Via commentor NotMax; once he’d violated my eyeballs with the Washington Post link, I had to try and dilute the horror by sharing it with you all. Per Roberto A. Ferdman, “The most controversial bagel in Brooklyn”;
It’s mid-afternoon, but the line still spills out the front door, snaking around the block, eating up the better part of the sidewalk, as it has since early that morning. There are young couples, clinging to each other in the cold. Mothers, standing patiently next to their anxious children. There are teenage girls, chatting in packs. And there are SLR cameras — so many SLR cameras.
“What are you all waiting for?” a passerby who lives in the neighborhood asks as she plucks an earphone out from one of her ears. She is looking at the crowd with amazement. “I see this line every day. It isn’t just for bagels, is it?”
“It’s the line for rainbow bagels!” a little girl yells…
The rainbow bagel, the brainchild of self-proclaimed “world premier bagel artist” Scott Rossillo, who has been making the brightly hued treat for almost two decades, is having a moment that many people in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, could do without.
For years, Williamsburg was the epicenter of cool for a specific kind of person. A thriving artist population, a liberal bend and a general disdain for popular culture birthed a haven for counterculturalism, a capital of hipsterdom that was defined, at least in part, by a high concentration of yoga studios, organic markets, vintage stores and artisanal coffee shops.
But time has transformed the neighborhood from the sort of place coveted by a select few to a destination for just about anyone visiting New York City. And that popularity hasn’t always jibed with local values. The tourism triggered a commercial flood: First came the Dunkin’ Donuts, then the Starbucks. A Whole Foods will be opening this year.
In many ways, the rise of the rainbow bagel perfectly encapsulates this tension, an unlikely but apt example of a proud neighborhood confronting the inevitable: change. The dye-infused treat, whose dough resembles Play-Doh more than it does something edible, is the antithesis of the organic-eating culture that courses through the veins of so many who live in the area.
It’s evidence of a uniquely modern form of gentrification…
It’s a good article, honestly (you should read the whole thing!) but I think it’s “uniquely modern” only insofar as it’s easier to fly in on a jet and snap a selfie than to travel by sail or animal-back to bring long stories home to your less cosmopolitan neighbors. The nuns in our high school taught us that a certain Mary from Magdala was a key figure in the New Testament because Magdala was the period equivalent of Las Vegas, an exciting resort destination for Roman bigwigs stranded in the Middle Eastern backwaters. A woman from Magdala would be used seeing the best entertainers and conjurers, the contemporary equivalent of Siegfried and Roy or David Copperfield; the support of someone so sophisticated was proof that Jesus wasn’t just another street preacher with a gift for sleight-of-hand. A few hundred years from now — assuming our species survives — no doubt there will be tourists at every aquatic gambling hall on Jupiter, sending sensograms back to their neighbors at home on the mundane rocks of the asteroid belt…