This week on The Swarm, neighborbeeblog plays host to Rob The Bouncer, author of Clublife (both the blog and the book). Tired of life in East Central Queens, Rob tells us about his dreams to move– not across the bridge, but across the borough… to Brooklyn.
I’ve spent most of my life thus far in the borough of Queens, home to countless little troll-men, a subject I’ll touch on momentarily. Queens, to me, has never been, nor will it ever be, “The New Brooklyn.” I can’t think of it in those terms because the part of Queens in which I was raised bears no resemblance to the yuppified, clog-wearing, McSweeney’s-worshipping, hipster-squatting parts of Brooklyn – unless you think, for example, that 50 Cent and/or the Kalua Cabaret fall under the categories of “hip” and “trendy.”
The little troll-men that haunt the dreams of my anti-antediluvian Queens wear floral-print polyester sweatshirts, straight-brimmed New Era hats cocked to the side – sticker on for authenticity – and that tricky little chin strap beard that all the women swoon over. I see them everywhere I go.
This is probably why I’ve been thinking of moving to Brooklyn lately. I pretty much woke up one morning and said to myself, “Self? You’ve published a book and you’ve been doing fairly well for yourself lately on multiple fronts, so maybe it’s time you get away from the little troll-men of Queens and try to live around some more intelligent and happening people.”
So where does a guy like me – a tourist, for all intents and purposes, when it comes to the city’s “intellectual” life – think to look when he wants to live and work amongst people he believes will make him feel a little more relevant?
Why, Park Slope, of course!
I have these exposed-brick delusions from time to time, and it gets ugly. I mean, really ugly. I think about things like hanging mountain bikes on hooks, lounging in coffee shops drinking things I can’t pronounce, and telling the world I’ve switched from brown rice to $5 bags of quinoa because it carries more protein. I even start thinking about trading in my Muscle Milk for some organic wheatgrass – which I’ll cart down Seventh Avenue in a recycled bag from Union Market on my mountain bike. I have these thoughts because I don’t know any better.
The crazy part of all of this is that I actually took a look at the neighborhood the other day. I took a walk down Seventh in so-called “South Slope” to see what I’ve been missing out on while spending all this time out here in flavor country – or, as I like to call it, “The Land That Rudy Forgot”. What I found was that Park Slope, in a word – or two – is pretty cool, at least when compared to East Central Queens.
This may sound a tad ironic coming from the likes of me, but what I love about Park Slope is what most of you people – judging by your blogs, at least – seem to despise: the people. They’re everywhere, acting like they’re doing important things! The guys wear form-fitting lime-green zip-up polyester warm-up jackets! They carry messenger bags! They strum guitars in wine bars and they know precisely how to season tilapia before they bake it. Surely nobody would intentionally try to look like these guys do unless they had something – anything, in fact – going on.
And the girls! The girls! So many girls doing so many things! It’s a veritable wonderland of useful girls who live in lofts, shop in their business clothes and peck away on their notebooks into the wee hours of the Kings County morn! They buy $21 bottles of olive oil, and they keep jogging in place at stoplights, so you just know they’re taking life seriously. I mean, they are, aren’t they?
Park Slope is brimming with businesses that have one word names that fail to describe what goes on inside, but that’s okay because in my delusions, that’s really, really hip and that’s where I should be shopping. After a while, though – and a good several dozen storefronts like this – my head starts to spin. I feel like they’ve all huddled up and decided to stare at me because I’m too local. I wonder if I could ever pull it off around here, and whether I’d even want to.
I would want to, I suppose, but it would take some maneuvering. Some really drastic changes – concrete ones, not just troll-inspired delusions. I’d sell my car, get a few tattoos, join a collective and dive headfirst into a thinking life instead of skulking around the periphery. I might even stop using double negatives after drinking a second cup of coffee.
But hey, at least I’d get away from the little troll-men of Queens, right?