For the hipsters, post-hipsters or quasi-hipsters who moved into Columbia Heights several years ago for the grit and the cheap rent and the proximity to the Wonderland Ballroom (the hipster, post-hipster or quasi-hipster bar that sponsors local music and nights like "Sundress Fest"), life can be divided into two discrete phases: Before Target. After Target.Now there's a valid point about the Target, but what is all this hipster stuff? What are "hipsters, post-hipsters or quasi-hipsters"? Is she saying that everybody in Columbia Heights is one of those amorphous terms? I would argue that most of the newcomers to the neighborhood (me included) are yuppies in the tightest sense of the word - young, urban professionals.
There's a lot of other things I disagree with about this article. Another line is "But this complex [DCUSA] is not why the quasi-hipsters of Columbia Heights had moved to the neighborhood. They were seeking bragging rights, and bodegas spilling over from Mount Pleasant. They were seeking urban."
Now to some extent this is true for me. I wanted to be in an urban neighborhood because I like the city. But I moved here because rent was decent and there was a lot of new and convenient things going in, like DCUSA and restaurants, and it was close to the Metro, U Street, and Adams Morgan. I could care less about "bragging rights, and bodegas." Plus there's no source for that assertion in the article, no expert to say "this is why people move to CH."
Hesse also talks about how people used to get a Zipcar and go to Jefferson Davis Highway to go to Target, Best Buy, etc. This is true. But she asserts that
Along the way, you talked about how glad you were that you didn't live down there, and how ironic it was for you to be going there at all, as you normally just bartered on Freecycle, and how your dad still tried to be cool by pronouncing it in French, Tar-zhay. You got to the Target, and you bought a microsuede storage bench, a duvet and a doormat, and on the way home you stopped at Outback Steakhouse (which was totally hilarious), and in polite company you never spoke of these suburban adventures again.Maybe I'm crazy, but I went there because I needed stuff. I didn't live there because I don't like the suburbs and driving everywhere. I bought the stuff and then came home. And sometimes I went to IHOP because IHOP is awesome and there aren't any in DC (yet).
But there are some interesting points in the article, like the discussion on the 2nd page of the article that Target may be accelerating the move to adulthood -- buying a wreath for your door and matching sheets, for example. That one actually has some quotes to back it up, and it's an interesting point. Unfortunately, there's a lot more in the article about the hipster thing, that apparently if you live in Columbia Heights you're some kind of countercultural ironic hipster.
The odd thing is, that's impossible to be refute, because no one really agrees on what a hipster is. Maybe it's like obscenity: "I know it when i see it." But the thing is, the phrase is used so much, especially in DC, that it's meaningless. People describe U Street as a hipster area, or Marvin or Wonderland as a hipster bar. What? What is a hipster? You like indie rock? You dress stylishly? You wear vintage clothes? You go to hip bars, or dive bars, or vegan bars? I know people who do some of those things yet work in Congress or in law firms. I don't think anybody would consider them a "hipster." Maybe it was a real term 10 or 20 years ago, but a lot of the things that supposed hipsters do or did is mainstream now, like fashion. For example, DCist and The Onion's AV Club specifically ban the word because it's meaningless.
In my brief interaction with Hesse, she was perfectly nice. She called me a few weeks ago about the article and asked if I ever felt ashamed (I think that was her word) to go to Target, or if I ever went multiple times a day and felt lame about it. I didn't. She asked if I knew anybody who did, and I asked around a bit and didn't find anybody (though admittedly I didn't try too hard). But the hipster thing wasn't mentioned -- I wonder if it's some kind of go-to term for articles?
Anyway, that's my thoughts. Yours? Sommer at DCist had something to say too, and we make similar points from the looks of it.