crunchy "Dyke Slope" to crowded, congested "No Park Slope." According to a recent study, nearly half the drivers cruising at any given time are searching for a parking spot.
At least to non-locals (such as Brooks, who doesn't realize that Williamsburg is actually where the "hipsters" are), the Slope seems to represent all that is reprehensible about gentrified New York and modern urban parenting. "Non–New Yorkers think of it disparagingly as a hipster alterna-playground, and Manhattanites think of it as a sanctimonious PC stroller derby, like one big suburban PTA meeting stuck in a food co-op," says novelist Steven Johnson, a longtime Sloper who jokes on his blog that "all writers with young children in NYC are legally required to live" there. "To the outside world, it's too cool for its own good, and inside New York, it's not cool enough."
Even many residents maintain a love-hate relationship with their nabe. Graphic designer and community organizer Aaron Brashear says that his family shops everywhere but jam-packed Seventh Avenue. "We will not walk there because of the stroller brigades," he says. Slope psychotherapist Peter Loffredo has sworn off the kid-crammed Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and both Tea Lounges, and not because he doesn't like the coffee. "They're overrun pseudo Romper Rooms," he says. [TONY] [photo: Ben Goldstein]