It’s a well known fact that it costs a lot of money to live in Williamsburg and pretend to be poor. Right now, it’s like, the pinnacle of fashion. Only the wealthiest of trust fund kids can afford to move into a filthy apartment somewhere off Bedford avenue so they can buy vintage, high-waisted jean shorts in order to give off the appearance of having lived a more “authentic” experience.
As for me: I’m not rich enough to pretend to be poor. The only neighborhood with apartments in my price range at the moment are in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
When people hear that I got an apartment in the Upper East Side, they immediately turn their noses up. Once home to the Rockefellers, the Astors, the Kennedys, and others, the neighborhood has traditionally been associated with New York’s most affluent residents. More recently, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Spike Lee, and Ricky Gervais have taken up residence in the area so it’s still generally thought of as “rich people land.”
Ironically, it’s this exact connotation that makes many young people avoid the area, opting to pay extra for their “authentic” Brooklyn experience. The Lena Dunhams of the world, living in New York on their parents’ dime, wouldn’t be caught dead looking as well-off as they are. And in effect, a small studio apartment in Williamsburg currently goes for $1000 more per month than its equivalent in the Upper East Side.
This is where I, the run-of-the-mill, middle class, paying my-own-way kind of guy come in. Living in a shitty apartment bears no novelty to me. I’ve done that out of circumstance plenty of times before. I have no strong desire to be in a neighborhood that people think is hip. I’m practically 30. I work. And hell, I got the hard drugs out of my system before I was done with high school. I like to sleep at night. Growing up I wore clothes from the thrift shop because we couldn’t afford name brands.
Some things never change. I still don’t have enough money to do every super trendy thing. But if that means I get an apartment near Central Park, then that’s just fine with me.