Caught my eye — anecdotally, jury demographics in Brooklyn are changing. The writer (the headline writer, anyway) calls it the Williamsburg Effect. Years ago, there were a few regular Gothamist commenters who were very insistent about pointing out that “hipster” actually has no meaning. And I developed my own theory that Williamsburg was overrun with people whose RISD profs loved their conceptual art. They probably didn’t have actual trust funds, a lot of them were just racking up credit card debt. But some of them had parents paying their rent.
Somewhere in there I was a hipster, by some accounts. I rode a bike and started a community garden and joined a CSA and was active in a lot of radical politics that had real impact. I made the web for a living. And then I started to get annoyed, too. If a “hipster” is disengaged and self-interested, then greeting ‘04 RNC delegates with a series of gorgeously laid out interviews with local organizers talking about the work they do in New York City, spending all my free time working with local organizations to help them figure out how to tap the energy of the protesters flooding into NYC … you see where I’m going here. My friend Hai-Ting, who left the house every morning in tails, a top hat and a parasol, complained that when the L train pulled into Bedford Avenue it felt like she was entering another planet. Fuckin’ hipsters, man. Spend 15 minutes studying the bulletin board outside the L Cafe and you were guaranteed to overhear someone asserting that they’d lived in the neighborhood forever (5 years) and seen it change so much. And it was true. Shoot, when I first moved to NYC, I had a friend on S2nd and Berry, and after dark I would just sleep on his couch if there was no one to walk him back from the train. He could walk me to the train but then he’d have to walk back alone and there was no way he was doing that. So I stayed on the couch.
Fast forward 15 years. Today, as far as I can tell Williamsburg is home to very few people making conceptual art, and the L train is absurdly overcrowded during the commute rush. The “creative class” has moved out to Bushwick, displaced by a lot of gainfully employed people who are definitely trendy but not exactly bucking social conventions.(Not unrelated: The Cockettes really clarified something about how the San Francisco counterculture I grew up in is so utterly different from the New York City art scene. Your mileage may vary, but there are a lot of ways to buck convention.)
So I read that post piece and was struck by these two lines towards the end:
“I absolutely felt like I had a much different jury on my hands than I would have had five years ago — they were MBAs and attorneys, everyone had an advanced degree,” Chakmakian said.
“I see a lot more highly educated people. I see more college and post-graduate degrees.”
Soooo, here’s my question. Because I am pretty sure that hipsters don’t have MBAs. Or post graduate degrees at all. Maybe MFAs. Enter CensusReporter.
I couldn’t actually see the map it produced for me, but I could download the shapefile and open it in QGIS. With some eyeballing, I worked out that the column B15003022 is the count of ppl with a Bachelors, B15003022e is the margin of error. B15003023 is master, B15003024 professional school, B15003025 doctorate. The download only gives raw numbers, so you have to do some calculating to get percents.
Note: If you’re new to QGIS, Peter Aldhous has a great tutorial to get you started.
I’m lazy, so I just mapped B15003023. The layer property wizard was flummoxed by the inclusion of totals for NYC, which was frustrating, but for now I just deleted the two totals. And?
There are a lot of bachelors degrees in Williamsburg (but more in Park slope and the villages, though):
There are some masters degrees, but not that many:
And the PhDs? They’re on the upper west side.
What’s my takeaway? I dunno. I should really redo these maps, I know that. But I’m going to walk the dog. What’s your takeaway?