Cities Journal
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Every Hipster City Wants To Be A Brooklyn

Cities around the world always had that fascination and compared themselves to Paris. Many claim to be the Paris of the East: Bucharest, Prague, Istanbul, Beirut and Shanghai. There’s also the Paris of North America (Montreal), the Paris of South America (Buenos Aires) and the Paris of the Plains, Kansas City in the Jazz Age.

But now, things have changed and the city to be is Brooklyn. Every neighborhood with hipsters, bike shops and vegan cafes calls itself “the new Brooklyn.”

Ballard is the Brooklyn of Seattle. Glasgow and Melbourne both claim Brooklyn cool. And Oakland, California, is the Brooklyn of San Francisco.

There’s even a Brooklyn of Paris: the suburb of Pantin. Its graffiti-covered warehouses have been taken over by galleries, turning it into the hippest place. Just like in Brooklyn, real estate prices have rocketed, and old industrial buildings are now luxury lofts.

Artist Oliver Beer, who works with a gallery in Pantin and also with the Museum of Modern Art’s contemporary arts outpost, PS1, in New York City, said this trend is developing fast.

“It may have a way to go before it’s on a par with Brooklyn, but I expect it will continue to develop, considering how much investment and risk-taking is going on there — alongside the natural flux of artists toward the area.”

Katherine Johnstone, a spokeswoman for Atout France USA, the French tourism agency, described a shift that some compare to Brooklyn’s culinary scene.

“It used to be when young chefs studied under the great chefs, they wanted to open important restaurants or go to the countryside and get their Michelin star. Now they’re rejecting that model, they’re saying, ‘I’m going to do more back-to-the-roots, farm-to-table cooking in a small restaurant with a few tables’”

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