Isn't The "New Williamsburg" Really Just A Suburb?

by BILLY GRAY · May 25, 2010

You just knew that when hipsters had had it with the 'Burg and/or produced hipster offspring and essentially moved to the 'burbs that they’d cloak the transition in hipness. And so it’s happened with a migration of Williamsburgers to “rough-and-tumble-looking” Rosendale.

Back in the day, when NYC 20-somethings approached the dreaded big 3-0 they hung up their ambitions of coolness, got hitched, bred and moved to the close-in suburbs of Westchester, Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island. There were lots of lawns, little crime and good schools that were free and didn’t involve a bloodletting admissions process.

But Scarsdale won’t cut it for Brooklyn aesthetes. And since other artsy-crunchy upstate enclaves like New Paltz and Beacon are old news, Rosendale is the obvious next stop. Here’s what makes it attractive to peripatetic creatives, according to Sari Botton of the Times:

Post-Industrial Grit: Rosendale is a “depressed former cement manufacturing town.” A free Grizzly Bear show couldn’t cause as massive a hipster bum-rush.

Cheap Rents: A Williamsburg refugee named Frederic Arnold pays just $700/month for a studio off Main Street. Forget that his rent in Brooklyn was $650 a month. He had to live with roommates. Plus, Main Street evokes quaint Americana and artists like Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper who captured it.

Mellow Neighborhood Bars with Free, Unread Newspapers Scattered Around: Market Market is a “café and nightclub on the edge of town with an eclectic menu and a distinctly Brooklyn feel.” It’s a “place where one might stumble upon a copy of The Brooklyn Rail, the Greepoint-based publication covering the local arts scene.” Not only can the exiles keep up with North Brooklyn happenings, they can toil away in the joint when not working on their art.

Indie Celebrities: Maggie Gyllenhaal had lunch at Market Market. She probably breastfed there too.

Oh, and let's not forget a vegetarian restaurant, Rosendale Cafe.

As usual though, the biggest selling point for a town attracting people fleeing the city is proximity to the city. And Rosendale is “closer to the city than other low-cost towns like Catskill and Hudson.” But it’s farther, of course, than mainstream ‘burbs like Roslyn or Westport, while maintaining an alternative vibe the 30-year old hipster understandably clings to at a time of Life Change.

What happens when folks escaping gentrification gentrify the down-at-the-heels Rosendale? I hear Newburgh is on the edge.

Photos via Hipster Runoff