For Rent: 178 Sq Ft Apartment in Clinton Hill

Click for a slideshow of 178 sq ft of beautiful brooklyn studio wonder. Careful you don't topple over the stack of untouched national geographics.

It doesn’t upset me that this guy is paying $900 for a studio in Brooklyn, or that he lives in Clinton Hill, or that his apartment is 178 square feet, or that the apt is filled with all sorts of pack rat crap, or that he looks like a douche.

What annoys me is this guy landed a junior designer position in a NYC architecture firm without any knowledge of CAD or design or architecture just cause he took pictures of the interior of his apartment and sent it in with his resume. You just mocked and ridiculed my four years of undergrad cause you know how to put a model plane next to some ironic salt and pepper shakers. DOUCHE

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Million Dollar Blocks

Since the Ludacris map got so many props, I thought I’d throw up another ArcMap GIS wonder. This one is a little more serious. The Spatial Information Design Lab from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation created what they call “Million Dollar Blocks“. Its simple, take prison expenditure data and overlay that information over a map showing the homes where these prisoners are coming from. You then get a map, block by block, showing the homes of prisoners and the cost it takes to incarcerate them. You end up getting “million dollar blocks”; neighborhoods in Brooklyn that get millions of dollars in investments from the government (through the prison system). Below is a map of Brooklyn showing the concentration of the prisoners’ neighborhoods and the amount invested through prison expenditures:

The lighter the red, the more $ invested per prisoner, based on their home residences.

Why is this map genius? For one, its easy as hell to make. The only inputs are a home address (down to the Census block or tract, which anyone can do with a computer, access to factfinder.census.gov, and uhhh, access to prison records) and how much in government dollar is invested on each prisoner. Second, this map, on the surface, is just a map showing the homes of prisoners, right? No, its a freaking map on where to invest in community empowerment and development programs. After-school programs, midnight basketball leagues, job placement programs, street beautification, etc. This map is so damn detailed, it goes down into detail, block by block in Brooklyn, of how much money is invested in a neighborhood:

This Lab is sick. Check out their other maps here, including one on Buzz in NYC (using GPS data from Getty Images’ photographs from fashion photographers) and one on worldwide migration using a video map.

Thanks Will, for this and the Luda map as well.

Yipsters: The New Wave of Gentrification

As a trained urban planner from some very very far left schools, I am taught two major lessons: gentrification with displacement is bad but investments in infrastructure and development in poor neighborhoods is good. So I am fully aware that the very places I love to hang out are the very places that are getting gentrified (sometimes with displacement and sometimes without). We’re talking The Mission in SF, Silverlake in LA, Temescal in Oakland and wherever there’s an art show in Brooklyn. So as I’m sitting there at some new bar filled with skinny jean fitted, thick black glass wearing, Catcher in the Rye poking out of the back pocket perpetual grad students, I am fully aware that the bar just opened up where a vacuum shop once thrived 40 years earlier. And that the taco truck outside, Ritmo Latino store next door, or Chinese herbalist across the street may not survive the onslaught of graphic designers, children’s book writers, and post-docs that will soon overtake said neighborhood. So it troubles me greatly (while I’m sipping on my lychee martini, Miller High Life, or Kettle One Grayhound).

Highland Park: The York Pub (where AzN once dropped $230 for a round of 18 Jager Bombs) vs. Elsa's Bakey (I think Elsa is standing with her arms crossed, cut off by the photo)

Highland Park in LA: The York Pub (where AzN once dropped $230 for a round of 18 Jager Bombs) vs. Elsa's Bakey (I think Elsa is standing with her arms crossed, cut off by the photo, see arrow)

So the point of this blog post is really an apology to the folks that were living in these neighborhoods before urban planners paved the way for these yipsters (hipster yuppies). Yipsters are folks that have the money and youth of a yuppie, but the aesthetics and tastes of a hipster. So they might roll around with a Maclaren baby stroller, but they’re also willing to step into a Mexican bakery for some steaming fresh pigs in a blanket.

While the profession looks down on outright gentrification with displacement (can someone say China Basin or Japantown?), urban planners laud the yipster takeover. The kind that occurs when a really cool bike shop (like Manifesto near MacArthur in Oakland) or a damn good bakery (Bakesale Betty in Temescal Oakland) opens up in a really really bad neighborhood. There is no redevelopment investment or even a Starbucks. A few daring few yipsters (maybe they’re really damn smart people that made a lot of money on some business and wanted to follow their lifelong dream of opening up a hip comic book shop *COUGH* Secret Headquarters in Sunset Junction *COUGH*) decide to put a good business in an area with not much else.

I’m not sure if this phenomenon is an entirely good thing or an inherently bad thing, but I know eventually the neighborhood will turn, and the turn will be towards gentrification. Whether or not that leads to displacement is another thing (or if the residents that stay enjoy the economic benefits). But one thing is certain, urban planning folks love it cause yipsters not only spend a shitload of money on old timey bikes and fair trade coffee and furniture with tons of Umlauts, they also like the ethnic spots that were always there. And if you want proof, check out a little rag called the New York Times or a no-name nobody named Bill Fulton (planning God) writing about the next yipster neighborhood in LA: Highland Park. Fulton actually uses the term HIPSTER in all its academic glory. The End is near.

Echo Park. Check. Silverlake. Check. Highland Park? Hmmmm...

Echo Park. Check. Silverlake. Check. Highland Park? TBD.

Thu Tran: Hipsterist Foodie in Brooklyn

This is for Sherdizzle who thinks I ain’t into Vietnamese girls cause I’m one of those self-hating Vietnamese chaps. Not true! I hate Tila Tequila, but I’m digging Thu Tran, who just hit the bigtime with a mention in the NY Times Television section for her show Food Party , soon to be leaping from the internets (foodparty.tv) to IFC

Cooking up sumpthin just before the Prom

Cooking up sumpthin just before the Prom

So what exactly is the show about? It looks like a crazy, shroomed out Pee Wee’s Playhouse, with puppets themed around food. Here’s the show according to the Times: “Ms. Tran can be seen enjoying a romantic dinner with a mustachioed French baguette that smokes cigarettes and wears sunglasses; cooking with kitchenware delivered to her by toy helicopters; and breaking into song as she picks doughnuts from a doughnut tree.” Here’s the first episode or check it out on IFC, Tuesdays at 11:15 pm: 

For more info on Thu Tran, peep the NY Times article to find info on her background (Vietnamese immigrant family from Cleveland/Cleveland Institute of Art graduate), who’s she dating (fellow alumnus Dan Baxter, founder of Kreepy Doll Factory), and the maturation of her hipster-ness (Brooklyn resident, from Williamsburg —> Bedford-Stuyvesant —> Greenpoint).

Thanks to the Arex for hooking this up.