Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Gentrification Peacock is Out in These Streets, and the End Times are Nigh

Let me say upfront that I have some deep misgivings about the now-gentrified-beyond-all-recognition version of the city I grew up in. Apparently I'm not the only one, since there is a famously embittered and highly-relatable-to-me blog devoted exclusively to waxing nostalgic and whining about vanishing New York. Specifically the Good Old Bad Old Days of scary night-jogging in Central Park, used needles strewn about the Lower East Side like so much confetti, indy record stores somehow managing to make rent without being forced out by Citibank, and people of regular means actually being able to inhabit the city's boundaries (those last two were good things, in case you're wondering).

If I'm honest with myself though, the real source of my hateration up in this proverbial dancery is a purely selfish one: the fact that my own family simply can't afford to live in NYC anymore. Would I still feel the same way if we could?  Maybe not. Maybe then I'd just happily get over it as I went out to buy a bean-to-bar chocolate bar after finishing my Bikram yoga class. I really can't say. I'm not in that situation, nor will I ever be. 

But at least symbolically, Gentrification Peacock of Bushwick (Fig. 1) seals the deal on Brooklyn and perhaps all of New York City as irretrievably and forever lost to easily and delectably mockable white hipsterism. To be fair, it's not Gentrification Peacock's fault, nor is it his owner's fault, an artist just trying to keep it real out in these streets, survivin' and thrivin' with her knee-high red socks, flat-brimmed hat, leather moto-jacket, and skeleton glove. Just a person and her peacock with no less right to walk/peck/strut around in public than anyone else.

I do of course recognize that the real culprits of NYC's ever-increasing homogeneity and unaffordability are big banks, chain stores, and canny international real estate scions whose newly-built skyscrapers serve as tax havens and money laundering vehicles for foreign investors who live in Dubai or Moscow most of the year. All of which have conspired to make NYC a very difficult place to live anymore for all but the top .001% of wage-earners in the five boroughs. You can hardly blame one peacock.

But for now, fairly or unfairly, rightly or wrongly, I'm just going to blame it all on Gentrification Peacock and his owner. I will distill into this innocent artiste and her avian companion everything that's wrong with gentrification while crediting them with nothing that's arguably right about it. That's right, Gentrification Peacock. I'm taking all of my bitterness out on you, since you are a visible and easy mark with your bright feathers and insufferable-on-sight-owner who I'm sure is perfectly sufferable--albeit only briefly--in real life. And realistically, you'd probably be happier with your fellow peacock friends who openly wander the grounds of the Bronx Zoo.

So seriously Gentrification Peacock, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Fig. 1: Gentrification Peacock walks the streets of B'wick with his owner.

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