Where Are All the Hipsters Going? The ‘Burbs, of Course.

Hipster: Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20′s and 30′s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter. – urbandictionary.com

This past Sunday in the New York Times Style Section there was an article called “Creating Hipsturbia in the Suburbs.”   By definition, hipsters are running away from the conventional and mainstream. For them, leaving an apartment in uber-hipster Brooklyn the antithesis of hipsterdom. However, now that their kids have to double up in a 1200 square foot apartment, staying in hipster-haven Brooklyn has become nearly impossible.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge (Photo credit: akibubblet)

Finances get in the way of even the most committed and passionate locavore/handcrafted lifestyles. Hipsters see that, sadly enough, moving to the (ugh!) suburbs is what’s best for their families – especially their kids, who need room to grow and good public schools to attend. Real estate in Brooklyn has grown astronomically expensive, so  the hipsters have begun to migrate to towns along the Hudson River up Westchester County way, convenient to the train station –  riding their fixed gear bikes to New York City to work each day would be close to impossible.

From the Times article:

…faced with overpaying for a Brooklyn home that would barely contain a life with two young sons, they decided to look northward. “When we checked towns out,” Ms. Miziolek recalled, “I saw some moms out in Hastings with their kids with tattoos. A little glimmer of Williamsburg!”

Ah yes, the all important tattoo. There was no identifying mark of coolness when I was a young mother – except maybe a Dooney & Bourke handbag or a Chevy Suburban. We soccer moms were swept up in our own social movement.

chevy suburban, hipsters, brooklyn, new york times, hipsturbia, families, suburban living, westchester county

When we were young parents, we moved to the suburbs, too. I didn’t want to leave the little beach town we lived in – but, like the aforementioned hipsters in Brooklyn, we just couldn’t afford it. So off we went to the ultimate suburban community – and we quickly grew to love our home and the town we live in. There was a period of time when we considered moving back to the beach, a few years after we arrived in the ‘burbs, but we decided that we liked what our town had to offer, and raised our kids here – neither of whom, I must add, are hipsters.

Another quote from the article:

“Hastings-on-Hudson is a village, in a Wittgensteinian sort of way,” Mr. 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?”

Can someone please explain to me what Wittgensteinian means? 

Just the fact that hipsters self-identify as such is interesting. What is the criteria for this moniker? Is it solely about living a vegan/repurposing/electric car kind of life? Does one require a tattoo in order to gain membership? Must all of the men wear their hair in buns, while all of the women sport 7-8 piercings? None of this is objectionable, but the fact that there are people – many of whom live in Brooklyn, Silver Lake and Berkeley – who call themselves this – unironically – is somewhat off-putting. We soccer moms – at least those of us with a sense of humor – laughed at ourselves and our child-centric lifestyle, even as we carted our kids around from activity to activity, tossing bags of Goldfish and raisins at them as they rode in the backseat.

Hipsters want what we all want – a safe, comfortable environment in which to live and raise their children. So if moving to the suburbs is how it has to happen, then ok – they’ll adapt to the dearth of organic coffee shops and crafting co-ops. Eventually suburbia will become a comfortable place for them, even if they have to leave some of their hipster life behind. They’ll always have their tattoos and piercings to remind them of their hipsterness, even while they mow the lawn, or pack lunches for their kids – locally grown and gluten-free, of course.

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12 Responses to Where Are All the Hipsters Going? The ‘Burbs, of Course.
  1. Sandra
    February 19, 2013 | 9:05 am

    Seems like a rite of passage. My daughter lives in a burb, but it’s just so lovely for the kids. Everything is close by, everyone says hello at the Farmer’s market. Then she takes the kids into the city to see a different part of life.

    But if my grandkids get a tatoo……
    Sandra recently posted..I Was Kissed By WolvesMy Profile

  2. Cathy
    February 19, 2013 | 9:18 am

    Loved this! We had dinner this past week with a couple who have lived in Manhattan for 30 years. I worked in NYC with the wife in the early 1980′s. When I told them we are putting our house on the market this spring, and I’d love to live in Manhattan, they said move to Brooklyn! Better restaurants and lower rents. I don’t think we’ll be moving so fast, but I think we’d be the elder statesmen there, eh? Everything is cyclical. I wanted out of the city & into the burbs when I was in my 20′s. Now I’ve grown tired of it! Life is delicious, eh?
    Cathy recently posted..The Tender Care Of City Dwelling DogsMy Profile

  3. Gandalfe
    February 19, 2013 | 9:54 am

    Nice read. I shared the info-graphic with my family and friends. We all go through the phases, don’t we…

    • Sharon Greenthal
      February 19, 2013 | 11:38 am

      Indeed we do…and we need to know when it’s time to move on to the next phase!

  4. Susan Bonifant
    February 19, 2013 | 10:03 am

    This was a pleasure to read, and reminded me that my twenty-something non-hipsters are the most accepting people on the planet, until it comes to a hipster who looks down on them for being “common.”
    Susan Bonifant recently posted..Teenagers, it’s hard for us too.My Profile

  5. Haralee
    February 19, 2013 | 10:42 am

    I love your line ‘throwing goldfish and raisins’ in the back seat. There was nothing wrong with that. The kids got some and the dog the rest and everyone knows the words to the Muppet songs and the Beatles and I mean this not ironically!
    Haralee recently posted..Good News in Breast Cancer ResearchMy Profile

  6. Linda D'Ae-Smith
    February 19, 2013 | 11:13 am

    Thanks for the hipster definition. I don’t get off the farm much…

  7. Gail
    February 19, 2013 | 3:54 pm

    I want my suburban back!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Sharon Greenthal
      February 19, 2013 | 4:21 pm

      I miss your Suburban too! I always knew when you were arriving.

  8. st
    February 19, 2013 | 5:16 pm

    I hate to think of where I live as the burbs, but I guess it is. Sigh.
    st recently posted..Tale Tues: The Anatomy of a ToasterMy Profile

  9. Sarah@afterhood
    February 22, 2013 | 7:09 am

    Good post. Our Soccer Mom cohort started out as something different too, before the kids moved us to the ‘burbs. Back in the day some of us were near-hippies, with patched bell bottoms, Mexican wedding shirts, endless hair, and differing opinions of government (The Man), few of them admiring. Then came the demands of jobs, professional yuppification perhaps, and family life. The me-to-Mom spectrum requires evolution, and it is interesting to see how each generation meets the challenges. My own Mom wanted to live in Paris and write, in a sort of Hemingway fantasy. That didn’t exactly work out for her either. Fascinating to observe this new wheel-of-life in action.
    Sarah@afterhood recently posted..Comment on Cook Them Supper, And They Will Come by grownandflownMy Profile

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