ASTORIA, N.Y. — The neighborhood board of Astoria, Queens, has voted to enact measures to maintain the neighborhood’s standing as the diverse melting pot that it once was – by keeping twenty-something hipsters out.
Over the past few years, as areas like Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, Bushwick, and DUMBO have become overrun with long-haired, bearded, wire-rim-glasses-wearing, Pitchfork-reading liberal arts graduates. Longtime residents of these areas have had to deal with an inundation of local microbrew beer, flannel shirt boutiques, fixed-gear bike shops, and bars who loudly blast Bon Iver’s most recent album on repeat.
Carolyn Jones, a longtime resident of Williamsburg, moved out of the neighborhood to Astoria in 2003, sensing the tide that had already begun to wash hipsters onto Brooklyn’s shore.
“It was terrible,” she said. “It used to be an ethnically, religiously rich neighborhood. Now it’s just a whole bunch of white kids pretending to be bohemians while living off the trust funds their dads set up when they graduated from Bennington or Vassar.”
As these neighborhoods have grown in popularity, hipsters arriving in New York have begun to seek new areas for unnecessary indie-fication. With its easy access to Manhattan, Astoria has become a prime target, Jones said, shaking up the mix of ethnic, racial, religious, and age demographics.
Jones led the movement within the Astoria Neighborhood Board to enact measures to keep hipsters out. The Board will offer cash incentives to landlords who refuse “scraggly, unshaven, plaid-wearing twenty-somethings who use the word ‘irony’ more than once in casual conversation.” Additionally, no bars in Astoria will serve Brooklyn Lager, and all bodegas are now forbidden from selling American Spirit cigarettes and a handful of Camel varieties.
“It’s the beginning of a very popular effort to protect the dignity of this wonderful neighborhood,” Jones says. “We’ve gotten a lot of support around Astoria.
“If they have to come to Queens, let them keep ruining Long Island City,” she added.