The Bohemian, The Brooklynite, and the Blogger

A map of Brooklyn. Williamsburg is made of the four neighborhoods at the top.

While New York City is officially split into five boroughs, any good New Yorker knows the divide goes farther than the split between Queens and Brooklyn. Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island all make up a collective of over two-hundred different neighborhoods ranging from the financially sufficient neighborhoods like Sutton Place or Astoria Heights, the culturally influenced areas like Bedford-Stuy or Chinatown, and the creative areas such as Williamsburg or Greenwich Village. Much like how artists congregated to Paris in the late 19th century to be among one another, the same can be said for the crowd in Williamsburg. Williamsburg may be home to several celebrities such as Mel Brooks, Barry Manilow and Barbara Streisand, but it’s true claim to fame comes from the amount of creators of the arts residing within. There’s about 50 or so different music venues scattered across Williamsburg, and they’ll all have some band you’ve probably never heard of playing tonight as you order yourself a $5 latte. If music isn’t your thing you can stop in at one of the several art galleries nearby or just take in the sights.

But what makes Williamsburg so much better than say Flatbush, or Bedford-Stuy or Cypress Hills or any of the 70+ other boroughs in Brooklyn? Technically the reason why so many people came to Williamsburg was that the rent was cheap and the fact it was smack dab in the middle between Manhattan, Queens and the rest of Brooklyn, the three largest and busiest parts of the city, but we’re not here to talk about the technical side of things now are we? New York City is the second-most expensive city to live in the country, so why create your epicenter of culture and creativity in a town where you’ll live a life that’s make or break?

The same could be asked about another cultural epicenter we’re familiar with: Los Angeles, or more specifically Hollywood. We’ve all heard stories both fiction and non-fiction about actors, musicians, and writers who’ve moved to Hollywood in an attempt to be discovered by a big-name studio and become the next Harrison Ford or Angelina Jolie. The big name producers are going to be in these big metro areas looking for that next big hit, emphasis on “big” on all three points. They aren’t going to be wasting their time in a no-name neighborhood like Canarsie or Bensonhurst when they know everyone making music is gonna be heading to Williamsburg.


A subreddit where indie rockers post their new tracks/videos

That was perfectly fine in the 80s/90s though, when the fastest way to get in touch with someone was a landline. Can the same still be said about the Neo-Bohemian lifestyle in 2015? We live in a world where anyone can put their work up on a site like Soundcloud, Youtube, or Flickr and build up a portfolio for themselves. Some of these people then going to go on and link their work on social media like Facebook or twitter or on forums like Reddit or 4chan. These online realms may not meet to the standards of the urban bohemian since they do not feel “to be alienated within the current economic order” (Lloyd p. 17), but “the new media district represents an apparently fragile convergence” (Lloyd p. 216) of like-minded media creators into a single space where they in fact resemble the Neo-Bohemian. Their sub-culture becomes a global culture, reaching out to anyone working in and out of the bohemian neighborhoods.

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