Monday, November 10, 2008

Backlash Against Williamsburg Grows, Community Now A Source Of Derision From NYC To Hong Kong

HSBC Advertisement, shot from Williamsburg side of the bridge, seen at the 6th Ave. 14th St L Subway Station

The above advertisement is reported to have been unveiled with nine other new images in Hong Kong based HSBC's "Different Values" ad campaign on October 20th, a campaign now ubiquitous throughout the city. The ad above, featuring Manhattan's skyline, was only spotted by NYC The Blog for the first time last night in the 14th St. 6th Avenue L subway station, and is shot from the Williamsburg side of the river, as witnessed by the skyline and the Williamsburg Bridge stretching above. Though the ad is relevant without respect to recent events, HSBC could not have imagined just how poignant the ad would become only three weeks later in light of recent events in Williamsburg.

Recent events of course referring to yet another large street celebration on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg which was populated by a large crowd of young men and woman, the fashionable and artistic 'New Williamsburg', drinking alcohol, flashing their boobs, and celebrating the latest news/event/parade. The occasion this time being an Obama presidency.

A notable amount of attention online and in print reporting on the events that occurred there that evening, between residents and the police --and the reaction to those events after police tried to disperse the loud and boisterous crowd celebrating Obama's victory in the streets-- followed. And though these spontaneous celebrations happened in neighborhoods all over nyc without incident on election night, it was Williamsburg's which ended with arrests and accusations from both sides alleging physical violence.

If the comments on postings about the impromptu celebration at places such as Gothamist and elsewhere are any indication, the majority of people are disgusted with the antics displayed by the crowd that evening towards the police of Williamsburg, activities that were recorded by a proliferation of digital media showing individuals taunting and antagonizing the police, and then posted online at places such as YouTube.

After a loud and vocal argument was made online by those attempting to shape the issue as one of a police state trying to crush a political rally, a backlash to this storyline has developed, most recently spilling out directly into the neighborhood as witnessed by the latest salvo spotted, (photograph right) of a flyer from neighbors posted in a local laundromat that declares 15-20 writers --Bronx born artists and teachers who came to Williamsburg over 15 years ago-- "appalled" at the behavior of the rowdy crowd, and warning them not to "humiliate the working left" with their continued "spoiled brat antics", suggesting instead they "donate to NYC public schools and hospitals". This latest display of public admonishment joins the Dear Williamsburg tumblr accepting letters to Williamsburg via email, and the recent decision by the NY Times to dispatch a reporter to the community to do their own report on the situation; a reporter who sought out stinging quotes from community residents offering comments on the "newer crowd" such as "They’re distracted, there’s a total disregard for protocol. They have no regard for nobody else."

It seems a certain class of Williamsburg residents, media savvy, young, and public, have so successfully nutured, embraced, and marketed a community that is now despised for being self-centered, obnoxious, and misguided members of the bourgeoisie class who would rather fight for their right to wear panda costumes in the street then fight for more public school funding for instance --that derision towards that is boiling over in public, and is now part of a marketing tool for international conglomerates. This couldn't have ended any other way really.

As the flyer spotted in the laundromat suggest, as a means of reversing course, "Teach, Counsel, Donate...Stop using Obama's campaign to blow shit coke and BS up ur ass"

UPDATE: Curbed picks up the post, and attempts to offer some ground cover for the beleagured residents of Williamsburg by blaming out of town frat kids for the ruckus, but a commenter isn't helping matters, writing that "I was talking with a friend of mine who had worked on Obama's campaign and she said that the sad/ironic thing was that they couldn't even get enough volunteers in Wmburg to set up a phone bank."

(photograph of letter, on right, from exq1979's Flickr)

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