Williamsburg Development

I distinctly remember my parents once getting mad at me and saying something like, “the whole world doesn’t revolve around you.”  The thing that I hate about visiting friends in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is that when I’m there, this idea of the world not revolving around me, or at least, people like me, just doesn’t ring true.

I love skateboarding, and fixed gear bikes, and grafitti, but walking down Bedford, I feel like I’m in a commercial.  And the neighborhood is so familiar to me, and familiar enough that, even as a visitor, I notice changes – that Bodega shut down, this Bodega seems to carry fancier beer.  And it’s crazy howyou can seperate out the ironic white-kid graffiti from the rest, and how it has this menacing colonial quality.  It gives me the same fear as seeing the little posts popping up for the surveyors in the field behind my house.

Living in Bloomington, I understand that it’s nice to be in a place where there is support and excitement surrounding the things that you make, and the things that you like doing.  But I think that living somewhere should also be a negotiation, or rather, a dialogue between the different desires of different people.  I think that people should exist for themselves and that their survival in a place shouldn’t be tied to existing at the service of others.

Every year the students come back to Bloomington, and it is both frustrating and exciting.  This week, I’ve gotten two e-mails from strangers asking about the show I’m setting up this weekend, and it seems so long ago that people in town were excited about shows.  The university definitely brings a certain vitality to the town, but the relationship can feel one-sided too.  Whether it’s Kiva providing Internet to the college-oriented apartment buildings, Boxcar selling textbooks, or the bike project gearing up for a huge student bicycle demand, everything around me feels like it’s growing to support one kind of person.  Certainly, it’s not much of a dialogue or a compromise, at least on a large scale.  But some of my favorite people in Bloomington are students, and it is true, that more than anywhere else I can think of, any given person has the ability to build things, at least metaphorically, to stand alongside the college apartments, boutiques and bar and grills, to provoke that dialogue, to negotiate that compromise.