Gawker was quick and clever to outline their own plan, calling for the series to be filmed in the McKibbin Lofts, which brings me to my point. Profoundly uncool non-hipster that I am, I first read about McKibbin last week in The New York Times, which presented the two-building complex as a squalid haven for New York’s most recent generation of struggling artists, akin to “Greenwich Village 60 years ago, or SoHo 30 years ago, or the East Village in the 1990s.” Fascinating, I thought, scanning the related slide show of artsy black and white photos depicting the trendy, creative-looking folks who live in these sprawling industrial relics.
Then I read the story. According to the Times, these kids are effectively sleeping in cubbies, sometimes windowless, often with bedbugs. It’s loud, and occasionally people steal your stuff or piss outside your door. There are lots of parties, but some of them are lame. This is the new Utopia for starving creative types? The music/art/film that defines my generation may be spawned in these massive former industrial buildings barely suited for human habitation? I mean, I get it – artists are supposed to starve and this probably just a stop along the way and fodder for the craft, but it all seems a bit homogenous to me.
Together, the McKibbin buildings house about 600 of what the Times terms “mostly white hip young things.” Located in East Williamsburg,
If art is borne of originality and imagination and McKibbin is home to a bunch of carbon copy hipsters who don’t see much reason to leave the compound, just what brand of creativity does this environment foster? I’ve never been to the lofts, and surely a few Gawker posts and a Times article don’t tell the whole story. Based on what I’ve read though, I’m all for tossing the next group of Real Worlders into McKibbin and seeing what happens. Even if no one learns anything from their differences, hipster artists v. MTV blockheads would make for damn entertaining TV.
Ashley Herriman - Stark Contributing Writer
Photos: Christian Hansen for The New York Times