Who’s to blame: Ben Sisario, for selling an overworked arts&leisure NY Times editor on a tired concept — the easily-written “Here’s the new Scene!” article — or said editor, who didn’t notice the article was a boring, unsurprising retread of Brooklyn? Didn’t they write this article a year or so ago, with Deerhoof at the center? Now it’s Dirty Projectors. Whom, I recall, only recently moved there from Conn.
No one expects the NY Times to be ahead of the curve when it comes to arts. That’s not what they’re for; instead, they silver-platter the fringe for middle class readers at least six months after the fact (same is true of the real estate section: if you’re reading about the hot new neighborhood in the Times, the true opportunity has passed; look at this one, about the gougers of Dumbo, who aren’t news to anyone).
The interesting tack Sisario misses lies in the gentrification of Manhattan, where musicians are either trust funded or insane for attempting to live, leading to the hilarious colonization of Bushwick (now called East Williamsburg by no one but realtors) or the Sty. Manhattan is also losing music venues to a building boom. A little investigation might have revealed that the Tribeca building housing the Knitting Factory is up for sale, meaning they’re moving (again) within the year probably. Rumor has it they plan a LES location, but it’ll be a miracle if they can get a new liquor license. Bye Bye.
And anyway, the Sisario article’s premise is just dumb wrong. In a word: Baltimore. Another word: Tokyo.
But then that would mean a New York music writer doing some work, maybe even some traveling.