Jargon Watch: Hipsturbia

Leave it to Beaver/Screen capture

We keep talking about how the suburbs are in trouble, how millennials prefer smart phones to cars, how they are staying downtown and living in apartments instead of following the suburban dream. Then we learn about Hipsturbia, the trendy river towns along the Hudson where Brooklyn hipsters are settling down to raise families, just like Beaver and the Cleavers did fifty years ago. Alex Williams writes in the New York Times about waiting for a train:

Here, beside the gray-suited salarymen and four-door minivans, it is no longer unusual to see a heritage-clad novelist type with ironic mutton chops sipping shade-grown coffee at the patisserie, or hear 30-somethings in statement sneakers discuss their latest film project as they wait for the 9:06 to Grand Central.

According to Williams, it is driven by the price of real estate, a sort of take-the-train-'til-you-qualify. The justifications are eye-rolling.

“Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way,” Mr. [futurism consultant Ari] 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?”

Brooklyn writer Dana Goldstein writes that in fact, that there is nothing new about this.

Upscale white families have been moving from the city to those particular towns for many, many decades. The changes are really around the margins; now those emigrants are arriving not only from Manhattan, but also from the gentrified neighborhoods of Brooklyn, which means they're bringing all the associated cultural tics with them, like foodie snobbery.

She worries about the trend.

Are these denizens of "hipsturbia" among the first in a new wave of defectors to the suburbs, or are they outliers? It remains unclear. One of the big questions demographers have about Generation Y and Millenials is whether our much-noted preference for city life will persist as we age and reproduce.

Either way, we have not heard the last of the word Hipsturbia.

Tags: Brooklyn | New York City | Urban Life

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