What happens when two wildly divergent communities find themselves living in uncomfortably close proximity to each other? As rents and the cost of living in Manhattan have skyrocketed over the last few years, artists, students and hipsters have been forced to move off the Island into otherwise foreign locales. The neighborhood of Williamsburg was one such place. Located just over the
Brooklyn Williamsburg Bridge near the Lower East Side, this formerly unfashionable part of the city was populated by a collection of immigrants and Hassids. In the last couple of years however it has been verily invaded by said hipsters escaping urban gentrification kickstarted by former Mayor Giuliani’s Disneyfication of Manhattan. Now Williamsburg is peppered with smart coffee shops, art galleries and bars that dispense a constant and ironic flow of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Red Stripe Beer.
Things came to a head last week as the Hassidic community protested the construction of… bicycle lanes. It turns out that
“…the bike riders are frequently “hotties,” that is, women, “many of whom ride in shorts and skirts.” “I have to admit, it’s a major issue, women passing through here in that dress code,” Simon Weisser, a member of Community Board 1 in Williamsburg-Greenpoint, told the Post… â€œItâ€™s real racy and it doesnâ€™t belong in our community where you have children who arenâ€™t used to seeing these images,â€
Of course the original New York Post article notes that at the relevant meeting discussing the bike paths, the representatives of the Hassidic community made no mention of scantily clad biker babes. Instead they focused on bike lanes allegedly causing parking problems and traffic congestion as well as the danger posed to children by bikers who don’t obey traffic laws. But all the attention seems to be focused on the prurient aspects of this conflict. People leaving comments on the New York post site do not seem to have read the underlying article very carefully and the loons on both sides of the conflict seem to be out in full force. Particularly entertaining and dismaying are the anti-hipster, anti-Liberal, anti-Democrat, anti-everything comments/rants by a guy called Ahksel who is clearly irredeemably retarded. Or insane. Or both.
Some people need to be kept far, far away from computer keyboards.